Community Development



Bethel’s commitment to partnering and collaborating with other churches and community organizations in order to help create a flourishing community both virtually and in physical space is evident in our current efforts.

We define Beloved Community as described in Isaiah 65

For I am about to create new heavens

and a new earth;

the former things shall not be remembered

or come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever

in what I am creating;

for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,

and its people as a delight.

Isaiah 65: 17-18

We pray as Jesus taught us to pray “thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s Beloved Community is our neighborhood in God’s Kingdom. A community where the overarching principles to be applied in our daily lives are grounded in Kingdom Principles as summed up in Jesus instruction during his Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 5-7).

Social Development

Bethel serves as lead agency for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Coaltion of Lebanon, OH and has formed the Pleasant Square Development, LLC and is working collaboratively with several organizations to build The Pleasant Square Community Center. We are working toward the Beloved Community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described the Beloved Community as a society within which justice, equal opportunity, and love of one's fellow human beings becomes the norm.

The Empowering Connections House project was launched this spring as a collaborative effort between Bethel, Pleasant Square Development, LLC, Brown Remodeling and Empowering Connections. This project resulted in a renovated home within the Pleasant Square community where a family is now able to live comfortably.

Spiritual Development

As we engage in local, connectional and ecumenical ministries, we are intentional about supporting one another, and making individual commitments to spiritual growth. We focus on spiritual development through worship, serving, praying, studying scripture, encouraging one another, loving God and each other, using our spiritual gifts in community, putting on spiritual armor, resisting evil, being faithful in stewardship and sharing the gospel.

Physical Development

Our physical development applies to our devotion to self-care through daily habits likely to improve our physical and mental health. We also focus on creating and maintaining physical spaces that support spiritual, social and physical well-being.

New Building on North Cherry Street

Bethel AME Church has designed worship and fellowship space inside the Pleasant Square Community Center. This building is to include gathering spaces for community dialog and lifelong learning. We intend to develop a mixture of amenities centered around the intention of creating healthy (beloved) community.

OSO Trustees Presentation 12_21.pptx