Bethany Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Yellow Creek Community, Houston County, Tennessee

Organized before 1850 - 1962

October 26-27, 1850
Charlotte Presbytery - Charlotte, Dickson County, Tennessee
Elder Representative from Bethany congregation - Abner Skelton
[Source: "Extracts of the Minutes of the Charlotte Presbytery," The Banner of Peace and Cumberland Presbyterian Advocate, December 27, 1850, page 1]

Bethany Church is located beside a bubbling spring flowing from the limestone bluffs along Bethany Road in the Yellow Creek community. The exact date of the founding of Bethany Church is uncertain, but we know that it was prior to 1858, because the founder and pastor, the Rev. Jim Parrish, buried his daughter in the church cemetery in that year. The church, originally a log structure with a dirt floor, was started as Cumberland Presbyterian, but unfortunately the complete history of the church was lost in an automobile accident when the Presbytery was transporting the records from Nashville to Clarksville in the 1950s.

In 1874 Dr. J. O. McClurkan, when only 13 years old, crossed the ridge from his home on Shoulder Strap to attend a fall revival at Bethany, and was saved at the straw strewn alter that evening. Dr. McClurkan went on to establish the Pentecostal Mission Tabernacle and Trevecca College, both of Nashville, Tennessee.

Around the turn of the century, Bethany School was operated from a log building in the lower church yard, with approximately 50 children in attendance.

The existing building, erected in 1887, replaced the original log church. The huge old hand hewn beams supporting the present structure speak well of the love and devotion of the membership at that time. History tells of wagons and horses filling the hollow Bethany sits in, and standing room only at revival time. The church remained in operation until 1962 when it closed its doors. Aug. 12, 1976 it was purchased from the Cumberland Presbyterian Synod by Leroy Barden Jr., who used the building for storage. On the third Sunday of August 1978 the patriarchal members held a last homecoming in the deserted building, and sadly closed its doors for what they believed would be the last time, but God had other plans for his house!

In 1985 the old building was purchased from Mr. Barden by its present pastor, Terry Trainor, and once again the sound of hammers and saws filled the hollow beside the ancient limestone bluffs. The spring, which had served as the church water supply since its founding, was discovered to be high enough to allow gravity flow to the building, so a complete plumbing system was installed, while still leaving the springs access open to man or beast in thirst. Over the next few years, Bethany received a new roof, exterior siding, concrete porch, stained glass windows, doors, and a complete renovation of the interior, including carpeting and air conditioning. The church today is independent and autonomous as a Non-Denominational church, belonging solely to its small and devoted fellowship.

Bethany is a church where people from many different Christian faiths can gather together as a community bound together by their love of the Lord.

Services are Sunday at 11 a.m., with Sunday School at 10 a.m. All denominations welcomed!

[Source: History of Houston County, Tennessee: History and Families. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1995, page 29]

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Updated August 28, 2007