Bethesda Bible Church was founded in 1961 by Rev. Elton & Rev. Judith Weatherly. The need for a church in the Ypsilanti area was brought to the attention of Rev. M.D. Beall while the Weatherly’s were attending Bethesda Missionary Temple in Detroit, Michigan (now known as Bethesda Christian Church, Sterling Heights, MI). Pastor Weatherly was then sent out to Ypsilanti from the Armory of Bethesda Missionary Temple.
Beginning with five families the blossoming church met at member’s houses and other temporary locations. After a year the church out grew its meager accommodations and purchased a building in Ypsilanti on Lowell Street. The former church building is now Belfry Apartments.
In 1978, after seventeen years of ministry, Pastors Elton and Judith Weatherly felt lead of the Lord to transition the pastorate to their daughter and son-in-law, Apostles Leon and Ann Johnson. The Johnson’s created a warmth and stability in the Lord that quickly grew the congregation. Sensing the growing pains, a building project began in 1988 on an empty farmland located off Whitaker Road. Through the faithfulness and tenderness to the Lord our Apostles Leon and Ann Johnson have created a welcoming environment. Their prayer has been to love and minster to whoever the Lord sent to Bethesda. Apostle Leon’s desire to see the people of God become all they could be, he formed the Minister’s Candidate School in the early 90’s. In late 2000, the school grew into a fully accredited Bible School. Its name was recently changed to Biblical Studies Institute, DSM.
After 38 years of ministry Apostles Leon and Ann, in September of 2013, felt the leading of the Lord to set in their daughter and son-in-law to take over the major portions of the pastoral work of Bethesda. Pastors Norbert and Rachel Rodriguez currently handle all the day to day operations. The Johnson’s and Rodriguez’s work closely together to see that Bethesda thrive another 53 years.