While we often call ourselves Bethel Church for simplicity's sake, our full name holds interesting history.
Bethel is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a hallowed spot. The word in it's Hebrew form is translated as "House of God". In the Biblical story, Bethel is the place where God spoke to Abraham. All of these interpretations are likely why early community members chose the name. Today you may sense the holy while seated in the Bethel sanctuary with Mt. Hood vistas to the north and images from around the world represented in art on the walls,
An additional modern translation from Merriam-Webster is "a chapel for Nonconformists." This interpretation seems a fitting one for today's Bethel Church. We are enriched by the strength of our diversity. Learning, challenging and growing together as we worship and play in our house of God.
The Congregational part of our name ties us back to our roots as a pioneering people who believed that while we are connected to the entire family of God, each community and congregation should govern itself and make autonomous decisions. We bring this history in to the present as we forge new paths as people of faith while connecting with our neighboring faith communities to grow and learn from one another.
The United Church of Christ shows that we are a member of a larger, national group of progressive churches. As a part of this larger organization we can access resources and contribute to programs and projects at the local, state and national level. Through the greater UCC, we are members in regional committees, partake in summer camp and youth activities and connect to like-minded Christians. Our UCC ties also allow us to combine our resources with congregations across the country to respond to the needs of the entire world. Bethel actively supports peace, justice and relief work locally, nationally and globally.
The UCC has a special history as a people that take the Bible seriously, not literally. We believe that God is still speaking and that there is always more to learn from and with one another. The national United Church of Christ has been a pioneer on issues of social justice. Bethel White Salmon takes this call to do justice seriously. Through the years the Bethel community has led the way on issues of equality and justice in White Salmon and beyond.