This week we celebrate seventy-five years together as Bethel Baptist Church! It is a wonderful, amazing and delightful thing, and we freely acknowledge that it is by God’s grace that we continue as a church – we pray, as a humble, grace-filled, faithful, Bible believing, Bible teaching, Bible preaching, Bible focused church in Centre Wellington. Our longevity, our continued existence is all according to the plan and purpose of God, which He had, in Trinity, from before the beginning of time. God, in Your mercy, we pray that we might continue to be a beacon of light in this community for the GLORY of Your Holy NAME!
Seventy-five years is a long time! Our dear Eileen Burns was there at the very beginning, as a nine year-old at that first service in the church that was built on St. Andrew’s Street, a Good Friday service. Her father was one of the men of vision and perseverance, willing to be used of God in this new work, and she has been a part of Bethel ever since. Many, many others have come, and many have gone, over those 75 years. There have been ups and there have been downs, as is to be noted in the life of every church, but not all churches last 75 years. There is a family in our church where four generations are in attendance! Four generations!! Praise God! So much has happened in 75 years. Did you realize that 75 years is almost twice the time that God had Moses on the backside of the wilderness in training to lead the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt? It’s almost twice the time that they wandered in the wilderness. It’s five years longer than the exile in Babylon! Seventy-five years is 25 times as long as Paul spent in “Arabia” being prepared by God for ministry after his conversion. God said in Genesis 6:3 that the days of our lives “shall be 120 years,” but there isn’t any known person on the planet now who has lived beyond 117 years. Seventy-five years is a long time.
Seventy-five years is a short time! Canada itself, a very young country by the standards of the world is already 150 years old. The history of Bethel Baptist church can be traced back further, at least to the 1930s when people started meeting in houses in Fergus and Elora, and in Chalmers church which still stands on Henderson Street. It might even be possible to trace Bethel’s roots back to First Baptist in Elora, whose Bible we have in our foyer, dated 1834, 183 years ago . But that is still a very short time. In my own family, going back to the village of Brooke in Leicestershire England, the church where my Hudson great-grandparents were buried in 1926, stands St Peter’s church, where regular services are still being held. The earliest parts of that church were build in the 12th or 13th century – maybe 800 years ago! [Maybe you saw the interior in the 2005 film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.”] That’s an olde church by English standards, but the church in Jerusalem, established on the Day of Pentecost, if our Saviour Jesus Christ was crucified and rose again in A.D. 33, is 1984 years old.” That’s 26.5 “Bethels” old. And all of those 1984 years will seem like a “breath” when we are living in eternity. Seventy-five years is a short time.
So let us not think too highly of ourselves, but recognize that all honour and glory goes to GOD, for His grace and mercy in the life of Bethel Baptist Church. Let us not think of ourselves as an old church, but as a part of God’s church in Centre Wellington, preserved according to His plans and purpose, for His GLORY, today and every day that He gives us. Let us look to the past with great thanksgiving for all that God has done, but to the future with joyful expectation for all that God will continue to do, in us and through us, for His GLORY! THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS SUSTAINING HAND UPON BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH!
To more easily download or print these notes, please click the link below for a PDF version.
Pastor’s Notes PDF April 23rd, 2017