1957, six families joined together to form a body of believers that sought to
distance themselves from the rules of men with the vision of a church that
would teach the true Word of God. They called themselves the Blue Ball
Mennonite Church. Adopting the name Bethany Mennonite Church in 1959, they
continued in their growth and understanding of what God was calling them to as
part of the body of Christ. In 1961, they moved to their present location in
East Earl, Pennsylvania and embarked on several building projects, dedicating
their current 375 seat sanctuary and fellowship hall in 2006.
initially distanced themselves from traditional legalism in 1959, by 2001 the
congregation was further concerned about the direction of the national
Mennonite Church USA. As they grew, they felt it necessary to step still
further away from both the traditional perception of legalism and, the more
recent liberal interpretations of scripture by the Mennonite Church USA. For
this reason, Bethany opted for a name change to further distance themselves
from positions with which they disagreed and became Bethany Grace Fellowship.
the congregation at Bethany enjoys preaching that is biblically based, relevant
to our time, centered on a firm understanding of grace, man’s need for
redemption, and the need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. We are
blessed with talented and dedicated musicians who lead us in contemporary
praise and worship. Bethany has an active Care ministry that supports people in
need, both in our body and in our community. Bethany desires to continue
developing a thriving children’s ministry, women’s ministry, and men’s ministry
to strengthen each individual and family. Over the years, Bethany has
benefitted from active volunteerism, and has a high percentage of families who
have adopted children. The congregation of Bethany is made of up just over 300
men, women and children. Bethany has been blessed financially and operates on
an annual budget of approximately $650,000.
In March, 2019, the congregation at Bethany engaged in a visioning process to
deliberately study, pray and listen to where God was leading. In May the
congregation affirmed a vision and revised mission for Bethany. Bethany's goal
has remained true from the beginning: to preach and teach the whole Word of
God, free from man-made rules, a church that seeks to impact community for
eternity. Bethany wants to thrive as a body, not just exist. Bethany believes
that the church is called to be unified, and that we function best for the
cause of Christ when we are. Bethany recognizes that the family is under attack
in society and so many people do not have a positive model of a Godly family.
Bethany wants to embrace others as family and to grow together into a deep
relationship with Christ.
In November 2019, Bethany welcomed Steve Benedict, accompanied by his wife Pam and children, as Lead Pastor. A native of Pennsylvania, Steve attended Maranatha Baptist University and Missio Seminary. He and Pam have ministered in Pennsylvania from 1991-2001 and then in the greater Washington D.C. area from 2001-2019. Steve believes that God has already implanted a vision within each local church and assembles people to accomplish that vision. He believes that his role as lead pastor, along with his fellow elders, is to cultivate an environment of spiritual health and vigor that will discover this vision and unleash the people to accomplish the work of the ministry. It is by equipping people for ministry (Eph. 4:11-14) and the unhindered exercise of each member's spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3-8) that the church fulfill's God's mission of reconciliation to the world (2 Cor. 5:11-21). Pastor Steve believes that servant leadership is not a model, but THE model for God's Kingdom (John 13:1-17) and Bethany seeks a partner to lead discipleship in our church community.
Bethany recognizes the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church, and the
Bible as the absolute and final authority. Under this authority, the Board of
Elders is the governing body of Bethany Grace Fellowship and has the power and
authority to act on behalf of the congregation and its spiritual condition
according our constitution and bylaws. Today, Bethany is affiliated with the
Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations (AMEC) but is not subject to
the oversight of the authority of any denominational group.