Bethel United Methodist Church (UMC) has been a part of Charleston since 1797 and lasted through natural disasters and human created disasters, such as the civil war. It first opened as a "wooden shack" uniting both whites and blacks. This little building is known as Old Bethel today and it was donated to the black congregation in 1876 as the whites had plans for a larger sanctuary. Today Bethel and Old Bethel work together to keep the Christian faith going. Bethel was the only Methodist Church that was open during the civil war. It has undergone several renovations through the years but Bethel UMC is the oldest Methodist Church in Charleston and is also pinned as a National Historic Landmark.
As a class we were lucky enough to get a tour of the beautiful Bethel United Methodist Church. Sue Bennett served as our guide and gave us insights on the church and the graveyard adjacent to the sanctuary. One thing really interested me that Bennett explained, "[m]ost places that you are standing in Charleston has someone buried beneath you". She showed us all the tradition of the church, from the graffiti to the old house that was renovated.
We also visited the church graveyard on site and below are examples of symbolism:
The ivy wreath on Sarah Ann Pelzer's Die in Socket marker is a symbol of conviviality and memory. This is often put on the stones of married women who pass away.
|The Daisy Flower on Sarah Ann's Die in Socket marker symbolizes innocence of child; Jesus the infant because Sarah died at the age of 2.|