The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Bethel A.M.E. Church: Living generational testament of community bonds

Keller Goldstein
Bethel AME Church Alter.

Under the southern live oak at 1530 Racepath Ave., Conway Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (Bethel A.M.E.) sits proudly as it has for the past 157 years, uniting the Conway community.


On Sundays, you can see residents walking down the street in their best ensemble waving to everyone in front of the church. Bethel A.M.E. is notably a tight-knit “family-like” community, which is one of the reasons why their members are drawn back to the same place every Sunday for their whole lives.


Larry White, city councilman and church superintendent, explained the fondness many in the community have built for this particular church.


“We just love this place. We were drug here as kids and we’re still keeping the faith rolling today,” White said.


Not only is Bethel A.M.E. acknowledged for its consistent congregation, but they are also infamous for giving back when help is needed. Bethel A.M.E. gives back in the form of serving dinners to the community and first responders, along with backpack and food drives.


As of right now, there are no community service opportunities on the calendar for the church according to Miller, but he advises the community to keep a lookout around Easter.


White said embodying kindness is an integral part of the church’s identity and said just being a good person is one of the church’s values.


Rev. William Miller has been the senior pastor of Bethel A.M.E. in Conway for nine years and elaborates on the rich historical context of philanthropy.


“With Bethel A.M.E. being founded after the conclusion of the Civil War, our core identity as an organization has always been centered around the idea of selfhelp and outreach in mind,” Miller said.


Miller was given the sense of community he personally needed when joining the church almost a decade ago.


“At various points, I’ve felt like they’ve needed me as much as I needed them at the time…we’ve grown together in a lot of ways,” he said


While most of the congregation has been active in the church for their entire lives, they are not restricting their church to only regulars, welcoming all to complete their mosaic that is Bethel A.M.E.


“We have a member from South America, a member from West Africa, and transplants from various places. But they’ve become a part of our community as easy as locals,” Miller said.


Bethel A.M.E. strives to continue being the change they want to see in the community and is always looking to make a further impact on their city.


“I often ask the congregation if this church no longer existed, would the community miss it? If the answer is yes, then maybe we should be doing more for the community,” he said.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Bryanna Warner
Bryanna Warner, Managing Editor
Hi! I’m Bryanna Warner, a Surfside Beach local and junior at Coastal Carolina University.   I’m so thrilled to be doing what I love as the Managing Editor of The Chanticleer.    I’m a communication major with a concentration in interactive journalism. I enjoy the beach, yoga and traveling!   I aspire to write commercials and also news anchor. Let’s do this! 
Keller Goldstein
Keller Goldstein, Photographer
Hey there,  I’m Keller and I am beyond stoked to be the official photographer for The Chanticleer I am from Saint Louis, Missouri, and studying to get my BFA in theatre arts with a concentration in physical theatre here at CCU.   Aside from studying Physical Theatre, I am passionate about writing and producing music, directing, writing plays, traveling, film and cinematography, and of course, photography!    Although I got my start in concert, editorial, and conceptual photography, I have absolutely loved exploring the world of photojournalism this past semester and I look forward to showing you our school through my lens!

Comments (0)

All The Chanticleer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *