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History of the Bethel Chapel

Surrounded by huge, ancient oak trees sits a historic white chapel located on the serene campus of the Crystal River Community Church. This turn-of-the-century charming building was saved from demolition in 2003 and moved to its current location. The beautifully restored chapel is perfect for intimate weddings, baptisms, special services, and small funerals.

The church was built in the late 1880s to serve the African American families living in and around Crystal River; hence the title of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is surmised that Primos Ruben Roberts, a licensed preacher of the Bethel charge in Central Florida, preached from the pulpit of this church as a traveling clergy. By the early 2000s, however, all members of the original congregation had either passed away or moved to different areas or churches. In 2003, the property on which the church was built on NE 2nd Avenue was purchased and the adjoining parsonage was demolished. The effort to save this piece of local history involved the whole community.

Once finally placed under the oaks, the restoration committee began the four-year project to bring the building back to life. The original pews, pulpit, altar railing, floors, and chairs were lovingly restored. The unique curved altar railing is a beautiful work of art. These antiques add an aura of authenticity and stunning beauty to the sanctuary.

The Bethel Chapel is cared for by the Crystal River Community Church and is fully air-conditioned and heated.