Uniting together, Caring for all, Seeking God

History of Bethel United Reformed Church

Bethel-OUTSIDE-ONLYThe origins of Bethel date back to the end of the eighteenth century when two farmers, John Harries and Benjamin Davies, built a Meeting House for worship in the village of Sketty. The language of worship was Welsh. The number of worshippers grew and, in time, there was the need for a bigger building with a cemetery. This led to the building of Bethel Welsh Congregational Church (Capel yr Annibynwyr) in Carnglas Road which opened in 1842. The chapel house was provided with stabling for three horses and steps conveniently placed to enable easy mounting and dismounting from the road outside – a feature sadly missed from future manses!

bethelbanner2The village of Sketty developed and the number of English speakers increased. So it was decided to establish an English daughter church that became Bethel English Congregational Church in a building on the present site at Sketty Green that was completed in 1884.

bethelbanner1The original building, apart from the hall – which still remains – was, in due course, knocked down for road widening and the present building opened in 1970. In 1972 Bethel became part of the United Reformed Church. In 1992 St Andrew’s URC in St Helen’s Road (which had previously united with Walter Road URC) closed and the congregation at Bethel was enhanced by receiving a number of its members.

Partly as a result of the growing relationship between the two churches and shared evening worship every Sunday at the Methodist Church over a number of years, in 2011 the members of Sketty Methodist Church moved to worship at Bethel while their building was being improved. This proved to be such a positive experience that after the years of working together and dreaming of a more long-term relationship it really did feel that we belonged together.

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