HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH

 

West Portland Baptist church was “born” on March 12, 1842. Originally the church was a branch of the First Baptist Church of Portland, at the Salem Cross Roads now Brocton, New York. The church met in the stone school house. The reason for the separation from the First Baptist Church was the great difficulty in travel. The roads were mere paths and at times impassible. On May 22, 1842 it was requested that the mother church relinquish her claims on the members and West Portland Baptist Church was an independent church.

 

The first pastorate was shared by Elder Charles Lahatt and Elder Jonathan Wilson. It was voted on September 12, 1842 to build a church building at a cost of no more than $1000.00. At this time the rectangular portion of the brick church was built. Over the next several years church attendance was quite sporadic and in the late 1870 there were very few worshipers.

 

By 1878 the church membership had so declined that on February 2, at the request of the members of West Portland Baptist Church it became a branch of the First Baptist Church of Westfield. The church remained a branch of the Westfield church until the members requested to be released on March 13, 1880. West Portland Baptist Church was once again independent.

 

On January 1, 1881 Reverend Alfred Knight became pastor of the West Portland church, and under his ministry the church experienced great growth. It was under Rev. Knight’s pastorate that the vestibule, prayer room, bell tower and steeple were added to the brick church. This work was completed in 1890.

Under Rev. Knight’s ministry there were many evangelistic meetings held and church was well attended.

 

Rev. Knight retired in 1903 and again the church experienced many years of varied attendance, until 1935 when Rev. Edwin Dennison was called to pastor the church. Under Rev. Dennison’s pastorate the church experienced another period of growth.

 

Rev. Dennison retired in 1956 and again the church began to decline. In 1970 Rev Gary Henry became the pastor of West Portland Baptist Church with only a hand full of worshipers. Under his pastorate the church experienced tremendous growth. It was under Pastor Henry’s leadership that the church membership began to out grow the building and the basement was added to the brick church along with the Sunday school rooms. Then when the congregation out grew the sanctuary the new worship center was built as well as the fellowship hall.

 

Pastor Henry retired in January of 2010, though we are still blessed to have him and his family worship among us. In September of 2008, Ryan Grafton was called to serve as an Associate Pastor at WPBC.  The church ordained Pastor Grafton to the work of the ministry in November of 2009.  On January 1, 2010, Pastor Grafton assumed the full responsibilities and duties of the pastorate and continued to minister through June 30, 2012.  

 

In January of 2013, Pastor Charlie Robertson was called to serve as Pastor at WPBC.  Pastor Charlie along with his wife Nancy enjoy and are blessed to serve the people of West Portland Baptist Church and our surrounding communities.