If you have ever had the privilege of being in a Bible study with Norma Greene, you have probably also had the opportunity to hear some of her stories about the early days of Cape Bible Chapel and the years that led up to its planting. People have pestered Norma over the years to write down some of those stories. She has been steadfast in her refusals. Norma says husband Hal was the writer in the family and it had been his intention to write up the Chapel’s history after he retired. Hal passed away in 2005 at the age of 79 having never quite gotten around to retiring. But in a moment of weakness….well, maybe not weakness because Norma prays about everything…so, maybe in an effort to quiet the persistent naggers, she wrote down the condensed version of the Chapel’s beginning.
CapeBible Chapel History, the Beginning –
By: Norma Greene
In January 1965 the Greene family arrived in Cape Girardeau. Our family of five consisted of my Hal, me and our three sons: Jack, Dan and Little Hal. Little Hal’s name was later changed to Norm by his older brothers. God had brought us here to plant a New Testament local church. We had been informed it would be difficult for an Irishman in a German/Dutch area. (Hal was born in County Westmeath, Southern Ireland.) But God…He does the impossible. That is proven by the fact He could use this family.
We had been in Nashville for fourteen years, and God had used us to help plant a local church there. When you follow His leadings, watch out for His blessings. They are amazing. Church planting is not easy and one could become discouraged easily. Hal and I stood on the verses given us in guidance and God brought the increase.
There were several families who prayed and assisted greatly in the start of Cape Bible Chapel. God will reward them for their faithfulness to be a witness for Him. Hal was close friends with George Nelson, an elder at Emmaus Bible Chapel in St. Louis. The St. Clairs (Steve and Dottie, Chapel supported missionaries with Christian Missions in Many Lands-Philippines) and Carolyn Helderman came from that church. Steve and Carolyn were with us when they were students at SEMO.
Emmaus Bible Chapel let us use their building plans when we built at the corner of CapeRock and Lombardo. (Bennett Family Dentistry now occupies that building. A pew still sits in the waiting room.) We changed some things in the Emmaus plans but were pleased we did not have the expense of getting plans drawn up. We moved into that location in 1969. That was a happy day.
That’s all from Norma…for the time being. Perhaps she will share a few more memories on another day and tell how she saw God at work as the Chapel family grew and moved to its current location on Kage Road.