On April 7, 1963, the Meadowdale Brethren Bible Class, under the direction of Rev. Russell Ward, held its first worship service in a rented home on Siebenthaler Avenue in northwest Dayton. Three months later, a 4-acre parcel of land on Basore Road was purchased. It would be two more years until building plans were approved and construction of our first church building was started. The first worship service was held in the “unfinished” church on March 5, 1967.
As the church continued to grow, we were able to call Pastor Ward to full-time status in April 1971. In 1978, as our congregation grew, it was obvious that additional staff would be necessary. On February 5, Phillip Steele was unanimously called to be Minister of Christian Education, and began his ministry on February 20.
The next year, Pastor Steele resigned to take the position of Senior Pastor at Vandalia Grace Brethren Church. In July 1979, Brian “Skip” White was called to take his place as Minister of Christian Education.
We once again went through a period of accelerated growth, and expansion of our church building became necessary. In 1983, a two-story addition was completed, including classrooms, nurseries, offices, and a multi-purpose room. In 1989, Senior Pastor Russell Ward stepped aside to allow Pastor Skip to become Senior Pastor. Pastor Ward was honored with the title Pastor Emeritus. In 1994, a young man who had been serving as our youth director for several years began to feel the call of God in his life. Tim Nixon was called to be Youth Pastor later that year, and began his ministry in January 1995.
Once again, our congregation was blessed, and the need for expansion was obvious to everyone. A building addition was considered, but it was determined that the current property was too small. God led the church to purchase 26 acres of land across the road. A design-build team was hired, and plans for a new church building were started. In the fall of 1996, the original church was sold to the Berean Bible Church, and construction began on our new building in December. On September 13, 1997, the first service was held in our new building.
Pastor Nixon began feeling called to plant a new church, and in fall 2006, that calling became a reality and Cornerstone Grace Brethren had its first service. Shortly thereafter, there became a need again for a Pastor of Christian Education and a search began for the right person. In late 2007, Pastor Andy Gannon was called to take over this role.
2010 began a two-year period of transition for our church and saw the resignation of both Pastor White and Pastor Gannon and the passing of our founder, Pastor Ward.
In spring of 2012, we commissioned two new pastors. Pastor Shannon Horst was unanimously voted in as the new senior pastor and Pastor Chris Setser was officially commissioned into the Youth Pastor role, which he held until his resignation in the fall of 2014.
We praise our wonderful Lord for the blessings of many, many years of ministry in northwest Dayton. God continues to direct our steps in each phase of our ministry.