Greenwich Baptist Church
Saturday, May 08, 2021
A Devotion to Christ...A Difference in the World


Starting out...

How does a church begin? In the case of Greenwich Baptist Church, it begins with a small group of believers who shared a heritage of steadfast commitment to the Gospel. They had a vision of the Lord’s will for His work in the Greenwich area. Despite what sometimes seemed like enormous odds, they were willing to give sacrificially of themselves to make the vision a reality. It begins with the first steps on a walk of faith.

A need for a local Baptist Fellowship...

For Southern Baptists transferred to the commuter communities of Greenwich and its surrounding towns in the early 1960’s, the religious culture shock was tremendous. There were no Southern Baptist churches in the area and the existing Protestant churches offered no Sunday morning Bible study for anyone other than school-age children, and these were discontinued completely during the summer months. Additionally, there were few other services or study opportunities during the week. The need for a more dynamic Christian witness in the area seemed imperative.

Founding a Baptist Mission...

With some prospecting (the first of much that would be done), two families grew to five, and began regular Sunday evening services in November of 1960. They first met in the home of the Boyer family, later at Eastern Junior High School, and early in 1960, at the Greenwich YMCA.

The fellowship was considered a mission of Manhattan Baptist Church. The group collected their offerings and tithes and mailed them to Manhattan Baptist each week. In return, Manhattan Baptist paid for speakers and the rental of meeting space.

Hurdles along the path... 

1961 and much of 1962 proved to be a period of trial for the fellowship and its vision. The members were encouraged by the number of guests God was bringing to their services, and eagerly decided to start Sunday morning Bible Study and worship services in addition to the evening services. Discouragement came, though, when in rapid succession, a number of attending families, including the Boyers, were transferred out of the area.

During the summer of 1962, attendance and morale had dwindled to such a low, that the group reverted to Sunday evening services only. While away on vacation, the Skelton family, returned to see the few remaining attendees had decided to dissolve entirely. But Jack and Beverly Skelton were not about to let this happen. They believed wholeheartedly that in trying to start a church in Greenwich, they were doing the Lord’s work, and they did not believe that the Lord had changed His mind. They insisted to the others that they all work harder and continue to pray for guidance.

Progress in growth and leadership...

In October, 1962, the Reverend Dr. Forrest Neal Pack, a retired Southern Baptist minister living in White Plains, New York, agreed to serve as interim pastor for the Greenwich mission. Under Dr. Pack’s leadership, the fellowship resumed Sunday Bible Study and Sunday morning worship services. Important steps toward spiritual as well as material progress were taken, including a vision of attaining a more permanent church home than the YMCA provided.

The group appealed to friends, relatives, and their former congregations for help. They became bolder in their visiting, asking each serious prospect how much he or she could financially pledge. For the most part, they were met, in return, with bold giving. This has continued to be characteristic of the membership and its friends throughout its forty-year history.

Independent Church status...

Manhattan Baptist officially granted Chapel status to the Greenwich fellowship in January, 1963, entitling its members to manage their own funds. Pressing on, the fellowship requested Church status in February. After preparation of a Constitution and By-laws, it was constituted as a fully autonomous church, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Metropolitan New York Baptist Convention on April 27, 1963, in services at the YMCA.

There were 32 members in all, with 36 enrolled in Sunday School. The annual budget was $15,000, of which a healthy 20% was designated to missions.

And so began a 50 year walk of faith...

Since that beginning Greenwich Baptist Church has added and renovated buildings and property at our current location, seen Pastors and church members come and go, and experienced exciting ‘highs’ and disappointing ‘lows.’ The constant has been a vision to reach this community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. GBC continues that today in the way church leadership is empowered, programs for young and old are implemented and the way the Holy Spirit works in and through the people of this church. The history of this church has been blessed by God and the future looks extremely bright.

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