We have been in the community for almost 90 years and have a long history from our humble beginnnings on the outskirts of Sydney to the development of our current buildings and activity within the community God has indeed been faithful.
The Wentworthville Baptist Church began in 1924. The initial impetus and major encouragement to start the work came from the Petersham Baptist Mens' Society.
On the 7th of July that year the first recorded business meeting was held in `Dawlish', Boronia Street, the home of Mrs Ley. Mr Perriton, a local builder, chaired that meeting. On Sunday the 19th April, 1925, the church was officially constituted as a member of the Baptist Union of NSW. Saturday the 2nd May, 1925, saw the opening of the first church building; `Boronia Hall'. It was built on the spot where the Boronia Street car park entrance now is and cost £120 ($240).
It stood until the late 1970s and a painting of it hangs in the main foyer of the present worship centre (the painting was executed and donated by Mr Eric Milgate, now deceased, a long standing member and artist of some local note). The land was initially loaned by Mrs Periton and the church subsequently purchased it from her for £146 ($292).
In 1925/26 the surrounding countryside was just that - countryside. Where a fully developed residential kerb-and-guttered suburb now meets the eye, people who came to Sunday School and Church in those early days passed between dairy and poultry farms. The railway had been put through Wentworthville during the late 1800s but at the church's opening steam trains still ruled the rails and were to do so until the 1960s. The Great Western Highway was at that stage still a two lane carriageway, though by then there were quite a few motor cars starting to be seen. The town of Wentworthville itself was well established by the mid 1920s. and get in
The opening ceremony in 1925 was conducted by Mr H.J. Morton, President of the Baptist Union of NSW. The occasional address was delivered by Mr George Ardill, an early church member whose name lives today in the Headquarters of ‘Integricare’ (formerly the Sydney Rescue Work Society then changed to ‘Communicare’ before the present name) - `Ardill House' in Burwood, and also in one of its activities - the North Parramatta Long Day Care Pre-School `Ardill Centre', for George Ardill was the founder of the Sydney Rescue Work Society; he was also an active encourager of Baptist lay-preachers and fostered a team of such men to provide pulpit supply where needed.
In 1951 a Manse was erected and it still stands today. In 1955 a weatherboard hall was built, standing roughly where the main hall complex now stands. In 1966 the present main worship centre was built, then the present large halls/auditorium complex was opened in 1979 (the earlier weatherboard hall being demolished to make way for it). In 1984 the present main foyer/fellowship area, Pastor's and church offices were added between the worship centre and halls.
Ministers during the church's life have included laymen, student pastors and ordained ministers. Initially the Petersham Baptist Mens' Society and local laymen conducted services, then, the first appointed Pastor was Mr Leonard Smith, a layman arranged by what was then known as the Baptist Union Home Mission (the modern Ministries Support Department is its direct successor). Mr Smith served from March to October 1926. Interestingly, for a short time before he died in 1991, Mr Smith was again a member of the church, having retired in the Parramatta district.
The First Church Secretary was Mr Gawthrop, the first Treasurer Mr Ley and the first Sunday School Superintendant Mrs Farmer. The following pastors took the pulpit in the order shown between 1936-41: Bert Whale (now deceased), Emmanuel Argerakis (now deceased), Jessie Godwin (now deceased) and Edward Archer. All of these were student pastors. Rev. Archer’s name is still carried on the Retired List of ordained ministers of the Baptist Union of NSW. Rev. A.C. Donaldson occupied the pulpit (mid 1940s); his daughter Velma is the wife of the former General Secretary of the Union, Rev. I. Bruce Thornton, OAM. He was followed by Murray Sinfield, Bede Thomas, John O'Keefe, Alan Wheat, Bruce Hinds, Richard MacLaughlin, George Tanner and Gilbert McArthur. None of these are now shown in the Ministers List, having passed on from this life).
In more recent times we have been blessed with long serving Ministers such as Rev. Murray Davis and Rev. Phil Grebert, leading us to our current Pastor Rick Mumford.
We are a group of people who follow Jesus. We are a member of the NSW & ACT Baptist Churches and have a proud history of service in the Wentworthille area. While we are proud of our history we also want to be relevant to people today as we share our faith.
We seek to serve our Lord and our community in any way we can.