In January of 1992 the Pulpit Committee diligently searched for a new Pastor.
Rev. Ronald B. Dewberry of Akron, Ohio accepted the call. In May 1992, Rev. Dewberry was installed as the 11th Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church.
Under the leadership of Rev. Dewberry, a Transportation Ministry, with the purchase of a new van, was established. Development of a curriculum for New Member’s Classes, and collaborated with six (6) other congregations for dialoging on the issues of race.
As a result of commercial expansion surrounding Irving Avenue, Bethany once again found themselves with the task of relocating. In October of 1992, Rev. Dewberry initiated a seven-year Pledge Program for the purpose of building a new Bethany Baptist Church. Land was acquired at the site of 149 Beattie Street. After securing a $1.5 million dollar loan, construction began. In celebration of the completion of the new edifice at Beattie Street, Rev. Dewberry, church officers, choir, Sunday school children and members once again marched through the city singing praises from the previous location on Irving Avenue to Bethany’s new location at 149 Beattie Street. Bethany’s present edifice was dedicated on May 19, 1996. After serving as Pastor for twelve (12) years, in August 2002, Rev. Dewberry announced that he was resigning from Bethany to pursue other interests.
In March of 2003, Rev. Dr. Arthur M. Kemp was appointed to serve as Interim Pastor until a permanent Pastor could be found. Under Rev. Kemp’s Interim leadership, Min. Phil M. Turner Ordination Service was held on August 31, 2003 at Bethany Baptist Church and following in October 2003, Rev. Phil M. Turner was elected by the congregation to become Bethany’s new Interim Pastor. During the Interim leadership of Rev. Phil M. Turner, Bethany started construction of a new addition onto the edifice. The new Fellowship Hall with seating for four hundred (400) people, with a full kitchen was dedicated on July 16, 2005, and also hosted Syracuse’s Mayor Matt Driscoll’s annual “State of the City “ address on March 7, 2006. On February 19, 2007, Rev. Phil M. Turner was elected as the 12th Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, and installation services were held on April 22, 2007.
In 2016, Bethany celebrated the completion of the edifice mortagage, and currently have a pledge program to liquidate the mortage on the Fellowship Hall in 2020.
In our 143 years as an African American Baptist Church in Syracuse, New York we have had a number of accomplishments. Although there were not many colored people in the City of Syracuse in 1887, those founders had a vision beyond their times. Those pioneering members, without a doubt put God first in their endeavors.
” We Have Come This Far By Faith”
Mrs. Dorothy J. Williams, who served as Church Clerk for Bethany from 1955 – 1975, wrote this historical account in large part. Mrs. Williams succeeded her mother, Mrs. Katherine B. Johnson who served as Church Clerk for forty (40) years. Joseph Terrill, who was one of the original eight (8) founders, was Dorothy Williams’s Great-Grandfather (Mrs. Katherine B. Johnson’s Father). Mrs. Dorothy J. Williams the only known descendant of any of the original founders remained active in Bethany Baptist Church till her passing in 1995.