Development of Bethel Tabernacle: A historical perspective
The metamorphosis of Bethel Tabernacle or “Christ is the Answer” Church, as it is commonly called, began in the summer off August 1968. Castries then, as I recollect, was a quiet town. Television had not penetrated the homes and Clarke and Gaiety Cinemas were the major evening entertainment houses. With little to do and much time to spare, it was not difficult for many persons to accede to the invitation to attend the (Christ is the Answer Crusade at the Victoria Park. The people came in large numbers to listen to the Word of God.
It all began when rev. Jack Keyes of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, a missionary to St. Vincent, on the last year of his four year assignment, decided to pioneer a Pentecostal work in St. Lucia. Rev. Holms Williams was invited to conduct an open-air crusade in Castries. Prior to the arrival of Rev. Williams, Pastor Keyes had contacted Brother and Sister Welch to initiate plans for the proposed crusade.
The “Youth With A Mission” (YWAM) team arrived about two weeks before the crusade began teaming up with Brother and Sister Welch. The team members canvassed the entire Castries area, distributing tracks, witnessing and inviting people to the crusade. “In those days it was not easy breaking through barriers as the established church really had a hold on people,” recalled Brother Wayne Webster.
The weather was fine. The black sky lit by celestial bodies assured us that the clouds would not precipitate. St. Lucians came by the hundreds to Victoria Park to learn God’s Word. It was estimated that the mean attendance was 2,000 per night.
Pastor Holms Williams preached under the anointing and night after night, many people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior.
The Crusade took a significant turn. “That night the crowd went wild” as they experienced the Power of God. That night, God stopped the rain. As an innocent spectator, I recalled (and many can attest), whilst, Pastor Holms was preaching it began raining. Pastor Holms temporarily stopped preaching and prayed, asking God to stop the rain. It stopped immediately and only God could have done it. Yes, it was a miracle.
And so, the crowd increased night after night. It did rain the following night, but the man of God preached in the rain. Many expected that he would pray to cause the rain to cease, but he did not. The Word of God went forth forcefully touching many lives. Many persons, who began a new life with Christ, openly discarded their packets of cigarettes on the field.
The crusade ended but gave birth to the miracle church, “Christ is the Answer.”
The Sunday after the crusade approximately 200-250 people were present at the pavilion for the church service. This venue was used for sometime, but as the congregation increased, another location was found, in a building where the Streams of Power Church is presently located.
The believers did not have much time to settle at the second venue and moved to the old Charmichael School building. But this was temporary.
In March of 1969, Bethel Tabernacle was dedicated to the honor the Glory of God. From Sans Souci, the message “Christ is the Answer” reached a national radio audience through the programme The Voice of Bethel. This message has brought many to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and in a significant way enlightened a nation that was in darkness, to see the light- Jesus Christ. It has influenced the development of the evangelical movement in St. Lucia by merely preaching that Jesus Christ is the Answer.
From Sans Souci, devout men and women of God (like Remy Smith, Jacob Pascal and Euphrates Alexander to name a few) obeyed the great commission and traveled the length and breadth of St. Lucia preaching the Word of God. To date, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (St. Lucia District) has established fourteen churches with a population of over 3,000 followers.
Rev. Wayne Webster, the leader of the Youth Team who assisted in the crusade and later would pastor Bethel tabernacle, said, that god had impressed upon him to read Acts 18:9-10 at a pre- crusade group meeting. He said that God had truly kept to his words that “I have much people in this city.”
Bethel Tabernacle was birthed in prayer and hard work. To those pioneers who labored in the vineyard of god, we salute you in the name of Jesus Christ and praise God for His grace, mercies, love and faithfulness for truly.