The story of Chapel Ridge began when Kanata Free Methodist Church was founded in 1984 by Tony Hedrick, an American evangelist and commercial artist. The church began with two couples and as it grew over the next few years, the location moved from Fringewood Village to 79 Leacock Drive in Beaverbrook, North Kanata. In 1989 our current location was purchased, a ten acre site with parsonage at 5660 Flewellyn Road. A 3200 square foot Phase I was constructed with 2000 hours of volunteer labour. With the change in location from Kanata to Stittsville, the name was changed to Chapel Ridge Free Methodist (in recognition of the ridge on Flewellyn Road). We were a congregation of about 80 people in size. Under bi-vocational pastor Tony Hedrick, the church continued to grow and the 2150 square foot Phase II was built in 1993. In early 1995 we were already about 195 people.
Tony continued to work as an evangelist and planted a church in Kingston (under Ken Roth) while Jamie Robertson started a Sunday evening congregation in Almonte. By that time, close to 100 people had been baptized as new believers, and the congregation was planning for a Phase III expansion. However, it was time to Pastor Tony to continue his call and he announced that he was leaving to do church planting in British Columbia. At the same time, about 60 members went to support the launch of Sunday morning services in Almonte (named Cornerstone Free Methodist) and to Carleton Place (Lighthouse Free Methodist Church).
In 1995, Grant D’Eall arrived from Saskatchewan to lead Chapel Ridge with his young family and his horse, making full use of the parsonage and barn next door. Grant left in 1997 to become the lead pastor of a large Free Methodist Church in Bowmanville, and was replaced by Dale Shillington from Alaska. He delighted us with many stories of moose, salmon fishing, dog sledding and bee hives. Dale accepted a call to return to Alaska in 2002 and Ken Roth, a close friend of Tony Hedrick, arrived after 17 years leading the ministry at Polson Park in Kingston. He has made his imprint on the city and on the congregation. He had previously spearheaded a movement to unify the churches in Kingston and then in Ottawa he was the volunteer Chair of Mission O (became Love Ottawa). At Chapel Ridge, he used his pastoring and encouragement gifts to transform us into a loving community and helped us to identify our unique place in the city by introducing a new mission statement.
In 2013, Pastor Luke Haggett arrived from Smiths Falls Free Methodist, and took on the role of Associate Pastor. At his own initiative, Pastor Ken groomed Pastor Luke to eventually take over as Lead Pastor, in January 2017 – Pastor Luke then became Lead Pastor and Pastor Ken became the part-time Associate Pastor. In April of 2018, Pastor Ken fully retired from staff at Chapel Ridge. Pastor Ken moved into a Pastor Emeritus role, and continues to serve in varying ministries as a volunteer. Chapel Ridge continues to expand and in October of 2018 we opened our new 300 seat sanctuary.
This fall two new staff members were added. Jessica Martin is now our Director of Youth and Young Adults. Sarah Grover is now our Director of Children’s Ministry. We are so excited to have them on staff, each brings an incredible amount of skill and enthusiasm to their work.