On the first Sunday of October 1932, the doors of Bethel Holy Church were opened for the first time. The church was located on 126th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City. The founder, Bishop Ida Bell Robinson, led her co-workers in organizing the church. These efforts were not in vain. Many souls were added to the church. Through witnessing, evangelism and outreach ministries such as a powerful radio broadcast, Bishop Robinson and Bethel became very well known. As the church continued to grow, several new locations had to be secured to accommodate the people.
The Lord led Bishop Robinson to call upon Elder James Bell to assist her in New York City. Elder Bell had been happily pasturing in Easton, MD but obediently answered the call to assist Bishop Robinson in New York City. This he did until her passing in 1946. Elder Bell was immediately installed as pastor of Bethel Holy Church. Elder Bell and his wife, Agnes set out to build a bigger and better Bethel. The Lord blessed them in their efforts. In October 1949, Bethel moved to its current location, 922 St. Nicholas Avenue. Just four years later the mortgage to the church was paid.
God used Elder Bell in a mighty way. As a fitting tribute to his outstanding work and leadership at Bethel and the general organization of Mt. Sinai, Elder Bell was consecrated to the Bishopric during the annual Convocation in 1961. Bishop Bell was well known in many church circles for his radio ministry and his dynamic preaching.
Upon the death of Bishop James Bell, Bishop Joseph Bell was installed as pastor of Bethel Holy Church in October 1990. Bishop Joseph Bell had worked hard in assisting his father at Bethel as well as the New York-New England District for many years. He was a fitting successor to a great man of God. At the close of the New York-New England District Convention in August 1990, the Lord gave Bishop Joseph Bell a new direction for Bethel Holy Church. Bethel was to become “A loving, caring, sharing ministry.” This Christian philosophy compelled the members to take a loving, caring and sharing attitude toward their brothers and sisters in Christ and those in need. Concentrated efforts would be made to make a positive impact on the community and its needs
With this new philosophy in mind, Bishop Joseph Bell established a soup kitchen outreach ministry. Once a week the needy were given a hot meal and clean clothing. This ministry grew from feeding 12 the first week to feeding over 100 each week. Since December 1990, the church has not only operated a soup kitchen but also a food pantry and clothing giv-a-way . Tutorial services and test preparation for school aged children were also offered for families in need.
In September 1994, Bishop Joseph Bell was led of the Lord to appoint his son as an assistant to the pastor. Young Elder Joseph Bell, Jr. worked very closely with his father in the ministry and gained very valuable training and insight while working with his father. During this time, the Bethel Community Bible Institute was established. Men’s ministry, women’s ministry, several youth ministries and Family ministry were also established.
Bishop Joseph Bell went home to be with the Lord in December, 2015. Upon the passing of Bishop Bell, Elder Joseph Bell Jr., was appointed as the interim pastor of Bethel Holy Church. On October 22, 2016, Elder Bell was officially installed as the pastor of Bethel. The Lord led Pastor Bell to build on the foundation established by his father by continuing to reach out to the community. Additionally, the Lord gave Pastor Bell a vision for dynamic evangelism and outreach that will not only reach the community, but will also impact others throughout the world.
Bishop Joseph Bell