2019 is Bethesda’s 225th Anniversary!
Following the end of WWII, in the early 1950’s, Bethesda saw an influx of Lutherans from Europe. In fact Bethesda supported several German speaking immigrant families who came to the Markham/Unionville community. Membership was on the rise and Bethesda was encouraged by the Eastern Synod in the 1960’s to consider relocating the church building to a site that had greater public visibility. Two possible sites were considered at the time: on the north side of Carleton Road, just east of what is now William Berczy Public School and on the south side of Highway 7 at what is now Oakcrest Avenue.
The congregation was not prepared to leave its historic site Union Street but did decide to enlarge the space. An unused Real Estate office building from Markham was moved to the site and became known as “The Brown House”. It provided three rooms that were used for the expanding Sunday Church School. The centre room became the meeting room for church council and committee meetings. Just before this move flush toilets were built into a small basement entranceway at the south west corner of the church basement. Bethesda was going modern but was not interested in building a large new prominent church building.
These facilities served the congregation until plans were developed to expand the existing church to the facilities we presently use. Construction began in 1990 and was concluded in 1993 at a cost of just over $600,000.