In 1964, thirteen local families made the decision to establish a Bible-based church on the Eastside called Westminster Chapel. Pastor Wilbur Antisdale led the growing fellowship in its first location: a downtown Bellevue funeral home (which is a fun piece of trivia to share at parties!).
By 1969, an A-frame chapel and education building were completed at our more inviting current location, where the 500-member church began holding two worship services on Sundays. In response to steady growth, the congregation bought additional land in 1977 and began plans for a new worship center, office and classroom building.
The first service in the worship center sanctuary was held in 1980, and three years later “Pastor A,” as he was affectionately known, retired. Mark Neuenschwander was called as Westminster’s second senior pastor and the church continued to grow. Having established a dynamic global outreach focus, more and more ministries were launched to serve the spiritual, physical and relational needs of the congregation and surrounding region. Gary Gulbranson became the third Senior Pastor of Westminster in August 1993. He and wife Jorie diligently and lovingly nurtured our intergenerational and diverse congregation.
In 2004, the “Next Chapter” campaign was launched to provide the financial resources for an expansion project aimed at meeting the needs of our growing community and ministries. This included taking down the original chapel building, replacing it with a three-story structure that houses the Community Life Center (CLC), Counseling Center, NextGen Ministry space, offices, classrooms, and more.
In 2020, Gary and Jorie followed the call to relocate to Palm Desert, CA, and Ryan Falls was confirmed as Westminster’s fourth Senior Pastor. This was right the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic; Ryan’s first Sunday as senior pastor was also the first Sunday of COVID lockdown!
In the ensuing months and years, Ryan, his wife Liz, and their daughter Mim have continued to build into this community of faith, as together we rely on the power of Christ to transform lives.
Where does the name ‘Westminster Chapel’ come from?
Westminster is a reference to the Westminster Confession, written in 1647. This historic statement served to unify people from different backgrounds around a strong confession of faith. Westminster was founded on a similar vision of including people from a variety of spiritual heritages who held a strong statement of faith in common.
Today’s church building may not look like the traditional ‘chapel’ of the early years, but Westminster still holds onto roots established in showing generous hospitality, building warm community, and growing to listen and love like Jesus.