college with this in mind. Finally, in 1958, over a century later, Miss Shirley Bell Taylor (Mrs. Duane Saylor), a former organist at Bethel, graduated from the seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, and became the first lay member to go officially into fulltime Christian service. (She presently is the organist and music director in one of the Peninsula churches.) The first trained minister to go out form Bethel in al of the church's history was Robert C. Emerson, who was licensed to preach in 1959 and was ordained September 8, 1963. Now, in 1964, two other men answered the call themselves even though they were older men with families. Licensed to preach at the same time that our pastor, Mr. Estes', answered the call to evangelistic work, were Robert (Bob) Baker and Lester Boyd.
Reverend N. D. Blackman, being retired, returned to be interim pastor until Bethel could fill the vacancy created by Mr. Estes' resignation. The church was fortunate, however, to find a pastor only two months later. In November, 1964, Rev. David C, Anderson accepted the call to come to Bethel. This would be the fourth pastorate he had served in the Peninsula Association since first coming to Virginia in 1939.
Bethel's building program became one of the first needs which received the attention of the new pastor. Because Mr. Covington had been working on the program, the church was ready. As a result, construction began in April, 1965, for the building of a sanctuary to accommodate 600 people and for an educational building to care for a fully departmentalized Sunday School of 750 in attendance. The overall cost of these units was approximately $206,450. Bethel had come a long way from the one-room buildings used for the first eighty-seven years. The membership in 1964 had grown to 521, and the church budget for that year was $52,00, of which forth percent was given to missions.