The origin of Bethel United Church dates back to the confederation of Canada in 1867 when the Presbytery of Perth of the Church of Scotland organized the congregations of Lombardy and Oliver's Ferry (now called Rideau Ferry). In 1868 it was decided to build a church at Oliver's Ferry. The congregation had been meeting in the schoolhouse and for special services in the Methodist church. A plot of land was donated and St. Mary's Presbyterian Church was built.
In 1866 a call was extended to the Rev. Neil Campbell to be the first full time resident minister. At that time 75 members were recorded on the roll of St. Mary's. A church manse was built on the adjoining lot, which was purchased from William McCue for the sum of $30. In 1894 additional land was secured from William McLean and the present church was built. The new church was named Bethel Presbyterian Church and was opened on July 21st, 1895. In 1927, after the formation of the United Church of Canada the congregations of Bethel Presbyterian and Elm Grove Methodist were amalgamated with Lombardy Methodist and St. Andrew's Presbyterian at Port Elmsley to form the Elmsley Lombardy Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada.
Today, Bethel is a community of over 150 members , active adherents and supporters from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. Sunday School class is available for families with children. The church choir under the shared leadership of music directors Carol Husband and Ruth Anne Johnson leads us in music, both traditional and contemporary. The United Church Women (UCW) raise funds for many local, national and international organizations, support church projects, provide meals such as a pancake breakfast annually, Christmas dinner for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and once each month have soup and sandwiches after the Sunday service. The golf group meets twice a month from May until September at a local golf course.
The minister's office is located in the manse next to Bethel United Church..(Drawing by G. Thomas)