You're Invited ...Have you been thinking about visiting Bethel UMC? Are you new to the area? Do you have questions about our worship service or other activities? Questions about us? Questions bout God? Jesus? What church means and should be? Then this is a good starting point. If you don’t find the answer here, contact us. Our pastor will be happy to meet with you personally. Scroll Down for More Info
133 Years of Sharing Love & Faith
Bethel United Methodist Church was established in 1886. At that time Bethel was located on Tittsworth Spring Road. In the early 1920’s Bethel moved to a 1/2 acre location on 411. Until the 1950s, Bethel consisted of a one-room building with a wood stove in the center. Restrooms and side building were added in the 1960s and 1980s. In 2001, Bethel purchased 4 1/2 acres at 5550 & 5554 Sevierville Rd. where our current Church, fellowship hall and additional facilities were built in late 2006. Throughout its history, Bethel has been a small family-centered Church served by part-time or retired pastors who, in the past, often served other Methodist Churches on a Circuit. There was a time where Bethel was thriving with a strong ministry connection to the youth and children of the area, something Bethel is working hard to provide to the community once again. Currently, Bethel is still alive and well because of the faithfulness of the many preceding generations and desire to share love and faith through the word of God.
Mission & Purpose
Our mission is to serve God by sharing love and faith through the word of God. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our purpose is to be living examples of God’s redeeming and transforming love for all creation as we carry the Good News Jesus brought and taught us out into our community and the world, and to do good, do no harm, and love God always.
Bethel UMC is in the Smoky Mountain District of the Holston Conference, part of the Southeast Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
What We Believe
As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness. To fulfill this obligation, we reflect critically on our biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time.
United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in The Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities:
When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we join with millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons. “God in three persons, blessed Trinity” is one way of speaking about the several ways we experience God.
In trying to find words to express their faith in Jesus, the New Testament writers gave him various names. Jesus was Master, Rabbi, Teacher. He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He was the Doorway to the sheepfold, the Light of the world, the Prince of Peace, and more. In the church’s long tradition, scores of other names or titles have been given.
The Holy Spirit is God’s present activity in our midst. When we sense God’s leading, God’s challenge, or God’s support or comfort, we say that it’s the Holy Spirit at work.
In Hebrew, the words for Spirit, wind, and breath are nearly the same. The same is true in Greek. In trying to describe God’s activity among them, the ancients were saying that it was like God’s breath, like a sacred wind. It could not be seen or held: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes” (John 3:8). But the effect of God’s Spirit, like the wind, could be felt and known.
- We believe that God created human beings in God’s image.
- We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationship with God.
- We believe that all humans need to be in relationship with God in order to be fully human.
- We believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.
- We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
- We believe that the church is “the communion of saints,” a community made up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ.
- We believe that the church is called to worship God and to support those who participate in its life as they grow in faith.
The Bible is vital to our faith and life. A collection of sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) and twenty-seven in the New Testament written over a one-thousand-year period in three languages … Hebrew, Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke), and Greek, the Bible is the story of the one God, who stands in a covenant relationship with the people of God.
Christian faith is, in part, a matter of hoping. We believe in and trust the Lord of the future, and we lean into the future that God has promised. God goes before us, beckoning us into the new world that is already being created, calling us to join in the challenging work of fashioning it.
However, when we’re confronted with personal disasters or with the daily horror stories of society’s ills, we may falter. Hope may seem to be unrealistic, naive optimism.
Yet our hope is not in trends. Our hope is in the Lord of all creation and all history — a God who is still in charge and is actively at work transforming the world.
“That’s the thing. This isn’t about me, isn’t about you, isn’t about Bethel UMC or Smoky Mountain District or Holston Conference or the Southeastern Jurisdiction, or the UMC as a whole. This is 100% about God. About loving God, worshipping God, praising God, serving God, trusting God because He’s the one asking us to dance with Him. By putting His trust in us, God has invited us to the dance. He’s here, He’s waiting, and it’s up to us to accept His invitation. “
– From July 7, 2019, Sermon, Rev. Val Ohle
Who We Are
The People of Bethel
Can you believe it? The People of Bethel are just like you. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds and careers. Most are longtime members of the Seymour Community and some have been members of Bethel literally all their lives. They love God and doing things in and for the community, and they’d love to have you join them.
Rev. Val Ohle
Rev. Ohle’s time with Bethel began July 7, 2019, and is her first pastoral appointment. Rev. Ohle is a Licensed Local Pastor and not only a “cradle Methodist” but … if her family tree is accurate … a 4th or 5th generation Methodist. Rev. Ohle is currently enrolled in Course of Study and works as a litigation paralegal in a Knoxville law firm. Although she hails from the High Plains, she and her family have lived in South Knoxville for over 30 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Methodism?
