LOVE GROWS HERE!

Bethany Church UCC​​​​​​​

An Open and Affirming Congregation

ABOUT US

BETHANY MISSION STATEMENT

Bethany United Church of Christ is a faith-centered, mission-oriented community in the Congregational and Christian Church traditions, which draws its strength from the grace of God and the diversity of its members. We strive to follow the two great commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10: 25-27) We welcome all—people of all ages, physical abilities, incomes, sexual orientations, political convictions, mental capacities, genders, denominational backgrounds, races, and colors — and encourage their full participation in the life of the church, in order to deepen our relationship with God and with each other. We endeavor to reach out to those on the edges of society, and to follow our call to be the hands and feet of the living Christ at work in the world today.


Read about our history.  

ABOUT BETHANY CHURCH

“…to follow our call to be the hands and feet of the living Christ at work in the world today. ”

MINISTER & STAFF

… and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

Meet Our Minister

The Rev. Kimberly S. McKerley has been Bethany’s pastor since February, 2015. Prior to coming to Randolph, Kim served for 18 years as pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Brentwood New Hampshire. She is a New Hampshire native and graduate of the University of New Hampshire. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School. Kim and her husband Mark are the parents of three adult children.


Kim has a deep passion for the global church and a belief that building relationships is central to being church – relationships between one person and another, and between people and God. Relationships matter – whether with the neighbor down the street or the sister or brother across the planet – because all the world matters to God.

BETHANY CHURCH IS AN OPEN

AND AFFIRMING CONGREGATION

We welcome people of all ages, physical abilities, incomes, sexual orientations, political convictions, mental capacities, genders, denominational backgrounds, races, and colors to be full participants in the life of our church. We are a friendly, positive-thinking, socially active congregation with wonderful music and lively youth groups(with excellent youth mentors!), served by a variety of commitees that alert us to community and world issues. ​​​​​​​

PART TIME STAFF

Anne Belanger, Administrative Secretary
E-mail Anne.

Anne grew up in CT and spent 15 years in NC before moving to Rochester, Vermont. She spent 25 years in medical office management before joining the Bethany staff in 2011. She loves to quilt and is passionate about reading.

Marta Borgstrom, Senior and Junior Choir Director

Marta Borgstrom graduated from William Paterson University in New Jersey in 1971. After teaching elementary music for six years in New Jersey, she moved north to an elementary school in Winooski, Vermont. Three years later, she came to Randolph and taught for 31 years at the Randolph Elementary School until her retirement in 2011. She is the accompanist for Sounding Joy and The Randolph Singers. Marta became the choir director at Bethany in 1997. She feels blessed that Bethany has such a wide range of talents. If you love to sing to the glory of God, please consider becoming a member of the choir! 

Marilyn Polson, Organist

The organist of Bethany Church since 1990, Marilyn has studied with Lynnette Combs and Laurence Leonard. She was integral in the renovation of the church’s Hutchings organ after what could have been a disastrous fire in 1992, and in the planning of the organ’s centennial celebration in 1994. A past dean of the Vermont Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, she has served as the northern New England District Convener for the AGO’s Region One. Marilyn also chaired the committee that planned the 2013 Vermont-held convention of the Organ Historical Society, an organization that promotes the appreciation and preservation of historic organs such as Bethany’s instrument.

Ray Richardson, Custodian

Ray is our Mr. Fix-it. He takes care of lawn-mowing; sidewalk snow removal and general maintenance. In his "spare time" you'll find him busy homeschooling; training his puppy “Roscoe”; remodeling his house; and cheering on his family at their many activities, alongside his wife, Nancy. 

Laurence Leonard, Honorary Associate Organist

A resident of Laconia, NH, Larry is a native of Randolph, VT, where he studied both piano and organ with Florence Scholl Cushman. He served as the organist of the United Baptist Church and St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, both in Laconia, for 24 years and 19 years, respectively. Since he left those positions, he spends more time in Randolph playing organ and piano duets and he substitues for Bethany’s organist, Marilyn Polson. He was named Honorary Associate Organist in 2009.

Brenda Caswell, Christian Education and Digital Communications Coordinator

Brenda's roots run deep in Randolph, VT. She and her husband, Wally have 5 children who have been, or are being, raised here. She graduated from Randolph Union High School in 1988 and enjoys making jewelry, baking, watching her kids' sporting and extracurricular events and volunteering in the community.  

Officers

Moderator: Wally Caswell
Clerk: Terry Burgee
Treasurer: Randy Garner
Receiver of Offerings: David Palmer
Assistant Receiver of Offerings: Ruth Lutz
Assistant Treasurer: Pat Webster

Standing Committees:

See a list of current committee members and chairs.

COMMITTEES

“Doing the work of God from the heart, rendering service…” —Ephesians 6:7 2015

Diaconate

The diaconate oversees the spiritual health of the congregation, serves communion and brings it to shut-ins, supervises the Helping Hands ministry, provides pulpit supply when the pastor is away, provides the tape ministry of services, initiates special mailings and programs for Advent and Lent, and offers the Seder meal on Maundy Thursday.

Christian Education

Bethany considers Christian Education to be a life-long process from birth through old age. The Christian Education Committee provides leadership in nursery care and Sunday School for toddlers through junior high. It also oversees the youth groups, provides occasional adult education classes, and works closely with the pastor to support families.

Stewards

The Stewards educate the congregation about our call to be responsible stewards of the earth, our financial resources, talents, and time. The Stewards coordinate the yearly Pledge Drive in the fall, the consecration of pledges, and celebratory “Bethany Men Who Cook” brunch at the conclusion of the pledge drive, as well as the Talent and Treasure Auction each September.

