History - Articles of Faith


We are an Independent Baptist Church.

We have chosen to associate in fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. (GARBC)

Our History

Berean Independent Baptist Church began about 1926 when J. D. Rockwell of Green Spring and a railroad worker, held Sunday services in the one-room Dennison School (blt. 1876), located on Keller Run Road. In 1934 the Board of Education sold the property to Dennison Community Church and Rockwell continued to preach there until his death in May 1945. The original membership consisted of such families as Wagoner, Hinkle, Kimble, Twigg, Beam, Garland, Bennett, Seeders, Barnes, Alkire, Pyles, Dennison, Rexrode and Robinson.

In early summer 1945, Earl B. Wolford, of Fort Ashby, began pastoring the Church. By 1968 a larger meeting place was needed and a 40 x 60 concrete block structure with full basement was constructed and became known as Berean Independent Baptist Church. Upon the resignation of Mr. Wolford in 1973, after serving faithfully for approximately 28 years, the congregation called Andrew L. Gathany as full-time pastor. In 1978, the property was sold to Mr. and Mrs. James L. Kimble, of the membership, and the church relocated in a new 50 x 80 yellow brick structure on the former Lee Blamble property at the junction of Dan's Run and Keller Run roads.

In July 1989 Pastor Gathany accepted the call to a church in Indiana and subsequently Ron McLucas, of Iowa became the full-time pastor and served until 1991. Dana Umbel was the next pastor to shepherd Berean Independent Baptist Church and he was there for a 15 year period from 1992 until 2007. After him Rick Riley was Called as pastor in 2008 and has served the Lord in the church until the present. Several of the original membership still attend services here as well as a number of descendants of that membership. Berean Independent Baptist Church is a fundamental, Bible-believing church, "holding forth the Word of God."


The program started early in 1974. A "Land Committee" was formed with the purpose of locating and purchasing a piece of land. On August 30, 1974, 7.72 acres of land was purchased from Daily Real Estate Company, with the Bank of Romney financing $12,300.00 at eight percent interest, or $149.24 per month. Those Deacon-Trustee's signatures were: 1. Jerry Shanholtz, 2. Bob Sampson, 3. Orvin Wagoner, 4. Rich Baldwin, 5. Ed Linn, 6. Olen Kessel and 7. Lawrence O'Brien.

A "New Building Committee" was formed with the purpose with the purpose of developing a plan to build a new building. Those people on that committee were 1. Jim Burke, 2. Orvin Wagoner, 3. Rich Baldwin, 4. Wayne Linn and 5. Pastor Gathany. The building committee spent much time planning, once considering a Butler Steel Building (round) and visited many churches and groups for ideas and plans. The bank of Romney was contacted concerning a $100,000.00 loan. They advised the committee that this was too much money for the size of our congregation and advised us to go another direction for less money.

At this point God led the building committee to contact a church designer and contractor, Don Nines, who attended and had built an Independent Baptist Church in Oakland, Maryland. After many meetings with Mr. Nines, the building committee finally had prints and a plan for Phase 1 of a multi-plan church building program. With the congregation's approval bids were to be accepted for building construction. The contractor was to construct the shell with completed floors, outside doors and windows and brick work and the congregation was to complete the finish work, including electrical, plumbing, dry wall, paint and floor covering. Bids were received from five contractors, ranging from $25,000.00 to $46,000.00. The contract was awarded to lowest bidder, Pete Wagoner, for $25,000.00. The bank of Romney approved a $60,000.00 loan for twenty years at eight percent interest. The new land, new building, old church building and property were used as collateral, with Deacon-Trustees Ed Linn, Olen Kessel, Stan Loder, Kenny Long, Orvin Wagoner, Rich Baldwin, Joe Alkire and Jim Burke signatures and the signatures of all member household heads.

Construction began in late May or early June of 1977 by the contractor. In August, 1977, the congregation began their work and services were held regularly in the new building beginning in February, 1978. In April, 1978, we sold the old church property for $12,500.00, old pews for $1,100.00, and had a love offering of $2,000.00 for a total of $15,600.00. We were able to adjust our loan to $48,000.00 balance with a twenty year mortgage, eight percent interest and a $401.50 monthly payment. In July, 1981, the congregation decided to pay $100.00 per month more than our regular payment ($501.50). In October, 1988, We paid the balance owed on the building loan in full ($7.350.38) from a gracious love gift given to the church. We paid the twenty year loan in ten years and five months to the glory of God. We can certainly see God's hand and guidance as His people obeyed in working many long hours completing the building and the past ten years in faithfully giving. We are grateful for the many blessings that God has provided both physically and spiritually as we desire to use and glorify God with what He has blessed us with.

To God Be the Glory and Praise Always,

The Deacons
Berean Independent Baptist Church