The History of Bethanië Church Almere
The Bethanië church was formed in 1997 as “Bethanië group”. At that time the group consisted of 5 members, with Pr. Stennett Ross as the lay pastor. Family Bernabela opened the doors of their home, where the group came together. Continuing the development of the Bethanië group, pr. Ross was granted permission by the Netherlands Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to congregate on Sunday nights at 7:30, at Mr. H. van der Meer’s home. The meetings were moved one year after, from Sunday to Wednesday night, and were held at family Abroquah’s home.
On September 26th, 1998, the Netherlands Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists approved the Sabbath meetings to be held at Jacques Tatilaan, with a weekly attendance, including 17 adults and 5 children. The Sabbath service would start at 09:45 am with song service, followed by Sabbath School, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The divine service took place between 11:00 am and 12:45 pm.
The Sabbath School consisted of two children classes and two adult classes (one in Dutch and one in English). Twice a month, the second and last Saturday of the month, a potluck was held after service where all members shared a meal. Upon request, the second Sabbath afternoon of the month was saved for discussing and studying prophesies. Whenever needed, Br. Pedro Karg would lead an interactive discussion on a theme of interest.
During the first year of existence, 10 people were baptised, followed by another 6 the year after. The number of members rose to (approximately) 25. On March 4th, 1999 the group moved to the church building “The Triangle,” at Parkwijk Laan 5, in Almere.
During the General Assembly of the Netherlands Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on November 1st, 2000, registered under Decree No. 104, it was proposed for the Bethanië group of Almere to be granted the status of Church. On January 7th, 2001, the Bethanië 7th Day Adventist Church was officially established, consisting of 45 adults, 11 teenagers and 26 children in kindergarden.
At the business meeting held on Wednesday December 17th, 2014 the official name of the church was established:
“Bethanië Seventh-day Adventist Church, Almere”. This name was proposed by Mr. Marlyne Babel and has the following meaning: Bethany was a place of rest for Jesus, where He often met His friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Mary would sit at Jesus’ feet and embrace His teachings. Thus the Bethanië Church should be a place of rest where people can sit at Jesus’ feet, be transformed by His teachings and find peace which can only be found in Him.
Bethanië Church Today
As of September 2015, the Bethanië Church consists of 194 baptized members, of which a group has formed the Church Plant of Speranza in Lelystad, while another group has founded “SA-men”at Almere-stad West. The Church building at Parkwijk Laan 5 in Almere has been bought by the Netherlands Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on October 31st, 2014, and has been entrusted to the Bethanië Church. The church is characterized by a variety of cultures, languages and ethnicities. Services are held in Dutch and English, following the trans-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists’ model, fulfilling the need of the members of the Bethanië Church.