Organized in 1867, Bethel AME (African American Episcopal) is the oldest of its kind in the McClellanville area. The AME church was prevalent in the South after the Civil War when former slaves were free to begin their own congregations. Bethel AME was built in 1872 and was damaged in a storm of 1916, after which the congregation met beneath an oak tree until repairs were made. The church did not have indoor plumbing until 1962, but by 1970 the congregation outgrew this buildings and moved to a new Bethel AME structure. The last service here was held on September 17, 1979 and shotly thereafter was significantly damaged in Hurricane Hugo. The church is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.