History of the Bethel A.M.E. Church Lay Organization
When the Laymen were given equal representation in the Annual Conference in 1940, the Lay movement all over the country began to really grow. In 1944, Episcopal Districts began to organize. Bethel Church was an active part of the lay movement behind the leadership of Louis A. Redding, Sr. Its main thrust was on scholarships. Young people were greatly helped by the Lay Organization.
Subsequent Presidents were: Charles Wallace, 1964; A. B. Holland, 1969; Katherine B. Ross, 1970; Betty Ham, 1985; Norman Duckett, 1990; Betty Ham, 1993; Martin Drew 2004; Sharon Drew 2013.
On Monday, November 2, 1953, Bethel Lay Organization was established by the President of the Delaware Conference Lay Organization, Dr. Oscar N. Smith. The following officers were elected: Anna B. Holland, Pres.; Steven Bailey, Vice Pres.; Rubie N. Benson, Assist Sec; William Hudson, Treas; Charles O. Thompson, Chaplain; John Anderson, Louis Redding, Sr., Honorary Pres., Rev. Ruffin N. Noisette, Pastor. Charter members were Dr. O. N. Smith, Anna B. Holland, William Johnson, Maude Smith, Helen Forman, Anna Johnson, Charles Thompson, Steven Bailey, London Sudler, John Anderson, George Collins, Mabel Collins, Elmer Loatman, Louis Redding, Sr., Charles Walker, James Goldsborough, John Curry, Wilbur Robinson, Clara Robinson, Charles Wallace, Anna Beachum, William Hudson, Rubie N. Benson.
Some of the activities were scholarships to Rev. Daggett, several of the Hickman family members and many others.
Mission and Goals of the Bethel Lay Organization
The mission of the Lay Organization is to teach and train the laity of Bethel A.M.E. Church to support the total program in the church, the community, and the Connection through a systematic and regular study of the Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and to further keep alive the sacred memory of our founder, Richard Allen.
The goals are:
- To give total support to the ministries of Bethel A.M.E. Church
- To increase membership by providing meaningful activities that will promote the love for, and the appreciation of, the history traditions, principles and development of African Methodism, and by reaching out to the youth of the church.
- To extend ourselves beyond the borders of Bethel to assist the laity of the Conference and the Episcopal District.
- To help in the support of the A.M.E. educational institutions.
Lay Organization Officers
- Sharon Drew, President
- Connie Fleming, 1st Vice President
- Delores Tatman, 2nd Vice President
- Shavalya Matthews, 3rd Vice President
- Martin Drew, Recording Secretary
- Marlene Mitchell, Corresponding Secretary
- Cecilia Sanders, Financial Secretary
- Richard Ramson, Treasurer
- Sherry Rose, Chaplain
- Marlene Mitchell, Parliamentarian
- Robin Goldborough, Historiographer
- Alice Mitchell, Director of Lay Activities
- La Sean Shelton, Director of Public Relations
- Monika Bostic, Young Adult Officer