Burlington Baptist Church has a rich and interesting history. The church began in the 1950’s as a suburban church in a small town. By the beginning of the 21st. century, the church had evolved into a mature central city church in a city that is no longer small or suburban. Throughout those years, BBC continued to preach and live the Gospel of Christ with sincerity and a vision that has impacted the lives of its members and the larger community of Burlington.
Baptist roots in Burlington actually go back to 1850 when local village Baptists met for services in a private home. In 1875, in the new town of Burlington, local Baptists built Calvary Baptist Church – as a member of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec ( BCOQ ) but this church left the Convention in 1930. Between 1930 and 1952 there was no Baptist church affiliated with BCOQ , but a group of Burlington women in a Mission Circle maintained links with the Convention during those 22 years.
As the population grew, BCOQ decided it was time to launch a Convention Baptist Church in Burlington. The Mission Circle was very supportive and in 1952, 20 families decided, with the help of BCOQ, to found a new church. The group met in homes and then in a local Girl Guides building, Trefoil Lodge, until the first church building was erected at the corner of New Street and Bridgman Avenue. It was on the edge of the city of that day with open fields behind it. However, Burlington and the surrounding area were growing rapidly and today Burlington Baptist Church is in the heart of a mature city.
In 1954, the sod was turned and the church in a modern Gothic style was completed and dedicated in 1955. A Christian Education wing was added in 1960. These were years of rapid growth in the membership and in 1972, a new 350 seat multi-purpose semi circular sanctuary was added. It is meant to express the idea of the church as a family. It provides a space for worship as well as church family dinners, community meetings, Vacation Bible School and other congregational celebrations. The many clear windows suggest an openness to the world outside.
Over time, Burlington Baptist Church has established traditions to meet the challenges of changing social times. It has evolved in its dedication to the larger mission of the church, in advocating on social issues and outreach to local families and individuals. It is an “outreaching” church, supporting ecumenical and community agencies. BBC is always open to people of different backgrounds and views.
Women have had a large role in the evolution of the church, from the original Mission Circle that provided the impetus for a convention church in Burlington. There have been two women serving in ministry, the Rev. Heather Gilmour in the ‘90’s and the Rev. Dawn Yarker, as Associate Minister in 2000.
BBC has supported refugee families from Laos, Bosnia and Syria. The church building is used by many community groups as a meeting place and the modern sanctuary is more accessible to those with limited mobility. As well, in recent years, Burlington Baptist Church has intentionally expanded its embrace to welcome those who identify as LGBTQ+. These qualities of openness, tolerance, acceptance and love have become the defining characteristics of Burlington Baptist Church.
BBC has been fortunate in the quality of its ministerial leadership. Since the beginning, the ministers have encouraged a rich congregational life and have been compassionate pastors to the many families and individuals needing their care. Today, the Rev. Dave Ogilvie maintains this high tradition of service to BBC and the Burlington community.