Moving In - 1974
On the first day of services, the whole congregation proceeded from the old church to the new one, lead by Pastor Eric Dando.
Some current members can still recall those early days when the church grew considerably and was the centre for many activities, with over 200 children attending Sunday School, coming to Bethel using specially-hired buses from all over Newport. Over 100 came to youth meetings and special activities for men, women and older people were very popular. Christmas was a special time, with the church packed out for services, parties and carol singing.
Although delighted with their new premises, considerable difficulties had to be faced to make the building suitable for Bethel’s purposes.
Over the years a worship area has been created at the main ground floor area by partitioning off the gallery. As part of this work the whole front of the church has been remodelled with the pulpit and organ being removed.
We were quite apprehensive moving to the new building, but also excited at all the new possibilities...
- George & Carol O’Neil
Dave & I were one of the first couples to be married in new Bethel. New beginnings for us and for the church.
- Lynnette Burton
Although the gallery area is not currently used, access is still available and it is possible to gain an appreciation of what the interior of the church must have looked like when it was first built as the original ceiling, pews, gallery rail and front decoration are all visible.
The lower floor schoolrooms became derelict, but in 2005 were completely refurbished to provide offices and accommodation for the Junior Church. This area is also used for some of the church’s community-based work.
As for the Methodists, the maintenance of the building has proved to be a challenge for Bethel. Over the years considerable deterioration has taken place, particularly to the Bath stonework and some of the timberwork.