Sunday, November 6, 2016, Pastor Ronnie E. Brailsford preached his final message at Bethel AME Church, Columbia, SC. Pastor Brailsford’s ministry at Bethel commenced in 1992. Recently, Pastor Brailsford was elevated to bishop and assigned to the 20th Episcopal District in Africa over nearly 200 churches. Bishop Brailsford will be sorely missed from the Columbia area.
Bishop Brailsford will leave the 151-year-old Bethel AME Church. Charter members of Bethel AME were dismissed from Marion Street and Washington Street Methodist Churches in 1865 when Reverend Richard H. Cain came up from Charleston to organize the first AME church in Columbia.
Bethel AME called Brother A. Smith as her first pastor. Pastor Smith was born in North Carolina, later moving to Charleston, S.C. Pastor Smith served until June of 1866 when he relocated to Georgia and finally Alabama.
Bethel’s second pastor was Reverend William H. Brown, a minister relocated from Baltimore, Maryland. During his tenure, Pastor Brown and Bethel AME hosted the Annual South Carolina Conference in 1868. Pastor Brown was also elected Richland County School Superintendent.
Following Reverend Brown was Reverend William D. Harris, another North Carolina transplant. Pastor Harris’s tenure commenced in 1870 and ended in 1872. He was a highly educated man.
Source: The Columbia Star | John A. Middleton