Our History

Our History

Westway Bethel

Amazing Race, Amazing Grace
This is our story. This means it is by no means complete and a long way from finished. If you have history add, anecdotes to tell, please email them to admin@wbbc.co.za

Westway Bethel celebrated it’s 50th Birthday in July 2010. We took a long and humurous look back at all we have done, all we have been through the last 50 years and realised that a wealth of experiences, love, laughter, friendships that have lasted lifetimes were part of that history. An amazing time of God working in and through Westway Bethel. We also realised that a lot of people would like to add their own photos and stories as we only had a small percentage of what is available out there. If you have something to add to this ongoing History Project, then email your experiences to admin@wbbc.co.za with the subject “Westway 50 Year History Project”

(Note: Many of the archives have been damaged or destroyed in flooding Of the church premises – so full history could not be compiled).

Prior to 1958 George Mellitchey had commenced an outreach and church-planting ministry in the newly developing suburb of Kabega Park, in Port Elizabeth’s then most Western Suburb, travelling by bus from his home in Adcockvale after work in the evenings. (If you want to understand what “Vision” is in a contemporary setting, start here!)

1958
George Mellitchey and Ray Daddy commence Sunday School in Ray Daddy’s garage, at 54 Van der Stel Street, Kabega Park.

1959
Westway Bethel Baptist Church is constituted.
New Church premises built and services commenced (current coffee shop & kitchen).
Foundation Stone laid by Rev Sydney Hudson-Reed.
Sunshine Circle for Primary School age children on Friday evening’s commenced.

1965
Pastor John Butcher commences temporary pastorate. John Butcher was not an accredited Baptist pastor,,and his temporary pastorate ended in 1966..

1966 to 1968
Rev Cyril Pass (nicknamed: ‘Prophecy Pass does itinerant pastoral duties with his focus on studies on Biblical prophecy and the pastoral epistles. A well-remembered feature of these were the many charts he had personally prepared, strung up at the front of the church. Our first introduction to 1 ½ to 2 hour sermon A dear old man – we loved him! He led many souls to the Lord in this period.

1968
Pastor Fritz Haus , his wife Lisa and daughters Liz and Cornie comes from Berea Baptist Church in East London, and commences his pastorate at Westway. An ex-German soldier with the Afrika Korps in North Africa. He was an absolutely wonderful and effective pastor, building a small church (+- 50 members) into a congregation of well over 150, at the same time overseeing the building of a new church complex seating 300.

1969
Our first Holiday Bible Club. Theme “Outer Space” with cardboard space capsule being paraded around the suburb. Holiday Bible Clubs had become a feature of Sunday School ministry during every September holiday since the early sixties.
Early beginnings of Church Hikes for the youth being led by Andy Anderson.

1972
New Church Building opened.

1974
Pastor Fritz Haus ends pastorate accepting a call to Kraaifontein Baptist Church in the Western Cape.

1975/1980
Pastor Anton Hoffman , His wife Chandos, and children Tania , Roger and Martin serve as our pastoral family.

1981
Pastor Erroll Mulder leaves Boksburg Baptist Church to commence a 24 year pastorate at Westway.

1982
Church Hikes continue under the leadership of George Ochse (a total of 1306 kilometres on 52 trails walked by 1996.

1992/1994
Small groups “House Churches” introduced.

1994
Starting Point of Cell Church Ministry at Westway as Pastor Erroll and George Ochse read “Where do we go from here” by Dr. Ralph Neighbour Jnr.
November 1994 Elders and Executive report to QGM on possibilities of cell ministry.

1995
Day seminar held by Rev Anton Hoffmann on the cell church concept.
At the AGM a report by the pastors and elders is presented on their vision for Westway Bethel to become a cell church. Westway Bethel approves acceptance for the church to transition to become a Cell Church . Membership stands at 219 members.
Pastor Erroll Mulder commences the pilot cell group in his home and next five years, sees the number of cells grow to 30 and church membership to 250.

2005
Pastor Erroll leaves the pastorate at Westway.

2006 – 2010
Pastor Theo McClachlan , and then Pastor Dave Reid serve as Interim Pastors.

2010
Revised constitution with a new structure re-focusing on Westway being a cell church is accepted by the church.
July – Church issues a call to Pastor Gary Hempel serving in Uzbhekistan, to serve as pastor at Westway.
30 July to 1 August, 2010 Westway celebrates the Year of Jubilee, 50 years of witness, by God’s grace..
3rd September 2010 Pastor Gary Hempel, together with his wife Liz and children Kieren and Michaela are welcomed into the Pastorate at Westway Bethel Community Church.

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