The Danbury-Bethel Seventh-day Adventist Church, as we know it today, began as the Danbury Branch Sabbath School, in a rented room of the local Masonic Temple in 1943. The four families and a few others that made up the original number of our membership were rewarded for their faithfulness in 1946 when they became known as the Danbury Company of Seventh-day Adventists.
The Masonic Temple continued to be our home until the fall of 1948, at which time we found refuge in the Mill Plain Chapel in Danbury. During this time we rejoiced with each new member that was added to our number, while at the same time longing for a permanent church home. This dream was fulfilled in 1952, when we moved to the Elmwood Chapel, on the corner of Old Hawleyville and Dodgington Roads in Bethel. Our numbers continued to grow and on May 3, 1958, the Danbury Company of Seventh-day Adventists was officially organized as a church and became the Danbury-Bethel Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Elmwood Chapel would continue as our church home for the next 46 years. During that time with a gift from the Southern New England Conference of $4,515.68 and additional donations from church members, over the period of about five years, an addition and some renovations were made to the building. With only volunteer labor and a grand total of $13,148.77, all the work was done and all the bills were paid.
It was under the leadership of Pastor Arthur Schumacher (1977-1988), that the need was seen for a new church building and a church building fund was start. By the early 1990s it became clear that our numbers had out grown our little chapel so we began to aggressively look for a building to purchase, or land on which to build. In May 1994, wth bitter-sweet feelings, we sold our quaint New England Chapel for $125,000. Added that sum to the $150,000 we had in savings, then purchased property and on March 17, 1996 broke ground on the 4.2 acre site of our current church home.
It was back to renting meeting space for nearly a year as we were building but finally in February 1997 we had finished enough of phase one of the building for the town of Bethel to allow us to move in. With great rejoicing, we held our first service here on February 8, 1997, with plywood floors and folding chairs. It would take us more than 15 years to complete phase two but at last in 2010 we were given access to the basement with its kitchen, fellowship hall and classrooms.
While there has been a great deal of changing over the years, the most important things have always stayed true for us. We have always been a warm and loving church family and we have always dreamed for our ministry in the kingdom of God to grow. These things are still a part of us today. You won’t find a more welcoming church. And as for dreaming…we have not let go of one of the dreams that led us to where we are, just outside of the village of Bethel. We dream of a church school in which we can give our children the best education we can offer; first rate scholastics packaged with Bible instruction to prepare for service in God’s church here and a home in heaven when Jesus returns.
We hold a debt of gratitude for all the faithful church members that sacrificed and worked to make a place for us to worship. And we pray that God will find us just as faithful in our willingness to serve as they have been.