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This website
brought to you in part by:

Elliott Design

Welcome, read about the Bethel Wedding Chapel
and see why we think this would be a Special Place for Your Special Day.
Bethel Wedding Chapel is the newest and nicest chapel in West Tennessee, we have created the perfect atmosphere to provide you with an elegant wedding ceremony in an historical setting. The Bethel Wedding Chapel is the ideal facility for couples with limited budgets and in these times of economic slow down we have kept in mind that not everyone needs or can afford to spend thousands to have a beautiful place to host their wedding, with Wedding Packages starting at only $350, we offer everyone a wedding they can afford.
A History of Bethel Chapel
 One of the oldest churches in the McLemoresville community is the Bethel Cumberland Presbyterian Church located on College Street and stands today within a few feet of where the original church stood.

 Reference to the church in McLemoresville was made as far back as 1823 in the minutes of the Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Sometime around 1823 the Hopewell Presbytery was organized in McLemoresville with William Barnett, Richard Beard, Samuel Harris and John C. Smith as some of the founders of the early church.

 In 1842 members of the church established Bethel College in McLemoresville with John Neal Roach as the first president of the college. Bethel is a Hebrew word meaning "house of God" and the college was named for the church. Reverend Reuben Burrow was the first principal and the school was known as Bethel Seminary under the auspices of the West Tennessee Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The school did not become Bethel College until 1850 through the efforts of President Roach.

 In 1861 the college was closed due to the outbreak of the Civil War, and students went home to fight. Soon after the war, in 1866, the college was reopened. However, when the county began to grow, the railroads bypassed the town of McLemoresville and passed through McKenzie providing more people and better transportation methods there. So in 1872 the college was moved to McKenzie and in 1886 the Presbyterians sold the old college building to the Methodists in McLemoresville, and it became the McLemoresville Collegiate Institute.

 The Presbyterian congregation continued meeting in the church near the M.C. I. until 1907, when the building burned. The cause of the fire, which destroyed the two-story frame church, was thought to be an explosion of a large swinging oil lamp located upstairs in a meeting room where the Maccabees had been meeting earlier. Damage amounted to $1000 and the church was without insurance. The church members sold the old church lot and other property surrounding it to obtain enough money to build back their church.

 Around 1914 the one-story frame church was completed on a corner of the property where it stands today. Through the efforts of the small congregation the church continued until 1994 when the church closed it's doors because of members moving away or attending larger churches in nearby towns.

 In 2009 the Mayor and City Board of McLemoresville became interested in the building, as an historic part of the town their desire was to see what could be done to keep the structure from further disrepair. The Cumberland Presbytery was contacted to see if they had any plans for upkeep on the building, their answer was no. The City Board set about to see if the Presbytery would donate the building and property to the City of McLemoresville for the purpose of salvaging the historic site, and thankfully they were in agreement to that. Wondering what we would do with the building now that we had possession of it, a motion was made that we use it as a wedding facility to coincide with the McLemoresville Activities Center or the MAC and provide low cost weddings to raise money for use on other city projects. The motion carried and the Bethel Wedding Chapel was soon to become a reality.

 In March of 2010 the City received the deed to the property and plans were soon made to start the restoration project. The building had become very weathered in the last few years and since the church members had moved out and not done any repairs the roof had started leaking and began sagging. The first phase of restoration was to replace the roof and straighten the walls that had bowed outward from the sagging roof.

 A local Mennonite crew headed by Mr. Miller was called in for the structural repairs. The nearly 100 year old metal roof was removed and thus created the relief needed to pull the walls back into place. Cables were used to hold the walls and the roof was reframed and a new standing-seam metal roof was installed.

 The spires on the church towers had to be replaced, one was missing and the other was falling apart. Elliott Design provided the manufacture of two new aluminum spires to match the originals. Patterns were made of the existing spire and with help from old photos, the parts were cut, formed, welded and painted to match the new roof.

 By the Fall of 2010 the structure was under new roof and preparations for refurbishing the exterior had begun. A "workday" was organized and volunteers from the area came to scrape away the years of old peeling paint and enjoy a Bar-B-Q picnic lunch. Much headway was made during that day and over the next few months until Winter weather set in and outside work stopped. With good intentions of restarting in the Spring of 2011, a major storm tore through the area and put the chapel project on hold for most of the year. Volunteers that had spent time on the chapel were now working to clean up the town and their own properties.

 Early February 2012 Mayor Phil Williams was contacted about having a wedding on May 26th., the exterior of the building was almost finished but the inside had not hardly been started. Volunteers jumped in whole heartedly and worked a miracle, making about six months of repairs in less than three and bringing it all together right at the last minute for the wedding of Dean Griffith and Susan Davis.

 Chapel decorations were made possible by donated items from Bill's Flowers, Paula Kelley's Florist and William's Furniture who furnished laborers, materials and furniture. Irene Williams, Barbara Hall and Kay Elliott put on the final touches with floral arrangements and window accessories. Many others, too numerous to mention were also involved in finalizing the Bethel Wedding Chapel. 

Mayor Williams and City Board members, Barbara Younger, Angie Martin, Don Reed, Harold Blow and Larry Elliott would like to thank all the volunteers that put their time, donated money and materials into this community project. Now you see why we think the Bethel Wedding Chapel would be a great place for your wedding, the dedication of volunteers to see a project like this through are sure to see that your wedding day is as perfect as possible.