Thanks to Mary Alice Glover for providing this article from the collection of her father Johnny Avery.
Sunday, July 25th, the Bethel Presbyterian Church in the Dial community celebrated its 102nd anniversary with an all day meeting. The celebration was not held on its 100th anniversary because of the remodeling work on the church building.
The visitors began to arrive during the Sunday School hour and by the 11 o'clock church hour the church was almost filled. There were smiles and nodding recognitions as friends who had not been in the community for years entered the church. Rev. Edgar Hubbard, pastor of the Lampasas Presbyterian Church brought the morning message. Following the church service the group assembled under the tabernacle where the ladies had prepared one of the most bountiful dinners ever held in that community. During the dinner Mrs. Ida McKee, oldest member of the church, cut a huge and artistically decorated anniversary cake, prepared for the occasion by Mrs. McKee Yant of Gainesville. Visiting and looking at a collection of old pictures was enjoyed until the starting of the afternoon program at two o'clock. Pictures were taken of other members.
Rev. Jesse A. Iwig, pastor of the church, presided over the afternoon meeting. It began with a song service by Ray Yant and old songs and requests from the other members present. Bob Chiles, as in days of old, accompanied the choir on the fiddle. A quartet composed of Mrs. Wilson McCowan, Ray Yant, Elbert Nunnelley and Jesse Iwig, furnished special music. Corsages were presented to the person who had been a member of the church the longest and to the one having been a member the shortest time. These were presented to Mrs. Ida McKee, who joined the church in 1883, and to Peggy Roland, who joined in 1947. Other recognitions were Tib Hall, the oldest elder in point of service and Girt Hill, the deacon longest in service, and the direct descendant of the charter members of the church. Only two of the charter members families, S. W. McKee and Cynthia McKee and Daniel and Mary Baker had descendants present. However, descendants of numerous other families who joined a few years after the organization were present. Three widows of former pastors brought greetings to the group. They were: Mrs. W. A. Kirkpatrick of Whitewright whose husband was pastor from 1892-1897; Mrs. R. A. Gay of Paris, whose husband was pastor from 1888-1892, and Mrs. J. H. Woodard of Ladonia. George D. Carlock look over the audience and called names of families who had contributed much to the history of the church and he gave dates and related interesting facts concerning each one. Some of the names called were: McKee, Chiles, McCleary, West, Meek, Speer, Wise, Covington, Shelton, Baker, Dial, Lane, Yant and others.
One of the most appreciated parts on the program was brought by Rev. S. M. Bennett off Arlington. Rev. Bennett served the church as pastor from 1905-1912. He recounted amusing as well as touching incidents connected with the people and history of the church. His closing remarks were words of inspiration that will be long remembered.
The program was closed with the singing of "Blest Be the Tie" and benediction by Rev. Hicks, pastor of the Dial Baptist Church.