Bethel Chapel had its beginning in the Fall of 1957, on Coolbreeze off of Highway 20 in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. By 1963 the congregation had grown and was able to build a little church on the corner of Dieppe and Hastings. As the church grew, a balcony was added (with cushy seats!) in 1977, then a 30-foot addition was built in 1979 for the Sunday school and nursery. Even with the additions, by 1981 it had become impossible to seat everyone in the main auditorium, so closed circuit TV was installed in the basement for the overflow, a rather unsatisfactory solution for a growing church!
A year later as many as seventy people were accommodated in the overflow, and dual services started in the new year of 1983. By 1985 the congregation had well and truly outgrown the present facilities and that September two thirds of the congregation left to begin a new work, Westview Bible Church, which stands at the corner of Pierrefonds Blvd. and St. Charles. Bethel survived a disastrous fire in 1987, which is why we tend to avoid singing the song “Church on Fire”. We were kindly taken in by our friends down the road, St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, until renovations were completed.
What does Bethel Chapel mean? Bethel means “House of God” in Hebrew. In the Old Testament, it was the place where Jacob, later known as Israel, met God face to face. Chapel signifies a small church. Alain Arnaud’s “Words and Mots” tells the following story: A holy man named Martin, who became the Bishop of Tours, was well-known for having cut his coat, or “chape”, in two and sharing it with a beggar. A piece of this “chape” was kept in the oratory of the king’s house. From then on, the oratory was known as a “chapelle” because of the relic that it housed. Bethel Chapel houses no relics, but we are a small church, with a history of people discovering with joy what it means to be children of God!