During the spring of 1779, Methodist pioneer Freeborn Garrettson visited the Ocean View area to bring the message of his faith to the people. Garrettson’s efforts were favorably received and a number of local Methodist “societies” were organized. Among these was the Cedar Neck Society, and it is to this group that the origin of Mariner’s Bethel Church can be traced. While local “class meetings” were often held outside or in private residences, for many years members were forced to travel some distance to worship in a church.
On October 1, 1858, the society purchased a small lot of land on which a church was to be constructed. The building was completed the following year and dedicated on November 9, 1859. The church became known as “Mariner’s Bethel” in recognition of the sea-going members who loyally supported their congregation. On June 16,1894, four acres of adjoining land were purchased for the purposes of building a new church and expanding the cemetary. The new building was completed in 1899.
A Community Hall was added to the sanctuary in 1926, and later replaced with a new Education Building that was completed in 1959. The Education Building was renovated during the time of the construction of a new Fellowship Hall, which was completed in 1995.
In 2002, the congregation of Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church elected to expand its ministry by building a larger sanctuary to hold its ever-growing population of new members. On November 9, 2003, exactly 144 years to the day since the first church was dedicated, we gathered as a church family to consecrate the new sanctuary and celebrate its completion.
Above is a photo of the new sanctuary cornerstone which includes dated stones from our former sanctuaries.