May 6th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 18
A crazy tragic true love story at the chapel
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Belle and Kris Peterson were married during a small afternoon ceremony at the Wayside Chapel in Bellevue on Tuesday, April 28. The couple fully restored the church for their wedding day and plan to move to the Pass to raise a family.
Pass Herald Reporter
After the recent loss of her adopted family, a 19-year old bride expecting triplets wed the love of her life last week at the little Wayside Chapel off Highway 3 in Bellevue but not before her 37-year old husband restored the church with a little help from local volunteers.
On Monday, April 20, with a week to spare before their big day, Lethbridge couple Belle and Kris Peterson set up camp in the Crowsnest Pass Campground, gathered building supplies and got to work.
“When I first saw this place, I thought they were crazy,” said Kris’ mother Wendy.
Covered in graffiti and peeling paint, littered with trash, windows smashed and pews broken, the Wayside Chapel, also called the Back to God Chapel, had been truly left by the wayside.
The pulpit was a loss and took up valuable space in the tiny church but the Petersons replaced the broken windows, put in a new carpet, repaired the pews, replaced a crucifix and repainted the walls and the church bell, originally donated by Canadian Pacific Railway.
“It’s a lot more meaningful to come here and get married in a church that you helped restore,” said Kris. “We’ve actually chose the colours to match her wedding dress."
An independent contractor, Kris is the owner and operator of Kris’ Projects Inc. He took time off work to get the job done.
The Christian Reformed Church in Granum, which owns the Wayside Chapel, donated building supplies.
“With all this going on we almost forgOt to get a marriage licence and get a commissioner because the minister backed out,” said Kris.
According to Galt Museum archives, the Wayside Chapel was built by the Dutch Reformed Church in Passburg and dedicated in 1969. The tiny church can fit about 14 people. It was moved to its current location in the 1980s.
Inspired by their generous act, several volunteers showed up to lend the bride and groom a hand including Derwin Bonney of Bellevue.
“It’s a neat thing to do,” said Bonney. “I’m retired, I’ve got the time so I came down and offered my services. Kris and Belle are great people and it’s been fun.”
By Tuesday, April 28 the restoration was complete and the bride’s blue and white wedding dress did indeed match the chapel’s new coat of paint. Marriage commissioner Jenine Trotz performed the ceremony and about 1o people packed into the tiny church.
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“Every wedding is unique,” said Trotz. “But they all take a lot of planning, never mind fixing the church before you get married in it.”
“I think it’s marvelous.”
The Petersons said they would like to someday move to the Pass to raise their family; Belle’s triplets are all boys. Until then Kris said he plans on making regular trips to Bellevue to check up on the chapel.
“We really like it out here,” said Kris. “It’s a better place to raise a family than in Lethbridge.”
The couple had a small reception at The Cast Iron Grill in Pincher Creek before heading off for a honeymoon in Banff.
“We could have had a big wedding and stuff like that but I don’t think it would have been fair to have a whole bunch of my family show up and have no one on her side so we decided to get married here and make it quiet,” said Kris.
“I have no family myself and we’re trying to keep it small and cost efficient as well,” said Belle.
The 28th is Belle’s lucky day, which is why she chose to get married on it. It’s also the day her mother got married and when she met her best friend and adoptive family.
“In my family we are very superstitious about the weirdest little things,” said Belle. “My mom ended up getting married on the 28th and she’s passed away – she was married a few times – but that was the only marriage where she actually fell in love and she stayed in that marriage for the rest of her life.”
Though Belle’s about to start her own family, her adoptive family, which was composed of Belle’s best friend and her friend’s sisters and mother have all of recently passed away.
“He’s held me together quiet well,” said Belle of her husband.
“It’s a kind of a crazy tragic true love story,” added Kris.
May 6th ~ Vol. 85 No. 18
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