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Greater Israel Bethel PBC honors 10 decades of faith, community service

admin | 7/12/2012, 5:44 a.m.

Turning 100 years old is a great accomplishment for any person or institution. So, when Greater Israel Bethel Primitive Baptist Church (PBC) celebrated their 100th anniversary on Sunday, July 8th, the Overtown church dedicated a days worth of services to the momentous event. A whole lot of churches have opened and closed in the last 100 years, but Greater Israel Bethel [PBC] is still here, declared New Jerusalem PBCs Elder Kenneth Dukes, who was the featured speaker at the afternoons anniversary service. Its an awesome feeling, commented Greater Israel Bethel PBCs senior pastor, Elder K.L. Washington about the churchs centennial anniversary. Founded in 1912, a small group of faithful worshippers utilized a small frame building for Greater Israel Bethel PBCs first services. As the churchs membership grew, larger worship centers were built or found. Finally, in 1953, the congregation moved into their current sanctuary on 160 Northwest 18th Street in Overtown. Nowadays, the church has approximately 300 to 350 members, according to Washington. When asked how the church has managed to last for 100 years, the pastor explained simply that we put God first. JaMee Davis, the church anniversary chairperson, agreed. We know that the word of God is what keeps us together. She explained further, We love one another and we take care of one another. Sheila Mitchell, who has been a member for over 13 years ago, credits the friendly atmosphere for why she decided to join. It was during a low period in her life and Mitchell found that church members such as Sisters Marva Duhart and Frances Brown were more than willing to come to her aid. I needed a family oriented church, she said. And, here [at Greater Israel Bethel PBC] I found that connection. Sisters would come to minister to me just to get me through that time and they havent stopped since. The church boasts several active ministries including an Evangelistic Ministry, Youth Ministry, the Brotherhood Ministry, the Sisterhood Ministry and a Scholarship Committee. In the years ahead, Washington says Greater Israel Bethel PBC is looking to be able to help people find employment, college financial aid, and other forms of assistance. In the future, were looking into becoming a full service church, he said. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com