||congregation begun 1852
||90 Benton St., Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario
||German Baptist Church (Benton Street Baptist Church, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario
|name from 1852 to 1918 |
||named changed in 1918
||Buildings and Organizations
||6 Dec 2011 |
- Benton Street Baptist Church
The congregation of the first German Baptist Church in Canada was organized in Bridgeport on September 10, 1851 by Rev. August Rauschenbusch. A church was built in Berlin at the corner of Benton and St. George Streets in 1852, with Rev. Henry Schneider as the first pastor. Pastors who followed Rev. Schneider were Revs. Ed. Austermuehl (1863-1864) and C. Bodenbender (1865-1871).
By 1883 the congregation had grown to 140 members and the new and larger church which was built on the same site was opened in December of that year. The pastor at the time was Rev. Jacob Fellman , who had begun his service as pastor on August 23, 1876. Sunday evening services in English were attempted in 1891 but were not continued because of poor attendance. However, an English-speaking Baptist congregation, to be known as King Street Baptist Church, was organized in Berlin on November 10, 1895; seven members of the new congregation were from the Benton Street church.
The name of the church was changed from German Baptist Church to Benton Street Baptist Church in March, 1918 when the congregation ceased holding services in the German language. On January 25, 1928 the church "withdrew from the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec ... " (Clubine 1976). The church later "became affiliated with the Fellowship of Independent Baptist Churches" (Ibid.) .
A growing congregation necessitated improvement and additions to the church over the years. The Sunday School was built in 1901, and was enlarged in 1927 with the addition of a second storey. Fire destroyed the church on February 11, 1964, except for an addition which had been built in 1953. Sod was turned on September 5, 1965 marking the beginning of construction of a new church; the cornerstone was laid on April 3, 1966 and the new building was officially opened and dedicated on September 18, 1966. The congregation had met in Eastwood Collegiate in the interval.
Baptism dates: 1851- Location of records: at church
Marriage dates: 1851- Location of records: at church
Burial dates: 1851- Location of records: at church
For marriage dates 1858-1861, 1865, 1867, see Waterloo County Marriages 1858-1869. The Civil Registers for Waterloo County 1855-1861 contain some Births 1861, Marriages 1855 and Deaths 1855, 1860, on National Archives microfilm C-15758, available on interlibrary loan or at the Kitchener Public Library. These latter records may include references to congregations in the Townships of Waterloo, Wilmot and Woolwich.
[ADDRESS/LOCATION: 90 Benton St., Kitchener, ON N2G 3H4; 745-3792.]
References: Baptist Church; Clubine 1976; Stroh, WHS 1978(66):114; R. Taylor 1986; Uttley 1937:93-97; WHS 1931(19):275; WHS 1964(52):82-83; WHS 1965(53):18.
Church History: Benton Street Baptist Church: 125 Years, 1851-1976, 1976.1a
1aAmbrose, Rosemary. Waterloo County Churches A Research Guide to Churches Established Before 1900. Kitchener, Ontario, Canada: Waterloo-Wellington Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, 1993. [used the kind permission of Rosemary Ambrose 2011]