Bayside Chapel Roots and History
Our story begins in September of 2004 at St. Matthew’s By the Sea in Fenwick Island. It was suggested at an Administrative Council meeting that with the growth on Route 54, including a projected 3,000 new housing units, that a committee should be formed to explore how St. Matthews could serve the needs of the new people moving into this area, as well as reach out to the un-churched. Rev. Bruce Miller and the then District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Sandra Steiner Ball had informal discussions concerning the possibility of St. Matthews planting a new church.
In February 2005, The Rev. Dr. Sandra Steiner Ball addressed an open meeting at St. Matthews concerning the need for new churches in Sussex County.; 15 people volunteered to help realize this dream. That summer, intercessory prayer services were held every Thursday evening. The Task Force attended services at new churches and also interviewed the pastors. John Williams and Robbin Gray attended the New Church Start “Boot Camp” in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Following these events, the Task Force voted to go ahead with birthing a new church. They further recommended that the Cabinet initiate a new staff position at St. Matthews By-The-Sea for someone with lead responsibility for planning and launching a new church start.
At the Annual Peninsula-Delaware Conference held in June 2006, Bishop Marcus Matthews appointed The Rev. Rich Evans to fill that position. Rev. Evans and a small leadership team worked diligently to fulfill this task.
After much prayer, and strategic planning, Bayside Chapel was opened for public worship in September of 2008. The church quickly grew under Rev. Evans guidance to over 70 attendees.
In 2011, Rev. Evans was moved to another charge, and Bayside was blessed with Rev. Dr. Sandra Steiner-Ball as our church leader for a year.
2012 brought Bayside many new blessings, including the first wave of Members to Bayside Chapel. We also welcomed Rev. James Penuel III, as our third pastor. Rev. Penuel helped to grow Bayside to new heights, and in 2013 we celebrated our 5 year anniversary with faith, joy, and prayers for God’s continued blessings.
In 2016, Rev. Penuel’s journey with Bayside was at an end; he was appointed to a new charge, and Bayside Chapel grew as its own entity as we separated from St. Matthew’s by the Sea and became a United Methodist Missional Church.
We were blessed with our current pastor, Rev. Norm Poultney in November 2016. Rev. Poultney has been a champion for Bayside Chapel, and worked with the Peninsula-Delaware Conference and the District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Kyung Hee Sa, to help Bayside become a Chartered United Methodist Church. On Sunday, June 25, 2017, Bayside Chapel celebrated this momentous occasion in our church’s history.
As we continue on this journey of faith and love, Bayside strives to reach into our local community and truly be the hands and feet of Christ. We pray for God’s continued blessings on our church and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Bayside Chapel!