THE HISTORY OF FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH
On May 22, 1966, eighty-eight (88) persons met at Reese Floral Art, 49 Vienna Avenue,
with the possibility of starting a new church. Mr. Jack Hawout gave the message.
A business meeting was held after the service to start the organization process.
A committee was appointed to locate a meeting place. The Committee was Mr. Harry Reese, Mr. Buhel Link, and Mr. Wayne Knepp. Mr. Bernard Sullivan was appointed Church Clerk; Mr. Ivan Boggs, Treasurer; and Mrs. Vera Reese, Financial Secretary.
It was decided to hold Prayer Meeting on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:30 P.M.
One hundred five (105) attended the Evening Service on May 22, 1966.
The first Prayer Meeting was held on Tuesday, May 24, 1966, with fifty-six (56)
attending. Mr. Bernard Sullivan gave the message.
It was voted to rent the Christian Parish House for a limited time. Another hall may be available soon.
Suggested names for the church were submitted to be voted on at the Thursday Prayer Meeting.
Sunday School Superintendent, Mr. Deyo Borden, announced the First Annual Sunday School
Picnic would be Monday, May 26, 1966, at Stevens Park from 1:00-9:00 P.M.with a covered dish
supper at 5:30 P.M. Mr. Max Ross and Mr. Clair Hunt were appointed as greeters.
The Second Prayer Meeting was held May 26, 1966, attended by fifty-seven (57)
persons. A name for the church was voted on to be “FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH OF NILES,
OHIO”. A Missionary Fund was started with 10% of the offerings. There was an opportunity to
rent a hall at 112 S.Main Street in Niles, for $150.00 per month plus utilities. The members voted
to rent the building and start services there on Sunday, June 5, 1966. The hymn on page 241,
“To God Be The Glory” became the “theme” song and was sung at every service of the church.
On Memorial Day, May 30, 1966, over eighty (80) attended the first annual Sunday School Picnic
at Stevens Park from 1:00-9:00 P.M. with the covered dish supper at 5:30 P.M. There was
plenty of food with no expense to the Sunday School. The menu was: chicken, meat loaf,
pigs-in-the-blanket, scalloped potatoes, potato salad, casseroles, cakes, coffee, and kool aid.
Time was spent playing tennis, baseball, volleyball, and enjoying the fellowship. During the
summer of 1966, a Sunday School Picnic was held every month.
Ten days later – June 1, 1966 – Moving Day. Work started on Wednesday morning
to get the building on S. Main Street cleaned up and ready for services. Men, women, and
children worked every day until late hours using over 30 gallons of paint (4 coats of paint on
the ceiling alone). The theme song at this time became – “When the Rollers Are Called Up
Yonder”. By Saturday night, all cleaning and painting was done, curtains and blinds hung,
an 8’x 8′ platform was built and carpeted, and carpet laid in the nursery and entrance hall.
The organ, hymn books and Communion Service all arrived and ready for the service the
next morning, Sunday, June 5, 1966. All this was accomplished because as in Nehemiah,
“The people had a mind to work”.
The first service in our new location at 112 S. Main Street, was held June 5, 1966.
One hundred sixteen (116) attended Sunday School and one hundred twenty-three (123) for
the Morning Worship Service. Mr. Jack Hawout presented a message on “Calvary”, Mr.
Bernard Sullivan directed the choir singing “Its Just Like His Great Love”, page 372 in
the hymnal, accompanied by Miss Carol Patterson, organist. The first Communion Service was
The Board Meeting was held Monday, June 6, 1966, and the Treasurer reported
a balance of $1,044.25, plus the Mission Fund in the treasury. The sign with the church
name would be in place by June 8, 1966. The procedure for calling a pastor was decided.
Rev. Earl Umbaugh, the State Missionary, was contacted to meet with the board for the
A Missionary Committee was appointed:
Mrs. Dorthea Link – Treasurer
Mr. Deyo Borden
Mr. Harry Reese
Two members from the church.
A Budget Committee was also appointed:
Mr. Roscoe Flint
Mr. Oliver S. Martin
Mr. Buhel Link
Mr. Bernard Sullivan
The Board met on June 8, 1966, with Rev. Earl Umbaugh and work was started on the legal
procedures of organizing a church: Charter Membership; Formal Resolution: Covenant; Articles
of Faith; and Constitution. Rev. Umbaugh asked about our missionary program and the Board
could happily say we had a Missionary Program started. Rev.Umbaugh also helped supply names
of pastors available.
