The story of Chapel Ridge began when Kanata Free Methodist Church was founded in 1984 by Tony Hedrick, an American evangelist and professional artist. The church began with two couples and as it grew over the next few years, the location moved from a couple of rented locations in Fringewood Village to a purchased converted bungalow at 79 Leacock Drive in Beaverbrook, north Kanata. In 1988, a ten acre site with parsonage was purchased at 5660 Flewellyn Road and 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 70 people in size. Under bi-vocational pastor Tony Hedrick, the church continued to grow and the 2500 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 helped to plant a church in Kingston (at the request of Rev. Ken Roth) and then worked with Jamie Robertson to start to grow a Sunday evening congregation in Almonte. During that time, we had over 100 people 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, a few members went to support the launch the Sunday morning services in Almonte (named Cornerstone Free Methodist) and Carleton Place (Lighthouse Free Methodist Church).
In 1995, Rev. Grant D’Eall arrived from Saskatchewan 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 Rev. 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 Rev. 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 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, and this transition happened in January 2017 – Pastor Luke became Lead Pastor and Pastor Ken became the part-time Associate Pastor. In preparation for Pastor Ken’s retirement the end of April 2018, Pastor Shawn Veitch joined Chapel Ridge as Associate Pastor in September 2017. Shawn comes with over 20 years of youth ministry in the city.
Chapel Ridge continues to expand and the construction on the new 300 seat sanctuary began in September 2017. It will be completed around May 2018, and then renovations will begin in the existing Phase I and II building.