In early December of 1948 Pastor Armond Calvert, then pastor of Bedford First Church of the Nazarene and Leo C. Davis, the District Superintendent of the Southwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene, began talking about the possibility of a second church in Bedford.
They began holding meetings at a hall on 7th Street. After months of planning and prayer meetings and following a several week revival with Rev. William J. Kerney, the East Side Church of the Nazarene was organized June 6, 1949 with five members: the new pastor and his wife (Rev. William and Ethel Kerney), the District Superintendent and his wife (Dr. Leo and Lela Davis) and Mrs. Pheobe Baker (pictured on the right). There were others planning to join the charter, but at the last minute several stepped out. Perhaps to some it seemed a rash act to organize with only five members, but the succeeding years have proven the faith and wisdom of their decision. The charter was left open for a short time and nine others came in as charter members.
Rev. William Kerney, the new pastor, secured a job as an auto mechanic to make a living and began the great work of building God’s kingdom. Under his leadership, the church moved from meeting in a hall on 7th Street, and purchased property on 19th and E Streets. They met in a tent each week until construction was far enough along to begin meeting in their new facility and they quickly began filling it up.
In March, 1956, the church suffered a tremendous loss in the passing of Lela B. Davis, Sunday School teacher, missions president, church board steward, secretary of the church board as well as wife of District Superintendent, Dr. Leo C. Davis. In times of crisis the people had begun to depend upon her judgment and her dauntless faith.
In view of the spiritual and material contributions of our District Superintendent, Dr. Leo C. Davis, and the late Lela B. Davis, the church voted to change the name for the East Side Church of the Nazarene to Davis Memorial Church of the Nazarene. The name was changed in August 1957 at the dedication of the new church sanctuary, completed under the leadership of Rev. Donal Donahoe. The Southwest Indiana District, wishing to express their gratitude to Mrs. Davis, provided a stained glass window in her memory.
This larger facility served the church for several years. Then under the leadership of Rev. Rodney C. Lindsay a fellowship center was added in 1990 and attendance continued its steady growth. Rev. Gale Ashby provided leadership for a sanctuary extension completed in 1995. In which the Davis Memorial stained glass was extricated and reincorporated into the new wall behind a new baptistery.
During the ministry of Rev. Brian Rogers, the church purchased two properties adjacent to the church, which also secured space for a growing youth ministry, office space, additional classroom space and parking. It drew a crowd the day a garage was moved across the street to its present location as an educational building. In addition to these expansions, the ministry of Cornerstone Childcare was begun and the church’s first full time staff person, Pastor Mark Thompson, was hired as youth pastor.
Pastor Ken Bushey served the church 2007-2021. During his ministry, the church continued to grow, necessitating the revision of some of the facilities and the use of the parsonage for weekly activities. As the Childcare and Youth ministries grew, it became necessary to expand. In 2016 the church purchased and renovated the retired Englewood School on Washinton Avenue. The Englewood Ministry Center now serves as a second campus for various ministries of the church.
A long time member has told the story of when she and her husband first visited years ago when the church building was only a basement. She commented that there was nothing impressive in the building's beauty and often the basement would take on water and people would have to move their seats to avoid the stream that flowed the length of the room. But she ended by saying, “We decided to go back not because of the building, but because of the people and the presence of the Lord.”
We are thankful the building has had much improvement, but we praise the Lord that people continue to return because of the Presence of the Lord.
In February of 2017 the church voted to change its name to Restoration Church of the Nazarene. Under this renewed identity the church continues to reach into the lives of people with the good news that lives ruined by sin can be redeemed by Jesus and restored to the image of Christ. It is our vision to see new creation one life at a time.
Pastor Kevin & Sarah Hancock moved to Bedford in May 2022. Under their leadership, the church strengthened community groups, developed the connection between our church and childcare, and expanded and strengthened our music ministry.
We are experiencing great days at Restoration and are thankful to God for his vision and provision for us. We continue to trust him to build his church and desire to be a people who can engage others with the good news that God loves the imperfect, forgives the powerless, offers hope to the hopeless, and changes our hearts that we can change our world.
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