Faith Baptist Church
Faith Baptist Church exists to bring glory to God and to show the love of Christ to those in our community and all around the world.
On Tuesday, October 27, 1959, a small group of Christians met at the home of Bea and Bonny Simmons on Narrows Road in Perry for weekly Bible study. As time went by, the group decided they wanted a local church that preached solid Bible doctrine and was close to home. During one of their meetings together, they discussed starting their own church. They met several times after that to discuss the idea and pray about the decision.
On December 13, 1959, a meeting was held at the home of Kenneth Free and the decision was made to organize a local church, and the name “Faith Baptist Church” was chosen. They began the process of looking for possible meeting locations. A week later, on December 20th, a regular worship service was held at the Free’s home, and a sermon was given by Pastor Victor Stouffer from Sherman, New York. A Church Charter was formed at that service and church officers and deacons were elected.
A Season of
The first public church service was held on December 27th, 1959 in the Perry Community Center. Thirty-nine people were present at that first service. A year from that date, 134 people were present and the church was growing out of the community center. Arrangements were made to meet in the old Perry High School building on Main Street and for the next several months, the services were held in the music room and Sunday School classes were held in other rooms of the school building.
The next thing they focused on was calling a full-time pastor. On March 13, 1960, Wayne J. Shellenberger visited Faith Baptist Church and shortly thereafter received and accepted a call to become its first pastor. The church joined the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches on March 26, and the following day on March 27th, the church charter was finished and signed with a total of 25 members.
On June 30th, 1960, the church made a down payment on three acres of land that was bought from Mr. A. Cain on Narrows Road. Construction of the church building began shortly after, and the church was finished by the summer of 1961 with a dedication service being held on June 11 that year. A church parsonage was built in 1962 for the pastor and his family. Throughout the 1960s and beyond, the church was very involved in outreach efforts through Pioneer Girls, Boys Brigade, a large bus ministry, and a radio ministry that aired on Sunday mornings each week. They had revival services and guest speakers. One of them, Max Palmer, also known as “Goliath for Christ”, was a former wrestler who became an evangelist and preached the gospel around the country. He was over 8 feet tall!
The church was growing and plans for a new, larger auditorium were drawn up in 1970 to accommodate the growth. There was a dedication ceremony for the new addition of an 800-seat auditorium in October of 1973. The church has seen many people come to Christ and grow in their faith through the ministry of different pastors over the years.
Early on Sunday morning, November 10, 1996, after the area got a record amount of snowfall, the roof over the sanctuary in the newer section of the building started buckling and finally collapsed that evening under the weight of the heavy snow. It was a very difficult and trying time, but the Lord was working and the church moved forward with anticipation to see what God would do! The church was able to meet once again at the old high school on Main Street while the new sanctuary was being constructed. After 14 months of waiting for the reconstruction of the church building, the FBC family had a dedication service of the new auditorium and church facility on February 22, 1998.
Rebuilding through Bible Teaching
The work of the church has continued through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, ladies’ and men’s ministries, children’s ministries, Good News Club at the Perry Elementary School, and many outreach events. For over 60 years, Faith Baptist Church has brought the good news of Jesus Christ to the Perry community and to many countries around the world through the missionaries that have been supported. The Lord has always been faithful and provided for the needs of the church!
Throughout all the changes that Faith Baptist has experienced, one thing has remained the same – the determination to preach the gospel of Christ and to stay true to the Word of God, the Bible. While we love our building and all the history that is there, we realize that the church is not the building – it’s the people. Our church is a family of believers who worship and serve the Lord together and we want everyone we meet to know that they are loved and welcome into the family of God.