The following is an excerpt from
THE BEVERLEY GARDENS COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH Dayton, Ohio
The First Two Years"
by C. Eugene Bennett, Church Clerk and Rev. S. Joseph Duell, Pastor
February 15, 1956
THE DAYTON BAPTIST UNION HAD A VISION
For a number of years the Dayton Baptist Union had considered the missionary venture of founding a new church in Dayton, Ohio. Aware of the rapid growth taking place on the fringes of the city, the Union felt its responsibility for the religious needs of families in these areas. It foresaw benefits in making such a venture-- the fulfilling in its own way the Great Commission, the establishment of confidence to expand to other areas, the drawing together of the churches in the Union in a significant endeavor, and the benefit to the Dayton community through the ministry of new churches. But the venture seemed a formidable one, too. The Union was not in a strong position financially and the high cost of land and building construction would necessitate a large financial obligation for many years.
Therefore, it was an exciting and challenging day when the Dayton Baptist Union made its historic decision to undertake a mission church. The time was early spring of 1953. The Missionary and Church Extension Committee, Rev. W. Luther Tracy, Chairman, met with Rev. Edward Chipman, Field Director of the Church Extension Department of the American Baptist Home Mission
Society, and after considering several possibilities, decided on the Page Manor-Beverly Gardens area as a desirable place to begin a church.
Rev. Tracy took the proper steps through the Comity Committee of the Church Federation of Greater Dayton, to secure agreement with other Protestant groups on the location of a Baptist church in the desired area. Subsequently, steps were initiated toward purchase of a two-acre site at the northeast corner of Kemp and Spinning Roads from the Wright-Patterson Apartments, Inc., owner and developer of the land.
At about this same time the project, "Churches for New Frontiers" was getting under way throughout the American Baptist Convention, and by purchase of the land by the fall of 1953, help from this source was reasonably certain. On November 24, 1953 the Board of Trustees took action to purchase the two acres for the sum of $6,000.00. This action was approved by the Board of Managers on Saturday, December 5, 1953.
AND A FEW GATHERED TOGETHER
In following weeks Rev. Tracy made contact with Mr. Walter E. Stebbins, superintendent of Schools, Mad River Township, and secured permission to use the Cafeteria Room of Page Manor School for worship. This was a new school located at Hickam Drive and Spinning Road. The arrangements Rev. Tracy made resulted in the first session of Sunday Church School and worship services being held on March 7, 1954. Rev. Harold C. Loughhead, Director of Town and country Work of the Ohio Baptist Convention, led the services. He was assisted by a number of intersted members from some of the Dayton Baptist Churches. Rev. Loughhead returned the following week.
In its earliest months church meetings were held in the Cafeteria Room of Page Manor School, while at the same time a newly formed Catholic fellowship was meeting in the gymnasium. Fortunately, the Catholic group was soon to move into its own building, St. Helen's School, on Kemp Road. The gymnasium as well as cafeteria was then made available. Within a few months Sunday Church School attendance numbed more than 200, and by winter of 1955 attendance at morning worship was running above 100. The rapid growth spurred action in building an edifice.