William Taylor was a man of vision. He was expecting a miracle and that expectation turned to reality in the Bethel Church of the Nazarene. Finishing his junior year at Eastern Nazarene college in 1945, Bill had an idea to start a church on the peninsula in the Germantown section of Quincy.
During the 1940s the Bethel Beach area was undergoing a transition from summer cottage homes to year-round living. A dilapidated camp with a chapel was on the land. However, these facilities were no longer suitable for the conferences and meetings. The Wollaston Church of the Nazarene bought the property for $2,750.00 in 1947 in response to Bill Taylor’s vision.
While there was no provision for the New England District of the Church of the Nazarene to own such a property at that time, the district advisory board asked the Wollaston Church to take title of the Bethel Beach property. After the work had become established, the Wollaston Church conveyed the title of property to the Bethel Beach Church of the Nazarene in 1949. The property included the chapel and five adjoining lots.
Prior to the title of the property changing hands, Bethel Beach Church of the Nazarene had begun its work. Sunday services, Vacation Bible school, Sunday school classes, and other activities drew both people in the Germantown neighborhood as well as students from Eastern Nazarene College. Because of the success of the VBS program, the children of Germantown became a large support group for Pastor Bill and the church. An article in the local newspaper included this analysis of the growth and influence of Bill Taylor:
The children are his most loyal boosters. They may be seen any Sunday at dusk, moving in enthusiastic little packs through the neighborhood and ringing doorbells. “Coming to church tonight?” they’ll ask. “There are plenty of seats, you know.” Sometimes they get short answers; sometimes doors swing shut in their faces. Still, they get results, as last week’s thumping big 68 attendance proves, and gradually this little church building is losing its faded, unhappy look.
This early commitment to ministering to the children in the Germantown neighborhood remained a priority to this local church. For many years a day school was housed in the church and served the community until its closing in 2001.
After the church was running a full schedule of activity, Bill Taylor sensed the need for a parsonage. The work on the parsonage at 51 Empire Street started in July 1949, after a kit house was purchased at a Grossman’s store for $2,600.00. This parsonage was completed by the end of the summer of 1950. In 1956 the Taylor’s built what is currently used as the parsonage at 33 Empire Street. The old parsonage was sold to Floyd Rugg, an active member of the church at the time. The church and parsonage remain at this same location.
The Bethel Church has had the following pastors:
- Rev. William Taylor (1947-1961)
- Rev. Irving Temple (1961-1966)
- Rev. Jack Thorne (1966-1971)
- Rev. Richard Hover (1971-1975)
- Rev. Albert Truesdale (1975-1976)
- Rev. Elmer Wilson (1976-1978)
- Rev. Gary Jones (1978-1979) Interim
- Rev. Wayne Yerxa (1979-1981)
- Rev. Roger Haskins (1982-1986)
- Rev. Gary Jones (1987-1995)
- Rev. Mary Paul (1995-2002)
- Rev. Jeffrey Barker (2002-2003) Interim
- Rev. Tim Farrell (2003-2006)
- Rev. Jeffrey Barker (2007-2014)
- Rev. Dennis Scott (2014-2015) Interim
- Rev. Mat Thomas (2015-present)
From the earliest days the Bethel Church of the Nazarene has maintained a vision for its community. Bethel’s dual vision of meeting the needs of the Germantown neighborhood and training students from Eastern Nazarene College for ministry continues to give the congregation clear direction. The church has continued to grow and multiply its ministries over the years as it have loved, served, nurtured, trained, and equipped persons for ministry in this world.
Many of the local ministries are tied to worship, discipleship, accountability and acts of love and service to others. These local ministries keep the church grounded in the concrete reality of its neighborhood. Global support of missionaries, students’ mission trips, and compassionate ministry help keep the church from becoming too inwardly focused. This allows the church to find its place within the historical reality of the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church” and to minister to the unique context of its own neighborhood.