On August 8, 1854, John Pitts deeded five acres of land for the purpose of a place of public worship for the Methodist Episcopal Church South. It was called Providence Campground and Meeting House. A bush arbor, church and tents were used for worship. In 1879, B.F. Arney donated a site across the Burke County line for the location of the Dry Pond Methodist Church and erection of a new building. When the church moved, the name was changed to Arney’s Chapel.
In 1927 plans were perfected for the building of the current day Bethel United Methodist Church in Hickory NC. The building committee was composed of B.L. Marlow, Guy Frye, J.R. Abee, Walter Winkler, J.P. Whitener and Eugene Abee. The first services were held in the new Church on December 22, 1929.
We have several members of our church who can claim membership back to the time when Bethel United Methodist Church was known as Arney’s Chapel. The Yates family, Whitener family, Abee family, Frye family and Marlow family; were all founding members and members of these founding families are still worshiping at Bethel United Methodist Church in Hickory NC today. In 1969 an addition of classrooms and a fellowship hall were started.
Families have given Bethel United Methodist Church many things. Many donations and lots of hard work have provided the church with improved facilities and replacement of old and worn out materials. The current family of Bethel UMC appreciates the hard work and dedication of these founding families for providing us a beautiful sanctuary to worship in. Without their sacrifices, Bethel United Methodist Church in Hickory NC would not be the awesome Church that it is today. May God bless them all.