From politics to the pulpit
Bahamians from all walks of life will gather in Eleuthera this weekend to celebrate the third pastoral anniversary of Pastor Philip Bethel, senior pastor at the People’s Restoration Baptist Church in Palmetto Point, Eleuthera.
A former member of parliament and Cabinet minister, Bethel and his wife, Hilda, became active members of Mount Moriah Baptist Church in New Providence in 1977. In 1992 they relocated to Eleuthera where they became active members of Revival Baptist Church in north Palmetto Point, Eleuthera. In 2002, Pastor Bethel along with Evangelist LeCarl Sands, Reverend Elvis Cooper and their families, followed God’s command to spread the Gospel. Very soon thereafter, they were joined by Rev. Charlotte Davis and her husband Deacon Benjamin Davis. Hence the fellowship of the People’s Restoration Baptist Church was born.
On Sunday June 10, 2007, Pastor Bethel was ordained to the sacred gospel ministry. A year-and-a-half later, November 9, 2008, he was installed as the senior pastor. The Lord continues to work in the life of Pastor Bethel and the lives of the members of The People’s Restoration Baptist Church.
He testifies that since that encounter with the Holy Spirit in 2002, God has done many miraculous things in his life, the church, his family, and otherwise. And he says, if it were not for the love and the grace of God, it could not have been possible.
Pastor Bethel was born in south Palmetto Point, Eleuthera on December 6, 1940. Nurtured by Christian parents, he received his education at the all-age public school. His father died when he was 15 years old. Circumstances caused him to leave the school system at that time, and find employment. It also resulted in his mother playing the role of both mother and father as she continued to lead a dedicated Christian life. This woman of God made all of her children including Pastor Bethel to understand the advantages and the importance of Christian living and family values.
Over the years, Pastor Bethel worked in the fields of construction, insurance, farming, and other business ventures. At the age of 17, he heeded an ultimate call upon his life, when he became a Christian in the fellowship of the Brethren, the Bible Truth Believers. He became very active in Sunday school as he loved to work with young people, and was very active in community affairs.
At the age of 20, he met and married Hilda Yvonne Carey of Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera. They are the proud parents of six children, Philip Herman, Nathaniel, Luke Francis, Gaius Cornelius (deceased), Deborah, Tryphena and Philip Michael Jr. He has two daughters-in-law Stacey and Takasa, one son-in-law Richard and several grandchildren.
Pastor Bethel was appointed a justice of the peace at age 30, and in 1972, was elected to the House of Assembly for Central Eleuthera. He served in that capacity as member of parliament for 25 consecutive years (1972-1997).