• Linda Frost

    Thanks for doing the great column and including the photo gallery of Bethel Congregational Church.

    I attended there in the 1960s, when it was a very active congregation. There was a wonderful youth group for high school kids, and we had great times. We met weekly, with lessons and activities upstairs and refreshments in the basement.

    One night I remember ringing the church bell. Several of us did it on a dare. We heard all about it for a long time afterward from people in the community. I am not certain, but it may have been mentioned in the Daily Report. No, we did not ask permission, and that made it much more exciting.

    I got married there in December 23, 1966. Rev. Gordon Blunt performed the ceremony. S. Earl Blakeslee was the organist. Mr. Blakeslee was an iconic music teacher and well known for his talent. He also played on Sundays. Once in a blue moon, he would miss a note, and in his typical fashion, he would belt it out and make those pipes rattle, even if it was the wrong note. He did not make many mistakes, but they resounded, echoing off the walls.

    Howard Eader made the cake. I remember him carrying it in to the reception room. It served 250 people, and it was not an easy task. In fact, the date had to be changed from the 26th to the 23rd of December, because Howard always took the day after Christmas off to rest from the holiday rush.

    Another minister I remember was Rev. Tom Walker, whom everyone adored. It was a large congregation and very active. The education building was added in the 60s, too. I taught Sunday School there when I was in college.

    I hope the congregation can grow and remain viable. It is a great part of Ontario and Ontario history.

    [Linda, thanks as always for the first-person history. Now we know the bell rang at least once in the ’60s! The statute of limitations must have run (rung?) out by now. — DA]

  • Bill Walk

    What ever happened to Pastor Tom Walker? I know he went on to teach English at Chaffey College. But then what? Best minister I ever had.