Benton Street Baptist Church

History

Benton Street Baptist Church is located in the heart of historic Kitchener, Ontario. It was founded as the first German Baptist church in Canada in September, 1851 when an organizational meeting for the formation of a local German Baptist Church was held in the Free Church at Bridgeport. The charter members included three from New York City and thirteen others. Prior to the second meeting of this new church, fifteen more were baptized. Soon other preaching centres were established in Shingletown, near New Hamburg, and in Woolwich (Elmira). In 1852 the Bridgeport congregation built a church in Berlin (now Kitchener) on the present location of Benton Street Baptist Church.

Benton was a German-speaking church for more than sixty years, changing to all English in 1918 after the conclusion of World War I. A large sanctuary was built in 1883 with Sunday School facilities expanded in 1901, 1927 and in 1953. The main building was destroyed by fire in 1963 and the present facility was opened in 1965.

Commencing in 1929, and continuing for over sixty years, the church broadcast weekly messages over the radio. Many of the members have engaged in missionary evangelism and several have entered the ministry. In these 150+ years, we have had 20 Senior Pastors who have led the congregation in worship and godly living.

Locally, this church has been instrumental in helping to establish ten other local congregations. Presently, the outreach of the church touches the physical and spiritual welfare of communities locally, nationally and globally through pastors, missionaries and many members who volunteer their time and talents.

At the 100th Anniversary celebration in 1951, Pastor Leander Roblin wrote these wise words, "Life is enriched, not merely by the hours of the present through which we are passing, but by the gathering together also of the blessings of yesterdays. Thus both past and present enrich and intensify our devotion to the things that are of abiding value."

As we review our foundations, we give thanks to God for His faithfulness and guidance over the years. Benton has a membership of approximately 340, with an average Sunday morning attendance of about 350. Benton is an independent, self-governing church affiliated with the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada, an association of over 500 churches throughout the nation. Our congregation is drawn from a wide area of downtown, suburban, and neighbouring communities. Throughout its history, Benton Street Baptist has stood as a flagship evangelical congregation in the community and has been known for its emphasis on Bible teaching and preaching, missions and evangelism. We believe the Bible is the Word of God and preach its message of Christ crucified, risen, living, and coming again! May it always be so until Jesus returns.

We desire our present faith to be characterized by 1 Peter 3:15, "In your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord." With such focus, we can anticipate a hopeful future for Benton Street Baptist Church, the "lighthouse on a hill" in downtown Kitchener. Our vision is to be a thriving congregation that is home to a diverse and growing family of believers united in Jesus Christ, a place where anyone can begin their Christian experience, belong to a caring family of fellow believers, and become a mature ministering disciple of Christ.

We would be thrilled to have you visit and fellowship with us!