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History

Our Story

Historic drawing of Baptist Church in the Great ValleyThe Baptist Church in the Great Valley, the third oldest Baptist church in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1711 by Welsh Baptists who had come to this country to find freedom of worship.  As Baptists, they believed each person is responsible to make her or his own commitment of faith in God.  The church continues to baptize persons who make such a personal commitment and wish to join the church.  Membership in the church is also open to anyone who wishes to join through a profession of faith in Jesus Christ or a letter of transfer from another church.

Church services were first held in the home of one of the members, in Radnor Township, until a log meeting house was built on the present site in 1722.  The stone meeting house has been used by the congregation since it was built in 1805.  In 1886 the church built a chapel on Cassatt Avenue in Berwyn when that community was growing rapidly.  After World War II, when more and more homes were built in the valley area, the church made the meeting house in the valley its central place of worship and the Berwyn building was sold.

In 1820, Baptist Church in the Great Valley adopted a resolution "that in the future the women shall be entitled to vote on all questions that may arise in the church," thus becoming one of the very first churches in this area to make such an open break with then-current custom.   In the 1830\'s, Leonard Fletcher, then pastor, and several members of the church were instrumental in supporting the Wilberforce Anti-Slavery Society in the area.  The first African-American person joined the church in 1762, which by that time included persons of English, German, and other European backgrounds in addition to Welsh people.  Over the years, the membership has also included persons of Hispanic and Asian origins.