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The Bethel Church began when several families started meeting in the Centennial School house a quarter mile north of the present church location, in approximately 1907. The Reverend J. C. Crawford of the Boone Biblical College, who was Superintendent of the Christian Mission Alliance District, sent several men to minister. One man was a returned missionary from Venezuela, Reverend James Minter. The first regular pastor was Reverend Wesley Armstrong who commuted from Boone. He married a lady from the Church, Miss Nora Nervilla (Nolan) Armstrong.
On June 20, 1907, a meeting was held to consider building a church. On December 21, 1907, a meeting was held at Herman Finestead’s home to make plans for building Bethel Church. James Quincy Stumbo was asked to locate the building spot and he chose the current location, between the creek and the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Daniel H. and Susan (Stumbo) Nolan donated the plot of land for the Bethel Church. James Quincy Stumbo and many others furnished the capital for the building. On Feb 2, 1908 work was begun. Some went to the timber to cut down trees for lumber, some hauled rocks, and some lumber from town. Mr. Milligan from Woodward was the carpenter. In short time the building was completed.
Reverend Charles Crawford dedicated it on April of 1909. There were 15 charter members. The church was affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. By 1910, a parsonage was built by James Quincy Stumbo and was located ¼ mile north and ¼ mile east of the Bethel Church.
On May 21, 1918, Bethel Church, Centennial County School house and the parsonage were struck by a tornado. The floor and foundation were all that remained of church building after the disaster. The tornado killed nine people in the Boone, Iowa area. The men of the church united their efforts and cleared the wreckage. A special meeting was called to decide upon rebuilding the church. The new church was built on the same foundation.
In 1954 an annex was built on the south side of the church making three Sunday school rooms and also used for overflow crowds. New Paneling was put on the walls of the church by Bernard Price, pews were purchased from the Trinity Lutheran Church in Boone and the floor was tiled. It was decided to make an addition on the east 24 feet of a new entrance to the church, an office for the pastor and the basement under that. The pulpit was placed on the west end and the pews turned around. New carpet was added to the church and entryway. Also another section of dirt was removed on the west end of make a larger fellowship room.
In 1979, the church was again enlarged 24 feet to the west, the interior completely redone, with new padded pews as well as air conditioning. The congregation wanted to purchase additional land for much needed parking space and lawn for the parsonage. Francis Walton Stumbo contacted George Doran, owner of the land and he donated the additional land. Work was also being done on the present parsonage making a family room and new bath, and double garage.
Since Bethel has no baptistery, the baptismal services have been held at the Des Moines River near the Centerville, Edgar Benjamin (Ed) Stumbo Farm, near the former location of the 16 to 1 bridge and the Evangelical Free Church baptistery. The most recent baptismal service was held at Don and Helen Erb’s pond at their farm about 8 miles away.