Those were troubled days in the world back in Sept. 1942 when the first services of what was to become known as Olivet Baptist Church were held. Controversy concerning the approach to understanding scripture was being heard from many quarters. Out of these times and struggles emerged a church in Meaford which was to stand solidly on the belief in a verbally inspired, infallible, inerrant and authoritative word of God. Our prayer is that this conviction will only deepen and strengthen in the life of this church until our Lord returns.
The first services were held Sept., 1, 1942, in the Meaford town hall. On Wednesday, Sept., 16, seven charter members were received into fellowship of this young church and on Oct., 15th, our church was received into the Fellowship of Independent Baptist Churches in Canada.
The town hall served as a meeting place for the new congregation until November 1942 when the former Molson’s Bank was purchased (the current home of the Meaford Express) and renovated for worship. It served as our church’s meeting place until August 1963, when the church moved into its new building on Ivan Street. On Oct., 3, 1976 the mortgage on the new building was burned, freeing the church for even greater ministry through its giving.
The following years included growing needs and God’s provision: Church growth, music, families, property maintenance, Sunday school, givings, learning, evangelism and goodwill. All became an expression of care for God’s building and people.
A children’s ministry called AWANA was introduced in 1987, with 85% of the group coming from the surrounding community. In 1991 we spruced up our library, while 1993 brought combined outreach, active Keenagers, the eventful Prayer & Fellowship Circle, missions committee, a young people’s trip to Boston and the leadership went to work on a Vision Statement. The Auditorium or Church Sanctuary was completed in 1995. Olivet was becoming a busy place!
Our current senior pastor, Bruce Jones and his family came to Olivet in July, 1998 bringing four areas of emphasis for the years to come: personal renewal, prayer, evangelism and becoming an atmosphere of love. The High School Christian Fellowship began gathering together and Sandra Mullin became our administrative assistant. 1999 brought our first Vacation Bible School (VBS) supported by a church in Ohio as well as the children’s JAM weekend. This year also brought growth in youth (J.O.Y.), and in 2000 the balcony was converted to a room.
Olivet Ministries were not the only thing growing. Our staff grew to include our current Children’s Ministry Coordinator, Ruth Jones as part-time staff in children’s ministry to assist VBS and Kid’s Nite. Olivet School-age daycare flourished under Sandy Noble’s direction and the building grew to include downstairs washrooms and air conditioning!
Various loved ones have gone to be with the Lord over the years, and they will be missed. Still the church continues to grow and values the importance of every individual in our family. Arlene Stevens joined the staff as church custodian, and 2006 brought our Associate Pastor Matt Foalden to the team. Men’s fishing trips & ladies conferences were well attended, blossoming into adult fellowship nights.
Now, we look back on over 65 years of God’s faithfulness to a congregation of believers in Meaford. For most of us, it is only history, yet the faithful service of God’s people here has not gone unnoticed by God. He has observed every moment of dedication and ministry offered by the people of this congregation. Will we have as many years to serve Him? The One who guided the past has the answer to that question. But we do have the present and the God of the past and the future is the God of the present. The prospects are bright as we seek to serve Him in the present and remember the words of our Lord, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”