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HomeBeliefsWhere We Worship: Bethany Presbyterian Church provides progressive Presbyterian perspective

Where We Worship: Bethany Presbyterian Church provides progressive Presbyterian perspective


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Bethany Presbyterian Church on the South Hill offers a progressive Presbyterian perspective.
Bethany Presbyterian Church on the South Hill offers a progressive Presbyterian perspective.

“Cowards can never be moral” is the current message flashing across the digital sign outside of Bethany Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Paul Rodkey said the sign is a key part of the church’s ministry. He said most people are likely to drive by a church, than go into one, so wanted a way to engage the community in an informal way.

“The sign is a way to say stuff to people that needs to be said,” Rodkey said.

It’s been part of the church’s ministry for 25 years.

Bethany Presbyterian started in 1909 as part of First Presbyterian Church.

The congregation has worshiped in three different locations throughout the years, and moved to its current spot at 2607 S Ray St. just more than a year ago.

Rodkey, who has been serving Bethany Presbyterian for 28 years, said the church has come a long way in the past three decades.

“When I came the congregation was really troubled,” he said. “It had gotten very old, very angry, closed-minded and conservative.”

A core group of people within the congregation didn’t like where it was headed and with Rodkey’s leadership the church has become perhaps the most liberal Presbyterian church in Spokane.

“We’ve taken some hits because of it, but we’re inline with the national church,” he said.

About 80 people attend Bethany Presbyterian each Sunday for its worship services, which are at 10:30 a.m. Members come from all across Spokane and the surrounding areas, including Coeur d'Alene, Cheney and Chattaroy. Members, Rodkey explained, are all ages.

“What’s interesting about this congregation is that we carry some important energy into the Spokane community,” Rodkey said.

He said anyone looking for a church is welcome to attend, though he noted it’s not the place to go if someone is looking for a congregation that’s “perfectly polished and has all the answers.”

Where We Worship is a Spokane Faith & Values feature that profiles different houses of worship in the Spokane area. To have your organization featured email [email protected].

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of FāVS.News, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

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