In the early months of 1950, a handful of James Island Methodists, who attended churches in West Ashley or downtown Charleston, began to consider the possibilities of organizing a new church on James Island. On a Sunday night in late April, W.H. Davis and other members of the organizing group met with the District Superintendent, Rev. C.L. Woodard, who was receptive to the idea. A few days later, he helped them take the first steps in the process of establishing a new church.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Davis and Rev. Pierce E. Cook, pastor of Trinity Methodist Church in Charleston, explored the island facilities and were able to secure an arrangement with the James Island Community House - currently the fire station at the end of Plymouth Ave. in Riverland Terrace.
Through the efforts of Mr. Davis and George H. Hamrick, the worship facilities were prepared, a piano and chairs were borrowed, worship and educational resources were acquired, and the James Island Methodist Church (original name) held its first service on June 4, 1950. The following Sunday, a temporary slate of officers were elected, and the second Sunday of August was set as the date for the official organization of the church. At that meeting, the name of Bethany Methodist Church of James Island was adopted and the founding 115 people were declared the Charter Members of the church.
Over the next several years, land was acquired for the construction of a permanent building on Maybank Highway and the church's first Parsonage - which was substantially built by the members of the congregation. The ground breaking for the new church occurred on June 6, 1954, and the first worship services were held in the new sanctuary on January 16, 1955.
A Youth Building was added in the latter part of 1955 and an educational wing in September of 1957. The steeple was completed in 1978, the 28th year in the life of the church, and the Fellowship Hall was dedicated on February 18, 1990. Along with this last expansion, the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a special resolution of appreciation for Bethany's relief efforts after Hurricane Hugo (Sept. 21, 1989), in which the new hall served as Headquarters for the distribution of food and clothing and provided shelter for volunteers assisting with the Island's recovery efforts.