Bethany Christian Church Celebrates 70 Years in East Dallas

Christian Church. Photo by Renee Umsted.

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Bethany Christian Church. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Bethany Christian Church has been in our neighborhood for 70 years.

With the approval of Dallas ISD, a few local families began meeting at Lakewood Elementary School in July 1952. Soon after, the families had a Disciples of Christ pastor, CH Holcomb, and they took the name of Holcomb’s alma mater, Bethany College, forming Bethany. Christian Church.

In October of the same year, the church purchased property at the corner of Oram and Alderson streets from the heirs of jeweler Arthur A. Everts for $20,000. In 1955, when they got a loan, they started building the shrine. There was a two-story house on the property, which the church continued to use as an educational and community space.

Although the house was demolished in the mid-1960s, it was replaced by Melinda Jenkins Fellowship Hall, which still stands.

It has been an important site for the East Dallas community. John Creuzot, the current Dallas County Attorney, instituted the Dallas Initiative for Accelerated Recovery and Treatment (BROUGHT) in 1998; from 1999 to 2007, a group overseen by Mark Faust, a DIVERT field surveillance operator, met weekly in the church fellowship hall. The program was created to allow first-time offenders to embark on intensive rehabilitation under court supervision rather than being sentenced to prison.

Later, from 2009 to 2012, the church campus was used as a meeting place for Drug Abuse Punishment Institutions Program.

The church has been led by 14 pastors over the past seven decades and currently has about 50 members. One of their programs is to create bags of food, water, fruit cups and other items that they keep in their car to distribute to people they see on the street. Church members have also created layettes for premature babies.

“We are of course open and affirmative. We welcome everyone into the church and just try to be there,” says Sandi Foreman, a Bethany member since 1972.

Bethany Christian Church. Photo by Renee Umsted.

About Everts

Arthur Everts was the nephew of John Thomas Oram and Sarah Helen Stanford Oram. John Oram, who had a watch repair business, taught Everts the trade and treated Everts like his own son.

Everts founded Greenville Avenue Christian Church with his wife and 36 others in 1898; he held his last service in 1982.

The street where Bethany Christian Church is located is named after the Oram family.

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