Bethel Reformed Presbyterian Church, Sparta, IL
The history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Randolph County goes back to the year 1818. To the Rev. Samuel Wylie belongs the credit of the planting of the church.
He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, February 19, 1790; came to the United States in 1807; entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in the class of 1811; prepared for the ministry in the Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, under the care of his uncle, Dr. S.B. Wylie, and was licensed to preach in May, 1815, at Philadelphia, by the Middle Presbytery.
In the summer of 1817 he visited various places in the West, passing through Illinois and continuing his travels as far as Boonville, Missouri. On his return he again passed through Illinois and spent the winter in supplying the vacancies in Tennessee and South Carolina.
At the meeting of the Synod in Pittsburgh in the latter part of May, 1818, he reported his travels and the prospect for church extension in the West. Synod ordered the Middle Presbytery to take him on trial for ordination, and he was accordingly ordained in Pittsburgh, PA, on the 2nd of June, 1818, and sent as a missionary to Southern Illinois. Mr. Wylie reached Kaskaskia the last day of July following and immediately entered upon his work.
- University of Pennsylvania Archives.
- PCA Historical Center: Bethel’s Early History, by Rev. W.J. Smiley.