On September 15, 1951, Bethel Tabernacle was born. Elder Norman James Houslin a young man, spiritual and dedicated to kingdom building, was preaching in St. Andrew and St. Thomas and received the mandate to relocate to St. Ann where he was put in charge of a small work located at Pointe, which already had seven (7) members worshiping in a little building made mostly of zinc. As the church grew and the facilities at Pointe became outgrown, the Lord Jesus answered the prayers of the saints by providing a strategic piece of Real Estate at 29 James Avenue, for the erecting of a new building in 1958. The church triumphed through many toils, snares and weathered many storms so that Bethel Tabernacle is now established as a landmark in Ocho Rios. Many can attest to the commitment and dedication of the founding members of this indelible edifice. In June 2006, Pastor O’Garth McKoy, having assisted Bishop Houslin (whose health was deteriorating) for many years in the ministry, was installed to give leadership to Bethel Tabernacle by the United Pentecostal Church of Jamaica. Under the leadership of Bishop Houslin and Bishop McKoy, between the periods of its founding in September 1951 to this present day, we have witnessed a growth in membership from 7 members to over 650 resulting in the expansion of the church building in June 2000. Armed with the mandate ‘to win the lost at any cost’, the unabated work at Bethel Tabernacle has yielded up to seven daughter assemblies with five currently established and has produced a number of ministers, some of whom have gone on to oversee other assemblies. Undoubtedly, the reach of the ministry of Bethel Tabernacle has extended far beyond the national or regional purview.
On a quest for space for expansion as well as parking, as the present structure was now filled to capacity, the Lord Jesus Christ orchestrated the plan and the decision to acquire the adjoining lot was materialized. We are grateful for this achievement and do look forward under God to its enhancement. Having embraced The Mantra “Our Goal Is Souls”, under the leadership of Bishop McKoy, we seek to continue the work of the church by catering to the needs of the congregants and community members through the preached word and social outreach programmes. As the needs of the flock and the community become apparent, efforts are made to strengthen and add, where necessary, ministries in the church so persons can be better served. With God as our guide, we will continue unwavering and unrelenting in our mission, and being undaunted as Paul in the book of Acts, we aim to finish the course with joy, and the ministry, which we have received of the Lord Jesus, so as to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.