The humble beginnings of the ministry that would become Bethany started as an inter-denominational Sunday school held in the Prince of Wales Public School. The first session was on May 22, 1949 and came together as a result of Lloyd Thompson’s vision for an outreach into the Korah Township on the west side of the Sault. Others from First Baptist Church partnered with him in teaching the Word of God. By 1954, a simple 36’ x 30’ building was completed debt-free on Nichol Avenue for the ministry to begin meeting.
In early 1989, an offer was made to purchase the property of the current location of the church and the first service was held there on March 26, 1995. The church building itself is completely accessible on one level with a “Gymnatorium” which seats 320.
Bethany is located at the west end of the city of Sault Ste Marie. There are several subdivisions within a 2 kilometer radius and over 16000 people within a 7 kilometer radius of the church. Additional information about our community can be accessed here.
Early on in our search for our next pastor we acknowledged the need to step back, reflect, and analyze our situation and try to cast a new vision. The search committee was tasked with this assignment and came to these conclusions:
- A couple of things we discovered as we stepped back to take a look at the health of our church was that although we had a close family in the faith, we need to be more outward focused and more deliberate in discipleship.
- We realized our weekly worship services needed to be revitalized.
- Relevant, credible, applicable, culturally sensitive, teaching/preaching is the single most important factor in church growth and health. We want to make sure the teaching time at these services focuses on “preaching for life change” as Jesus did.
- Those from unchurched backgrounds and those raised in the church should benefit from the ancient truths found in the Bible communicated in contemporary, interesting ways.
- Discipleship needs to be deliberate. We need to arrive at a curriculum for all in Bethany who want to mature in their faith with a view to serving and ministering. Small groups will play a big part in this growth.
- We want to raise up mature, joyful worshipers who experience relationship with Jesus.
- Churches that are innovative in how they communicate and deliberate in seeing lives changed seem to be thriving. We want to be part of what the Holy Spirit is doing in our time.
- Teaching and discipleship are a priority. While we will put energy and focus primarily on these we will also move, as we have interest in our people, towards a holistic ministry in the community, youth groups, children's ministry, college/young adults, and seniors.
We realized an outside perspective might also be helpful so we secured the assistance of IPM (Interim Pastor Ministries) – www.interimpastors.com in April, 2018 to give us an outsider's observations. Bob Norris of IPM came and did a full assessment of the church to determine weaknesses and identify what we needed to work on to be a healthy church that could grow and be most effective in bringing glory to God. He has continued serving with us as we search for our next pastor. We are anticipating great things ahead with new pastoral leadership.
Missions have always been an important part of our church. We support 16 missionaries or mission agencies both at home and internationally. We support our local summer camps and their workers, as well.