Bethesda's first Minister, George Manlove Clayton - Served 1924-1937
Bethesda’s first Minister, George Manlove Clayton – Served 1924-1937

In response to an invitation from Mr. C.A. Davis, seven persons met at
the home of Mr. and Mrs. Davis, 301 Harford Road, August 29, 1923, to
consider the advisability of starting a Methodist Protestant Church in
the community. The proposition was unanimously endorsed and another
preliminary gathering assembled September 4th., at the home of Mr. and
Mrs. Davis. Officers were elected and a temporary committee on chapel
site and building material was appointed. It was decided to organize a
Church Aid Society to meet weekly in the homes of its members, and
make a free-will offering at each meeting.

The meeting of September 11th., was held in the Davis home. The Rev.
W.P. Roberts was present and was called to the chair. The organization
of the Church Aid Society, looking to the founding of a Methodist
Protestant Church was effected, and officers were elected.

Church Site

At the regular meeting of September 25th, the temporary committee on
sites and building material, submitted a most satisfactory report and
was automatically discharged. At the request of President Humphreys a
permanent committee on the chapel site was appointed.

The lot on the northwest corner of Harford Road and Louise Avenue was
purchased on October 25, 1923.


A vote was taken by ballot on December 16th to decide on a name for
the church, resulting in the unanimous choice of BETHESDA. See John’s
Gospel, 5:1-15.

Ground Breaking

Ground was broken on March 12, 1924, for a chapel to be built under
the supervision of Mr. G.B. Barrows. The service consisted of the
reading of the 136th Psalm, by Mr. M.A. Francis, Sr., and prayer by
Mr. G.B. Barrows. At the conclusion of the brief service, everyone
present turned a shovel full of ground.

Organization And Recognition

The members of Bethesda Church Aid Society met in Lauraville Church,
March 13, 1924, with Doctor J.M. Sheridan, Superintendent of Church
Extension, in the chair, and organized a Methodist Protestant Church.
The Rev. W.P. Roberts, pastor of Eutaw Church, was also present and
assisted Doctor Sheridan in receiving 32 charter members into Bethesda
Methodist Protestant Church. Mr. G.B. Barrows was elected Messenger to
the Annual Conference. At the Fourth Quarterly conference of
Lauraville charge, Bethesda Church was recognized in due form, as a
Methodist Protestant Church.

Temporary Quarters

Mr. and Mrs. G.B. Barrows kindly tendered the use of their home, 5
Maple Ave., for worship and Sunday School. the first service was
conducted by Doctor Sheridan, Sunday, March 23, 1924.

Maryland Conference Enrollment

Bethesda church was received and enrolled as a Charge, by the Maryland
Annual Conference in its Ninety-Sixth session, held in Bethesda
Church, Salisbury, MD, and the Rev. George Manlove Clayton was
appointed first pastor, and entered upon his duties, Sunday, April 13,

Chapel Opened

Sunday, May 4, 1924, was observed as Opening Day of the Chapel. The
Sunday School assembled at the Barrows home at 10:00 A.M, and marched
in a body to the chapel, singing, “Onward, Christian
Soldiers.” In the 11:00 A.M. service the pastor was assisted by
Doctor T.H. Lewis, President of the General Conference, who offered
prayer. At 3:00 P.M. a Platform Meeting was held. At 8:00 P.M., the
pastor of the church preached by special request, taking for his
subject the name of the church, “Bethesda”; choosing for his
text, John 5: 2.

Extension Built

The expanding work soon necessitated an enlargement of equipment, so
on October 14, 1924, it was decided to build an additional room, 12′ x
24′, to the rear of the chapel, to be used by the primary and
beginners departments of the Sunday School and church kitchen. All
labor was done and donated by the men of the church and the cost of
material was kept down to the lowest possible minimum. The committee
on construction of this extension consisted of Mr. C.W. Gray,
chairman, and Messrs. M.W. Pierce and M.A. Francis, Sr.

Text taken from “Historical Sketch”, written by Marie Nelson
Mullinequx, Secretary, and read at the Sixth Anniversary, Tuesday,
September 10, 1929, by Mrs. M.W. Pierce, Vice President.

Additional Extensions Built

The original stone building, fronting Harford Rd., was built in 1932
and housed the church sanctuary. Ground breaking for the current
sanctuary was in August 1961. Cornerstone laying was in December 1961,
and the consecration took place in May 1962. The current sanctuary
extends out from the 1932 stone building towards Louise Ave.

Ministers Serving The Bethesda Congregation

  • George Manlove Clayton: 1924 – 1937
  • Leslie Edwald Werner Sr.: 1937 – 1939
  • Eugene C. Makosky: 1939 – 1940
  • William W. Patterson: 1940 – 1950
  • Joseph T. Riley: 1950 – 1956
  • Ernest Albert Otto: 1956 – 1956
  • T. Ward Kemp: 1958 – 1965
  • Gene R. Perry: 1965 – 1969
  • Maurice E. Vineyard: 1969 – 1976
  • Hayward Y. Rowh: 1976 – 1980
  • William E. Polk II: 1980 – 1991
  • L. Mark Barwick: 1991 – 1995
  • Robert McCullough: 1995 – 1996
  • Sharon Bourgeois: 1996 – 2000
  • Harold P. Atkins: 2000 – 2002
  • Arthur (Dan) Gleckler: 2002 – 2013
  • Lemuel Dominguez: 2013 – 2015
  • Gerard Jameson: 2015 – 2016
  • Winifred Blagmond: 2016 – 2016
  • Arthur (Dan) Gleckler: 2016 – present
Adult Choir - circa 1971
Adult Choir – circa 1971
Bethesda Youth Choir - circa 1971
Bethesda Youth Choir – circa 1971
Mrs. Helen Clark Alpha Bible Class: May 1, 1964
Mrs. Helen Clark Alpha Bible Class: May 1, 1964
United Methodist Men: circa 1960's
United Methodist Men: circa 1960’s