Methodism began as an 18th-century movement founded by John Wesley that sought to reform the Church of England from within. The movement, however, became separate from its parent body and developed into an autonomous church. The movement got its name because of the habits of John Wesley, his brother Charles and a group of other earnest students who were dedicated to frequent attendance at Holy Communion, serious study of the Bible, and regular visitations to the filthy Oxford prisons. The members of this group, which Wesley came to lead, were known as Methodists because of their “methodical” devotion and study.
They were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.
The distinctive shape of our theological heritage can be seen not only in this emphasis on Christian living but also in Wesley’s distinctive understanding of God’s saving grace. Although Wesley shared with many other Christians a belief in salvation by grace, he combined them in a powerful way to create distinctive emphases for living the full Christian life.
Our United Methodist heritage is rooted in a deep and profound understanding of God’s grace. This incredible grace flows from God’s great love for us. Did you have to memorize John 3:16 in Sunday school when you were a child? There was a good reason. This one verse summarizes the gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The ability to call to mind God’s love and God’s gift of Jesus Christ is a rich resource for theology and faith.”
For more in-depth information on Methodism, visit UMC.org’s “Our Wesleyan Heritage” page.
Where can I learn more about Methodists?
The best place to learn is by meeting with our Pastor, but you can also learn a great deal by visiting UMC.org, where you’ll find numerous informative articles and FAQs on the United Methodist Church. Additionally, you can visit Holston.org, where you can learn more about our conference.
Where do I park and enter the church?
We have ample parking on either side of our sanctuary and also have a covered pull-through area for dropping off passengers at one of our main entrance doors. The front entries and sanctuary are all ADA accessible as is our fellowship hall on the other end of our property.
Can you accommodate people with disabilities?
Absolutely! With the exception of the altar and pulpit area, the entire building is ADA compliant. We do not have headphone access in the pews for hearing impaired, but if you let our sound man know, he will work with you to make sure you can hear the service. Likewise, if you need a bible, hymnal or other materials in braille, please contact our pastor and we will work to acquire these for you.
When is it okay to visit?
Any time! Our worship service starts at 10:30 every Sunday. Currently, we have a carry-in luncheon/fellowship meal once a month and will be adding more activities as we grow, and our pastor would be happy to meet with you personally at your convenience to answer any questions you may have.
How often may I visit and what should I wear?
You can visit as often as you like and are able. Membership in the church is not an attendance requirement. Likewise, there is no dress code at Bethel. You’ll find we wear everything from jeans and cowboy boots to “Sunday clothes” to t-shirts and shorts. Wear clothing that makes you comfortable. Your presence is more important to us than your outfit!
What happens during Sunday Service?
Sunday services at Bethel are modified traditional. Music includes traditional hymns and occasionally special music. We incorporate a call to worship, Passing the Peace, time for hearing the joys and concerns of the congregation uplifted with prayers and praises, tithes and offerings, a call and response Psalm reading, scripture readings, and then the message. Communion is offered on the third Sunday of each month and appropriate holy days following the message. We close our service with a hymn and a benediction.
What about receiving communion?
Communion is currently offered on the first Sunday of each quarter and appropriate holy days. You do not have to be a member of our church, a Methodist, or a member of any church to receive communion. The Lord’s table is open to all.
At what point am I required to become a member?
There is no requirement that you become a member of our church. If, however, you feel you are ready to become a member, the first step is to talk with our Pastor who will explain the process to you and make the appropriate arrangements.
What happens if I decide to become a member?
The first step is to meet with our Pastor, who will visit with you about joining, what being a member means, and determine what steps need to be taken:
- If you have never been baptized, you will prepare for baptism.
- If you were baptized as an infant or young child and have not made a profession of faith and been confirmed, then you will prepare to reaffirm your baptism when you take the membership vows.
- If you are a member of another part of the church (such as Baptist, Presbyterian or Lutheran), then you can transfer your membership from that church to a local United Methodist Church.
- If you are a member of another Christian church that does not transfer membership, you can make a profession of faith and be received as a member.
Do I have to sing, bring my own bible, or give an offering?
Psalm 98:4 says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”
If you’re not comfortable with singing, though, you’re not required to sing during communal hymns.
We have King James version bibles in the hymnal racks in every pew for those who need or want one during service.
Although God loves a cheerful giver, tithes and offerings are not a requirement. Give what you can, when you can, if you can.