In 1964, thirteen local families made the decision to establish a Bible-based church called Westminster Chapel. Pastor Wilbur Antisdale led the growing fellowship in its very first location: a downtown Bellevue funeral home. By 1969, an A-frame chapel and education building were completed at our far-superior 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 of people.
In 2004, the “Next Chapter” campaign was launched to provide the financial resources to underwrite a capital expansion project that would allow us to meet 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 early 2020, Pastor Gary moved into the role of “Pastor Emeritus,” and Ryan Falls accepted the call to lead as Westminster’s fourth Senior Pastor. Ryan, his wife Liz, and their daughter Mim look forward to seeing where God will take us in the days ahead, as the power of Christ continues to transform lives.
Where did 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 those early years, but Westminster still holds onto roots established in showing generous hospitality, building warm community, and growing to love others like Jesus.