On June 24, 1966, the first wedding was held uniting Miss Carol Link and Mr. James Turner.
Many hours and much prayer was given, with the help from Rev. David Marstellar and
Rev. Virgil Wolford from the Cortland Trinity Baptist Church, as the legal forms were written.
The Church Covenant, Articles of Faith, and Constitution were ratified July 14, 1966.
The first Baptism was held on Sunday, July 31, 1966, at the Cortland Trinity Baptist Church.
Those baptized by Rev. John Martin were: Neal McClimans, Jr., Miss Sharon Flint, Mr. James L.
Bridgen, and Mrs. Elizabeth J. Bridgen.
The Charter was signed by one hundred seven (107) members on August 7, 1966.
The first Evangelist was Rev. Charles Boren of Winona Lake, Indiana, holding meetings
September 4-11, 1966.
Rev. Elton Hukill served as Interim Pastor from November 13, 1966 to
March 19, 1967. Our first Pastor, Rev. John Warren, started serving March 26, 1967.
On our first Anniversary Sunday, May 21, 1967, the Choir presented the Missionary Cantata,
“The Greatest Story Yet Untold”. One choir member always called it the “loooooong” song.
About this time, Mr. George Warrender approached the leaders of the church
about purchasing his property at 1437 Niles-Cortland, Niles, Ohio, to build a church. This
property with a house and 4+ acres was purchased April 12, 1967. Ground-Breaking Service was
held November 17, 1968, with one hundred thirty-five (135) attending. Rev. Elton Hukill was the
speaker for this service. Mrs. Mayme Trffert, our oldest member, turned the first shovelful of
dirt. Work was started to build the church designed by William Gunter Associates. A Building
Committee was formed with Mr. Oliver S. Martin as Chairman and Rev. Homer Lenhart as
About one month before the church was ready for use, Mr. Dick Griffiths was working on the
paneling in the nursery and died of a heart attack. All members worked together with many
hours and many sacrifices.
The first service in the church at 1401 Shaw Avenue, was held Sunday, November 9, 1969. Mr.
Jack Hawout gave a message “Remember Jesus”.
Miss Debby Flannery and Mr. Don Rader were the first couple to be married in this building on
November 15, 1969.
Rev. Elton Hukill was the speaker for the Dedication Service of the church held November 30,
In September of 1976, the carport, the room above, upstairs classrooms and the balcony were
finished. Rooms were needed because the Sunday School attendance was around 266 and over
300 for the Worship Service.
August 4, 1991, was the 25th Anniversary Service with many Charter Members and former
members attending. Rev. Harold Henniger of Canton Baptist Temple was the speaker. His
message was on “Foundation, Formation, Fellowship, Faith, Function, and Future of the Church”.
The last payment on the mortgage was made on September 15, 2003. The Cortland Bank gave us
the loan. The Mortgage Burning Service was during the Fireside Service in October 2003. To
God Be The Glory.
During the 49 years of Faith Baptist Church, six (6) pastors have served here:
Rev. John Warren – March 26, 1967
Rev. Edgar Wallace – February 1, 1970
Rev. Clyde Albertson – April 4, 1971
Rev. James Yates – July 14, 1974
Rev. John Preusser – September 1985
Rev. Lenny Towle – 2014
Miss Betty McKeehan and Mr. Robert Kilko and wife, Jane were two of our first missionaries.
We still support the Kilkos but Betty McKeehan passed away.
Many Evangelists and Missionaries have had services here:
Rev. John Martin Rev. Fred Hussey
Rev. Charles Boren Rev. Lonnie Temples
Rev. Hugh Horner Dr. Arthur Williams
Dr. Allen Lewis – President of Baptist Mid-Missions
Dr. James Jeremiah – President of Cedarville College
Dr. Theodore Epp – Back to the Bible Broadcast
On September 29, 1996, Mr. Stan Mink was ordained here. He is now pastor of the Bazetta
Baptist Church in Warren, Ohio.
Of the one hundred seven (107) members who signed the Charter, six (6)
still attend Faith Baptist Church regularly and forty-six (46) have passed away. From the
membership, nine (9) have gone into the ministry, two (2) are missionaries, and two (2) are
Much has been accomplished through this church in forty-four (44) years but there is still work
to do for the Lord. May we continue to be a praying church and Missionary minded as this
church was founded and we can continue to say “To God Be The Glory”. Great things HE
has done and greater things HE will do.
Mrs. Elizabeth J. Bridgen
March 7, 2010