Church by the Side of the Road welcomes new wedding and baptism officiant


Pastor Robert Demos (center) took part in the Christmas Candlelight service at the Church by the Side of the Road. Singers and musicians Chip Messinger and Neala Jensen performed a variety of Christmas tunes,

The Church by the Side of the Road was opened in 1964 as part of the Wagon Wheel Resort and remains a popular wedding chapel today. It has held its beauty over time.

Owners Wayne and Andrea Bates recently welcomed a new wedding officiant, Pastor Robert Demos.

Demos was introduced at the 2022 Christmas candlelight service at the Church by the Side of the Road on Dec. 19, 2022. Demos shared words of inspiration to match the season before leading everyone in prayer.

The chapel is professionally staffed with ordained ministers, musicians, soloists, a church coordinator, and a wedding consultant.

“Being professionally staffed is ideal; we all know what we have to do, and when to do it,” co-owner Andrea Bates said.

“Musician and vocalist Neala Jensen who plays for all of the weddings, Pastor Rob, and I work really well together.”

Pastor Tom Kingery lovingly leads in all of the Sunday worship services.

“We have been blessed to have had only three pastors in the 27 years that Wayne and I have owned the church, “ Andrea Bates said.

Each of these pastors have performed the wedding ceremonies in this uniquely beautiful place that holds such a rich history.

In the past, two officiants who weren't pastors at the church have also presided over weddings.

Demos' interest in being a pastor started years ago. “ I've always known that I've had a calling on my life from an early age to become a pastor,” Demos said. “My interest came alive in me around 1995 to pursue my calling.”

Demos brings a wealth of experience to the altar. He served for over 20 years in youth and adult ministry in Rockford, Illinois at Metro Christian Center Church and at Faith Center.

Demos is graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 1981. He expanded his education by attending Oral Roberts University (ORU) in 1997.

The opportunity to serve at the Church by the Side of the Road happened in an unexpected way.

Demos explains, “I was at Lock's License & Title store speaking with Mrs. Locke and her daughter when a lady friend of Mrs. Locke came in.”

“While I was speaking with her daughter, I was drawn to this lady; I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to pray for her.... When she was done with Mrs. Locke, I asked her if she would mind if I prayed for her. She agreed.”

“She then asked if I was a pastor, and gave me the contact from the Church by the Side of the Road. I now serve as one of the wedding and baptism officiants.”

Demos is a lifelong resident of Beloit, Wisconsin. He and his wife will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this month. The Deimos have four adult children.

Demos' talents expand into graphic arts and music. In his spare time he is an avid golfer.

Demos has been involved in several volunteer ministries including music ministry, prison ministry, intercessory prayer, plus different community outreaches.

Pastor Demos reflects on his new position. “This is my first time as a wedding officiant, and I absolutely love it. I've recently done a funeral service as well. I believe I've done around a dozen weddings so far, with more to come in 2023.”

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