Trustees

The Trustees’ primary responsibility is to take care of the physical buildings of Bethany Church.


They supervise upkeep, repair projects, and insurance, and work to keep Bethany looking great.

Missions

 The mission committee initiates and supervises many local and global outreach ministries. As a member of the United Church of Christ (UCC), Bethany Church gives to Our Church's Wider Mission to support the programs of our Vermont Conference and the denomination. Special offerings are received annually for One Great Hour of Sharing, which gives worldwide assistance following disasters; Neighbors in Need, which is focused on specific needs within the United States as well as local needs; and for the past two years during December offerings have been received for the UCC Christmas Fund, which helps support retired UCC clergy and their spouses who are facing financial challenges.

Ad Hoc Committees

In addition to these standing committees whose members are voted in at Annual Meeting, there are other ad hoc committees and groups which form around a single concern or project.

See what might interest you.

MEMBERSHIP

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love…” —Colossians 2:2

How to Get Involved

Come to worship! Our services are at 10 AM from September to mid-June, and 9:30 AM in the summer months. Come to Men’s Fellowship breakfast on Monday mornings at 7 AM (free oatmeal and wonderful conversation!), to Bible Study every other Tuesday at 3:30 PM in Pastor’s office, or to any of the potlucks or other events throughout the year. Join with others on inter-generational service projects like raising potatoes for the food shelf, volunteering to visit the elderly, or providing food for people in need, for example. Many opportunities for fellowship and service are offered each Sunday during announcements and by viewing each Sunday’s bulletin (login required). If you desire to support Bethany’s outreach ministry in our community and in many nations, you can simply put a check in the offering plate on Sunday, or email to ask for a pledge card in order to make a promise for giving for the year.

How to Become a Member

For those who want to explore what membership in Bethany Church and the United Church of Christ entails, there are two meetings each spring and fall, usually in November and May. The meetings build community among the people gathered, teach Bethany and UCC history, and end with a service of covenant in worship.


New members promise to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and their neighbors as themselves (the great commandment of Jesus); to attend the services of the church as much as they are able; support its work, benevolences and outreach; and to walk with other members in Christian faithfulness and love. After the service of covenant, members may vote at congregational meeting and choose to serve on committees..

HISTORY

“Thus says the Lord of Hosts, go up to the mountain and build a house for the Lord.” —Rev. Samuel Sparhawk, 1840s

Bethany Church UCC is the merger of two churches

1905, the Congregational Church of West Randolph and the First Christian Church of West Randolph. The First Christian Church was organized in 1817, but the roots of the Congregational Church go back even earlier to 1786 in Randolph Center when the First Congregational Church was organized there. When the railroad was built in the valley, however, it soon became clear that the major population growth was happening in West Randolph rather than RandolphCenter on the ridge, so in 1831 fourteen members went down into the valley to begin a new congregational church. From the beginning, the church in West Randolph (now called Randolph) prospered, meeting in the upper floor of what is now the home of the Elgin Ladd home on Park Street. One hot summer day during worship in that house, Rev. Samuel Sparhawk used the text “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, go up to the mountain and build a house for the Lord.” Then as the congregation left the house, they were met at the gate and not allowed to pass until they agreed to “go up to the mountain and build God’s house”!

The church building, now called Bethany Church

began in 1843, and was completed in 1845. The construction was all done on a pay-as-you-go-basis, with building stopping twice to raise more funds. The dignified meeting house that now is Bethany Church cost $2,600 to build in the 1840’s. Twenty years later the steeple was added and the whole building was raised up to create a fellowship hall under the worship space. Meanwhile, the Christian Society that had begun in West Randolph in 1817 was worshipping in various village homes and in the Brick Church across the street (in what is now Chandler Music Hall property).


In the 1860’s the upper part of the BrickChurch was taken down and the bricks used to build a basement under a new church constructed of wood and dedicated in 1865. For the next 3 decades the two churches across the street from each other shared close ties, with little to divide them in doctrine or form of religious observance.

The Merger of Two Churches and Demolition of One:

In 1905 when the Congregational Church lost its pastor, it seemed to many to be an ideal time to consider a union. Rev. Fraser Metzger, the much beloved pastor of the Christian Church, was called to serve the two churches united, and in October 1905 the union was voted and the name for the new church became Bethany Congregational Church.

In the spring of 1906 Col. Albert Chandler offered to pay for the construction of a music hall to be operated by Bethany Church and suggested an architect be hired to decide which building should be torn down. The Christian Church site had more space for a large auditorium and parish hall, and its edifice was the one chosen to be demolished. Even though the union was enthusiastically supported, there were many tears on the Sunday when it was announced that the Christian Church building, which had stood on that site since 1827, was to be torn down. The 1894 tracker organ, stained glass windows, and some of the church pulpit furniture was taken across the street to find a home in Bethany Church. On the day the wrecking ball took its first swing at the former Christian Church, Jasper Lamson, the church treasurer, stood on the corner with tears streaming down his cheeks as he watched his much loved church building destroyed. Yet this same Jasper Lamson, who had personally financed much of the Christian Church renovation just 10 years earlier, became a tireless worker for joy in the new union. (A window in the alcove to the right of the lectern in Bethany Church is dedicated to him.)

A Lively UCC Church:

 Bethany became part of the United Church of Christ after the denomination was founded in 1957.  Throughout the twentieth century Bethany was instrumental in founding many local organizations (including Gifford Hospital, Orange County Mental Health, the Randolph Area Food Shelf, Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, REECH (an ecumenical emergency housing organization), Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity, and Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, and operated Chandler Music Hall until it was sold to the town of Randolph in 1948.  Bethany is recognized around the state as a lively church which has profoundly impacted the local community and even the world through its outreach ministries.