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Walkerville Baptist Church

It may not the grandest church in Olde Walkerville, nor the oldest but it does share a common denominator: the conviction of early members to see their faith represented in solid form.

baptist-church.jpgIn the fall of 1911, a committee was appointed by the Bruce Avenue Church in Windsor to hold cottage prayer meetings in Walkerville. By March 1912, a Regular Baptist Church was organized with 37 members including 20 from the Bruce Avenue church under the leadership of Rev. J. S. Hall, a student from McMaster University.

A site was purchased n 1914 for the construction of Walkerville's first Baptist Church and the Ladies Mission Group swung into action selling bricks to help pay for the construction. Their efforts were successful and in January 1916, the structure was completed on the corner of Windermere and Cataraqui at a cost of about $6,000.

In 1917, the residence of Mr. Scott at 815 Windermere was purchased for use as a parsonage. By 1921, the membership had increased to 275 and the church was enlarged to accommodate 300 people comfortably. In the mid-fifties, major renovations occurred to provide a new kitchen, new study for the Pastor and a choir room.

In all, four renovations have taken place including fairly recent ones that provided handicap access into the church, an elevator and a side parking lot.

In January 1982, the present Pastor, Raymond A. McCready arrived to take over leadership of the church. Part of his challenge has been to accommodate the needs of the congregation which consists of younger members who prefer the more modern approach to worship and the older members who don't want to see tradition disappear.

Five years ago, a worship band accompanied by singers was formed that offers a mix of traditional and contemporary music during the services. This has proven to be a popular addition to the church, as has the use of drama to bring biblical stories to life.

Walkerville Baptist performs full immersion baptisms two or three times a year. A baptismal tank is located at the head of the sanctuary. According to Pastor McCready, the full immersion baptism symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "When the person is completely submersed, he can identify with the death and burial of Christ. As he comes up out of the water, he can now appreciate the resurrection of Christ's life and the fact that God's life is in all of us."

Full baptisms are preformed on adults only. Children undergo a dedication service with parental assistance but there is no water involved.

Over the last eighty-three years, the church has had seen many members come and go. McCready recalls one former member, Harold Simmons, who died about twelve years ago. "Harold was a talented violinist who played for many of our services. Not only could he play the violin but also knew how to make them. In addition, he was sought after to repair violins for the area schools and music teachers."

Every summer, the church holds a vacation bible school. One summer during the 1980's, a bat got into a classroom. "The kids thought it was great," remembers Pastor McCready with a smile, "but one of the two teachers wasn't too happy. She was worried that the bat would get in her wig!"

The church performs a variety of good works including taking part in an international effort called "Operation Christmas Child" which provides shoe boxes full of small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, candies and other items to needy children around the world.

On the home front, the church holds its bi-annual Small Household Goods and Clothing Giveaway every November to provide area residents in need with good, serviceable household necessities for free.

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