Bethel equips believers to proclaim the love of God to the world and build community through prayer, worship, fellowship, study, community service and partnership.
We’re here to cultivate the spiritual life of an inclusive community, connect with our neighbors and create a missional movement in Pike Township and beyond.
We’re glad you’re here too.
We are a praying people: We acknowledge our dependency on God and God’s love.
We are a welcoming people: We reach out in Christ’s name and invite others in just as they are.
We are an inclusive people: We work to eliminate barriers that exclude people from full participation in our life together.
We are a connected people: We tie local churches to local churches in our neighborhood, state and around the globe to carry out God’s mission. We join together as laity and clergy to do ministry as a team.
We are a multicultured, multiracial people: We cherish our racial and ethnic diversity and work persistently to overcome racism and intolerance in our midst and in our social environment.
We are a changing, learning people: We experience our world of continuous change as a call to imaginative participation in God’s ongoing creation.
We are a boldly serving people: We seek through the power of the Holy Spirit to live into God’s desire for justice and peace. Through the anointing of the Holy Spirit we can boldly serve Christ in every circumstance of life.
We are a biblical people: We acknowledge the Holy Scriptures as the primary source of guidance for faith and life in the Kingdom of God.
We are a Spirit-led people: We acknowledge the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power in every aspect of our life together in Jesus Christ.
Today’s Bethel United Methodist Church is a coming together of different faith communities to nurture one another and answer God’s call in new and exciting ways.
In the 1830s, a farmer living in what was then rural Pike Township donated an acre of land for a community chapel and cemetery. Several families came together and built the original Bethel chapel, Bethel meaning “house of God.” The community grew, and soon a new bigger clapboard church was built. Indianapolis kept growing, and so did the population of Pike Township. In 1906 a beautiful brick church with a prominent steeple was built. In 1960 a classroom wing was added, and Bethel started the first kindergarten in Pike Township. That ministry grew into the Bethel Early Childhood Academy, which still flourishes today.
A newer, larger sanctuary was completed in the late 1980s, complete with a beautiful stained glass window series made and donated by a longtime member. In keeping with the church’s desire to be a church for the community, in 2010 the Family Life Center was added as a large space for the Bethel family and community groups to use.
As Pike Township grew, other congregations were born to serve the burgeoning communities. Faith United Methodist Church was established in 1963. Faith built the building on 62nd Street and met for worship at Central Elementary School during construction. New Horizons of Eagle Creek United Methodist was formed in 1992 and met in a rented space. When Faith and New Horizons merged in 2002, Faith had a building and New Horizons did not, so the merged congregation made the Faith building home.
The merged congregation decided on the new name “Horizons of Faith,” bringing the two names together for a meaningful message. The church wasn’t large, but it was well loved by the community and its members. In 2018, Horizons of Faith started sharing a pastor with Bethel. After a year, the congregation decided to merge with Bethel. They gifted their building and property to a vibrant Hispanic faith community, thus continuing the site’s legacy of serving a changing community.
In 1876, the St. Paul United Methodist Church began as a Sunday school class meeting in an old frame school, with a Ladies Aid Society meeting in individual’s homes. They eventually built a church at 30th and Michigan Road. In 1888, Olive Branch Methodist Church was organized in the Flackwood community at 30th Street between Lafayette Road and Guion Road.
Both churches had strong and active congregations. In the 1950s these churches, after seeing declining membership, voted to merge and to build a new church building. They became the Wesley United Methodist Church. The congregation grew and flourished. Responding to a changing neighborhood, the church created an “Ambassadors” ministry that served refugee families.
Over time, maintenance of the large church led Wesley to join the Bethel family in 2020.
In 2020 these three faith communities joined as one, Bethel United Methodist Church, becoming a new congregation ready to use the gifts brought by all members, old and new, to the glory of God. Bethel United Methodist Church is a spiritual space that welcomes everyone, encourages discipleship, serves its community and uplifts the marginalized. Come join us!
The Reverend Keith A. Turner is the Senior Pastor of Bethel United Methodist Church, appointed by Bishop Julius C. Trimble and the Appointive Cabinet of the Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He began his tenure on July 1, 2023.
In 2018, he was licensed as a Local Pastor in the United Methodist Church. At Annual Conference 2019, he was commissioned as a Provisional Elder. In 2022, he was ordained an Elder in Full Connection in the Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Prior to his arrival at Bethel UMC, Rev. Keith served as the John Wesley Minister and Assistant Chaplain at the University of Evansville, a United Methodist affiliated university in southern Indiana. In 2019, he was appointed as pastor of Riverside United Methodist Church in Muncie, Indiana and then at College Avenue United Methodist Church, also in Muncie. In 2021, Rev. Keith led the merger of these century-old congregations to form Community of Hope, A United Methodist Congregation, which during his tenure, was the only open and affirming United Methodist Church in Delaware County.
Rev. Keith also brings a wealth of experience in ecumenical and interfaith ministries, having served in Presbyterian (PCUSA), Lutheran, and Episcopal churches. He also brings extraordinary gifts in church music as an accomplished hymnologist, pianist and organist. He is also a sought-after contributor to conversations around the intersectionality of faith, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and anti-racism.
EDUCATION: Asbury University; graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible & Theology. Asbury Theological Seminary; graduated in 2017 with a Master of Divinity.