Our History

Bethel enjoys a rich and cherished history. In the year of 1948, a group of worshippers bound together seeking to feed themselves on the Word of God. They had no particular name, just seeking the way of holiness. The worshippers were Wallace and Nellie Gibson, Virginia Johnson and her husband. Their initial gathering was in the home of Wallace and Nellie Gibson. Later, many other individuals and families joined in with them, including the Harvey, Taylor, Dorsey, Graham, Riggs, and Jones families. Due to the size of their group, a larger meeting place was necessary. A group consisting of Brother and Sister Alonzo Mackall, and Charles Harvey purchased the old Huntingtown Elementary School for use as a community hall for different functions. It was decided that the mission would meet there.

The group continued to worship God and studied and prayed together. Since they had no official ministerial leader, they sought after the appropriate leadership. Recognizing their sincerity, Bishop Henry C. Brooks, Pastor of the Way of the Cross Church in Washington, DC assisted them in this endeavor. Bishop Brooks sent three ministers on a rotating basis to minister, and Elder John Jacob Astor Green was one of them. The members were to decide which one they wanted as their Pastor.

As time would show, the members made the wise choice of Elder John Jacob Astor Green as their shepherd. Elder Green proceeded to lead the congregation, and on February 11, 1953, he began his pastoral leadership. In a dream, Sister Lancaster received the first three letters of the name for the new church B E T. God gave Elder Green the remaining letters H E L, to form the church’s new name, BETHEL. Elder Green moved forward in faith to organize this small group of worshippers.

One of his goals included relocating from the community hall to erecting a permanent edifice. Many individuals and families participated in the prayer meetings and other services that Bethel began to hold, and they began to grow into a mighty spiritual congregation. They began to add many new charter members. Among the first were John Moore, Edmond Simmons, John Lane, James Dorsey, Wesley Jacks and John Taylor. A later charter update included Percy Spriggs and Robert Watts.

With the help of Bishop Henry C. Brooks and the saints of the Way of the Cross Church in Washington, DC, Bethel was able to build their first edifice. Brother Wallace and Sister Nellie Gibson played a key role in getting this edifice completed by donating the land for the church. The edifice was built by the members. It was small and comfortable. The congregation began to flourish both spiritually and naturally under the careful tutelage of Elder Green. His hard work was recognized by The Way of the Cross Churches of Christ, and in 1970 they bestowed upon him the office of Bishop.

Bishop John Jacob Astor Green and the saints of Bethel then set their sights upon erecting another new edifice that would accommodate their current size and ministry needs. They decided to demolish the first edifice and build the new one on the grounds. The groundbreaking for this edifice took place in 1978. In September of 1979, the Lord blessed Bethel to dedicate and occupy that facility, which is the “old” church across the street, facing Cherry Hill Road. God’s blessings upon Bethel continued as we burned the mortgage to that facility 10 years later.

Between the latter part of 1990 and November 1991, more land was cleared, and road cuts were graded, along with other tasks to provide additional parking facilities for the church. Under Bishop Green, Bethel’s growth and prosperity was evident.

In his ministry’s infancy, Bishop Green did not have ministers to labor with him in the vineyard, nor were there any missionaries or deacons appointed.

God blessed Bishop Green with his first minister, Minister Robert Watts, now Bishop and Pastor of Mt. Gethsemane Holiness Church. From that point on the Lord gave Bishop Green deacons and missionaries, as well as the addition of more ministers: Elder Allen Easton, Elder Darnell L. Easton, Elder Wilbert Jones, Elder Carroll Spriggs, now Pastor of Philadelphia Open Door Way of the Cross, Minister James Butler (deceased), and Minister O’Brien Echols. Many choirs and auxiliaries have since been established. A Junior Deacon’s Board was established to train brothers for the ordained office of Deacon. Some of its first members were ordained in July of 2000. Truly the Lord was with Bethel. In 1994, led of the Lord, Bishop Green appointed Elder Allen Easton as the Assistant Pastor of Bethel. In 1995, again after seeking God, Bishop appointed Elder Allen Easton to the office of Co-Pastor, and placed him over all of Bethel’s auxiliaries, choirs, and groups.

Bishop Green, having served the Way of the Cross Churches, International faithfully as a Vice Presiding Bishop, Middle Atlantic Diocesan, and as the Senior Bishop at Bethel, had seen the work of the Lord’s hand. In February of 1998, having received direction from the Lord, Bishop Green retired as the active Pastor of Bethel. He appointed a man who had been with him 44 of his then 45 years of pastoral ship, Elder Allen Easton. Elder Easton assumed the reigns and moved Bethel forward. Two more ministers were appointed under Elder Easton’s leadership, Minister Charles Hall, now Pastor of Consolation Evangelistic Ministries and Minister Jerome Brooks. Bishop Easton also appointed Elder Darnell Easton as First Assistant Pastor and Elder Wilbert Jones as Second Assistant Pastor.

In 2002, sadly, but to the glory of God, the Lord saw fit to call home Bishop Allen Easton and Mother Arnetta Green. Bethel was blessed with Elder Darnell being appointed as Pastor in 2002 and installed in 2003.

Elder Wilbert Jones became First Assistant Pastor and Elder Charles Hall, was appointed as Second Assistant Pastor. Minister Kevin Easton was added to the Ministerial Staff. In February of 2003 Bethel celebrated its 50th Anniversary with Bishop John Jacob Astor Green as the speaker. In 2004 God saw fit to call home our founder, Bishop John Jacob Astor Green. In August of 2008 Elder Darnell Easton was consecrated to the office of Bishop, once again putting Bethel in the careful hands of a seasoned shepherd. Since 2003 under Bishop Darnell’s leadership, Bethel has grown in leaps and bounds. Our ministry expands at least four generations and stands as a pillar of religious, community and social life.

Continuing the plans of Bishop Allen, Bishop Darnell led Bethel in its plans to build the next house of worship, large enough to house the growing ministry’s needs. In 2012 Minister Troy Chew, Minister Cory Cromwell and Minister Cordell Easton were added to the Ministerial Staff. In 2012 Minister Kevin Easton was ordained as an Elder and appointed as Church Administrator. In 2013 Elder O’Brien Echols was appointed as Second Assistant Pastor.

On November 8, 2015 Bethel held the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the new edifice and began construction. On November 18, 2017 Bethel held the Grand Opening Celebration of the NEW Bethel Way of the Cross Church of Christ, Inc. edifice. On April 1, 2018, Resurrection Sunday, Bethel held the first service in the new edifice.

In 2019, sadly, but to the glory of God, the Lord saw fit to call home Elder Wilbert Jones.

In 2020 Minister Troy Chew, Minister Cordell Easton, and Minister Cory Cromwell were elevated to the Office of Elder and officially ordained in 2021.

Bishop Darnell was elevated and consecrated to Second Vice Presiding Bishop of The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International during the Consecration of Executive Officers at The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, International 77th Holy Convocation All Saints Service on Friday, July 30, 2021.

In 2024 Minister Jerome Brooks was elevated to the office of Elder.

With God’s help and Bishop Darnell L. Easton as the Pastor, Bethel will continue to minister to the needs of the church and community; evangelize the lost; establish believers through discipleship, ministries and involvement; establish a place of worship for all people to advance the kingdom of God; provide opportunity for spiritual growth and enrichment among our young people and the family unit. The current edifice is located at 5450 Cherry Hill Road, Huntingtown, Maryland.