Bethany Congregational UCC is a mirror image of the United Church of Christ; bring together churches from the Evangelical and Reformed, and Congregational and Christian traditions. In 1904 the German Protestant Peace Congregation (Friedens) was organized. Early in the life of the church there was a concern for a ministry to the elderly. In 1910 Protestant Evangelical Home for the Aged was formed. This home was moved to New Braunfels in 1949, and is currently known as EdenHills Community.
In 1936 the church’s name was change to Bethany Evangelical and Reformed Church; reflecting the merger which had taken place two years before. In 1913 Central Congregational Church was organized. This new church hoped to minister to the growing military community in San Antonio. In 1917 the name of this church was changed to First Congregational Church. In 1951 First Congregational moved to its current location and changed it name to Pilgrim Congregational Church. Realizing the need for ministry to young families in the neighborhood, the church started Pilgrim School in 1954.
Currently this school is operated by Family Services – Head Start. In 1979 Bethany E&R and Pilgrim C&C united into a single community and was renamed Bethany Congregational United Church of Christ. Since the founding of the Home for the Aging in 1910, our faith community has moved to live out Jesus teaching in Matthew 25:31ff. In the late 1980’s our Youth Fellowship shared in the “Under-the-Bridge” project in downtown San Antonio to feed the homeless. In the 1990’s our church took an active role in supporting the Christian Assistance Ministry in San Antonio. We currently hold quarterly food drives, collect clothing, provide financial assistance, and provide volunteer support. In 2012 we partnered with Dellview Elementary School; hosting an annual “Back to School” supply drive, adopt a Christmas Family(s), and provide mentors. In July 2013, Bethany Congregational was recognized an “Open and Affirming Congregation” of the United Church of Christ.
Through our actions and denominational designation we opened our doors and arms to publicly proclaim, what we had been living, that all are welcomed in our worship and lives – JUST WHO YOU ARE! Currently we are growing in our understanding of what it would mean to be a WISE faith community. To be “WISE” is to actively incorporate persons with mental, physical, and emotional issues into our worship and church life. To use a phrase in an advertisement for Morgan’s Wonderland, our goal is to be an “OASIS OF INCLUSION.” Our future will be written through our willingness to live in the direction which God’s Spirit is leading us.
For more information, check out this Centennial History of Bethany Congregational Church.