Bethany United
Methodist            5634 S. Park, Tacoma, WA 98408

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  Bethany UMC  - "Your Family Friendly Neighborhood Church"

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     Press PLAY to hear, "It Is Well With My Soul", Piano Solo - 03:47

Bethany United Methodist Church
A Rich History…  1991 to 2004

In 1992, Rev. Wesley Edmund Stanton became Bethany’s pastor. A unique thingRev. Wesley Edmund Stanton 1992 we soon learned about him is that, being the son of retired UMC pastor Edmund S. Stanton and Blythe Callahan Stanton, he had never lived in a house that was not a parsonage. That changed in 1994 when he married Kathy Bogue and they moved into the house she already owned. Also, both of his parents’ fathers (Willard Stanton and Bill Callahan) were Methodist pastors, as were two of his great-grandfathers. In 1996 Pastor Wes became Pacific Northwest Annual Conference Secretary, a position once held by his grandfather Stanton. Bethany’s parsonage was then rented out. 

Again, in 1993, Bethany’s newsletter changed.  For a few months an option offered by the Methodist Record printed in Texas was tried, by which our WITNESS articles would be printed in newspaper format and mailed to the list we furnished.  This lasted until we realized we were not equipped to send all of our copy electronically, and everything sent had to be re-typed – doubling our cost.  So, with Vicky Whitwell as editor, an 8 ½” x 11” format was set up and the newsletter renamed “Chrysalis”, with a butterfly logo and “we are the new creation” on the masthead.  Copy is computer-generated and duplicated by copy machine.  David Whitwell was editor as of October 1996, and volunteers got the issue ready for mailing after worship the Sunday after deadline. 

During Advent 1993, “A Christian Christmas Carol”, a play adapted from Charles Dickens, showcased dramatic skills of various Bethany youth and adults as well as carrying a message.  In 1994 Sherry Booke resigned as choir director/pianist, and the following February married long-time Bethany bass and all-around handyman Fred Vogel.  Tillie Phillips then consented to take the director/pianist job, though she was also playing for an early service at Mason UMC.  She stayed with us until 1996, when more was required of her at the other church. 

In 1995, Matt and LeAnn Deller, and LeAnn’s parents, Myron and Rilla Weitz, were newcomers to Bethany. They saw the problem created by Tillie’s departure and Matt volunteered to direct the choir, Rilla to accompany. This was a great boon as was Leanne’s beautiful soprano voice. Soon, Leanne also became church treasurer and Matt the chair of trustees – and, they gave the church a new sanctuary piano. They also cooked some great meals – notably for Valentine’s Day. The Dellers were at Bethany five years. Before they moved to Arizona, we had re-carpeted the sanctuary, Friendship room, narthex and stairs. Their influence remains in the Extravaganza started in 1995 which brought together talent from Bethany, other churches, and even other towns (the Rainier Philharmonic, from Rainier, Washington).

Sanctuary for Christmas 1998

In 1999 a new (to us) organ was donated to the church, which Rilla played. The old Hammond organ was passed to Dennis Perry who knew it very well from having been organist during the sixties and seventies. He also served as historian. 

As of 2004 the “little choir that could” under Anna Hanson’s leadership was still singing most Sundays. For a time in 2000-2002, Youn Joo Park became our accompanist – and after her, the position had been divided between Jennifer Pan and Jean Hanson.

Bethany Choir 2002

In May 2004, former choir members and others were summoned to help present “The Miracle”, an Easter cantata composed by former member, the late Ted Short, which had last been sung in 1976. This presentation assembled 37 singers, some reprising solo parts they sang in 1976. The Short family was prominent in the choir and in a choral group of their own.

Work on building maintenance and repair continued.  Over these years the dining room floor was finally repaired; the kitchen had a fine new island with electrical connections installed; a new coffeemaker purchased; the ramp improved; new canopies over doorways hung; and a new restroom on the main floor, tucked into a corner of the choir room, installed.  Also, hot water was installed in the kitchenette that serves the Friendship room. 

Bethany’s building has long been a meeting place for community groups of various kinds, including the BOUNTY FOOD BANK, Al-Anon, Girl Scouts, N.A., Le Leche League, Safe Streets, Sound Alliance, TOPS, choral groups, and more. Within our congregation, we’ve had study groups and Covenant Discipleship Groups; our numerically small UMW unit functions well; and we are represented on Sound Alliance, a coalition of churches, unions, educators, and other agencies to impact societal problems together. The church’s community project is Community Dinners held monthly, bringing together church and neighborhood people for a free meal and fellowship. 

Worship of God is Bethany’s primary activity. Through 2004 there have been frequently children and youth in church service with the pastor’s Children’s Message being important. We have watched our pastor’s daughters grow from elementary school to college and beyond. They and other youth are helpful, enthusiastic, and a valid part of our church family, but do not often meet as a group.
Visitors are always welcomed warmly. 

And so, on October 2, 2004, we celebrated Bethany’s first 100th birthday by recalling on the past – which, as they say, is prelude. To what? The future is in our hands, and our mission will be passed on to those who follow. 

As our Mission Statement says, “We are called by God…”. Let us heed that call, and follow.


        Bethany United Methodist Church is called by God to act as God’s servants to each other and to those in our community. In order to do this, the Bethany congregation will need to recognize our role as ministers, support the members of the congregation in the ministering to others, and identify further opportunities for service in the larger community.
(Adopted September 1990)



“1904 – 2004, the first 100 years of Bethany UMC”.  D. Jean Hanson, 2004 


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