History of West Island Baptist Church

Transcribed by Courtney Lai-Hing in December of 2010

In 1954 the Baptist pastors of the Montreal area met to discuss the need for a ministry on the West Island of Montreal.

On February 6, 1955,  the first services of this new Church, called Fellowship Baptist Church, were held in Valois Park School.  The Reverend Beverly Ward taught the adult Bible Class and preached to the twenty-five people who were in attendance

Reverend James Fraser acted as interim Pastor for Fellowship Baptist Church from February 1955 until June 1955.

The Rev. C.G. Henthorn was called to be Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in June of 1955

During the Fall of 1955 the meetings were moved to the Pine Beach Community Hall, and simultaneous meetings were also held at a Beaconsfield School during the winter.

On February 9, 1956, the former United Church building at 56 Lake Avenue in Dorval became available and the Strathmore Baptist Church was formally organized with 19 charter members.  The first services were held on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1956.

In the Spring of 1956, Rev. Henthorn resigned as pastor and Rev. D. C. Merritt, who was pastoring Lachute/Dalesville  was then called to be Pastor.

On July 23, 1956, Rev. Merritt preached his first sermons as pastor of Strathmore Baptist Church.

By May 1957 the membership had reached 49 and during those early years, the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada provided some financial support.

On September 24, 1958, Rev. Merritt resigned and in the following month Rev. Bruce Amy became Pastor of the Church.

By December 1962, membership had reached 83 active, and 27 inactive for a total of 110.

When the political unrest of 1964 occurred, the church membership underwent many changes as several members moved elsewhere.

On January 13, 1965, a decision was made to relocate to the Beaconsfield area and also to change the name of the Church to West Island Baptist Church (W.I.B.C.) There was a charter membership of 77.

From 1965-1969 the meetings of W.I.B.C. were held at the Allancroft School.

During May 1969 merger possibilities with Bethel Baptist and Westpark Baptist were explored in detail.

On December 1, 1969, Rev. Bruce Amy left to begin a ministry in North Bay.

Rev. David Dobson was called as Pastor in January of 1971.

In December of 1971 the merger of Westpark Baptist Church and West Island Baptist Church took place and the building at 298 Brookhaven, Dorval was purchased from the Montreal Anglican Diocese.

In January 1972, the first joint services were held in the West Island Building.  During that year both the Westpark building and the Lake Ave. building were sold for use in other Christian work.

In June of 1974, Paul Neabel came to W.I.B.C. as an interim youth minister. In May of 1975 he was called to be an assistant Pastor.

In February 1978, Pastor David Dobson was forced to resign his ministry due to ill health.

From June 1978 until August 1978, John MacLeod served as interim Pastor for W.I.B.C..

In October 1979, Rev. Barry Klinck began his Pastoral ministry at W.I.B.C.

In January 1, 1980 Rev. John Jones was appointed as an Associate Pastor responsible for visitation ministry in W.I.B.C..

During August 1982 Rev. Klinck resigned and moved to Toronto.

In September 1982, Pastor Gary McNitt, who had served for a little over a year as youth Pastor, assumed the Pastoral duties on an interim basis.

During August of 1984 Pastor McNitt resigned and Rev. David Brandon began his ministry during the same month.

Dr. Brandon resigned in May of 1991 and moved back to Ontario.

Rev. Raymond C. Johnson began his ministry at W.I.B.C. on September 11, 1991.

In May of 2003, discussions were held with Montreal Youth for Christ (MYFC) to explore the possibility of a joint ministry. By August, negotiations had been completed and the building sold to MYFC for the sum of one dollar with an agreement that W.I.B.C. would have access to the building for all of its services and activities.

In December 2003, Pastor Johnson resigned for health reasons. At that time, the average Sunday morning attendance had fallen to approximately forty people and the average attendance was fifty, with thirty registered members.

In April 28, 2005, Rev. Bill Finch was called to be the Pastor.

In April 2008, Pastor Finch was offered a position in his home province of Ontario. After much prayer, he resigned as Pastor and returned to Ontario.

In May 2008, Jason Fry was called to be interim pastor.

In September 2008, Jason Fry became the new pastor and continues to minister here at W.I.B.C.

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