Bethel’s 17th pastor, Herb Schafale was born in 1934 in Marion, Illinois. During his youth, he was active in Zion UCC (formerly Evangelical and Reformed) where he served as Youth Delegate to General Synod and on the national Cabinet of the E&R Church. Graduating from high school in 1952, he then attended Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, then transferred to Fisk University in Nashville, TN. He entered Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Grove, Missouri, graduating in 1959. Ordained on June 7, 1959, he then received his Masters of Sacred Theology in 1968 and his Doctorate of Ministry Degree in 1977 at Eden Seminary.
While attending church camp at the age of 15, Herb met Bennie (Benaleen), and the romance blossomed throughout their high school and college years. They married in 1956 and had four children, Mike, Mark, Connie, and Carla.
In 1959, he was called to start a church in Cahokia, Illinois which would be known as Bethel Evangelical and Reformed Church. During their 6-year term, the church grew to 240 members. In 1965, Pastor Herb responded to a call to St. Peter’s UCC in Freeburg, IL where he served for 16 years. Then came a call to serve as Senior Pastor at St. John’s UCC in Mehlville, a St. Louis suburb, a congregation of 2250 members.
The Schafales came to Bethel Church of Freelandville in 1986, first to serve as interim pastor and then remaining as full-time pastor until his retirement in 1999. They became involved in Marriage Encounter week-ends, helping couples deepen communication and love in their marriage. While at Bethel, Pastor Herb performed 85 baptisms, confirmed 82 young people, received 66 adult memberships, performed 70 marriages and 169 funerals.
Herb and Bennie currently live in Belleville, Illinois.