The first pastor of the Park Hill Baptist Church, Rev. William K. Peters, once said, “One of the most romantic and inspiring stories in the work of the Lord in our day is the birth and growth of a New Testament Baptist Church.” This is that story, our story.

After several people in the Parkville area had expressed interest in having a Baptist church in their community, a meeting was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sims on September 21, 1952, to determine just how much interest there really was. Twelve local residents attended along with Dr. Ralph Williams, pastor of the First Baptist Church of North Kansas City, and several members of that church. As a result of that gathering, regular meetings were instituted on Sundays and Wednesdays for prayer and worship.

That initial group met in various locations, including the Francis Funeral Home, the Parkville Legion Hall, and the Melody Lane Locker Plant hall, with different speakers each time. Dr. W. T. Holland, Superintendent of Missions for the Kansas City Association, was the first speaker, on October 5, 1952. At this service, attended by 43 people, Dr. Williams announced that the North Kansas City church had voted to sponsor the Parkville group as an official mission of their church.

In November, 1953, Rev. Peters was called to be the pastor of the Park Hill Baptist Mission. At the same time, the group was in the process of purchasing a five-acre tract of farm land from the Joseph Enderle family for $16,000. The first service at the farm house (pictured above) was held on Sunday, January 10, 1954.

The Lord blessed this little group through those early months and the congregation grew rapidly. As the program expanded, though, there was a pressing need for more space: as the congregation grew, the pastor sometimes found himself preaching to people who were seated in several rooms of the house, with some being able to hear but not to see the services. To address this issue, in March, 1955, Box and Son Construction Co. completed a 40? by 60? concrete block one-story building as a place of worship. The auditorium allowed seating space for 250 normally, with space for the platform in front.

By September, 1955, membership in the mission stood at 136, the Sunday School was averaging 129 in attendance, and Training Union managed 48. Somehow, in these modest facilities, Vacation Bible Schools were held, with an average daily attendance of 144 in 1955! This was the situation when the people of Park Hill decided they were strong enough to become a self-supporting independent church.

The organization of the Park Hill Baptist Church was marked by a full day of activity on September 18, 1955. It began with a prayer service at 9:30 AM and Sunday School followed. There were approximately 175 present in the morning worship service when the pastor brought the message: “Marching to Zion.” After the service there was a picnic lunch on the church lawn and a hymn-sing followed. Two numbers were sung by the Preachers’ Quartet, made up of the pastors of the four missions of the First Baptist Church of North Kansas City: David Cobb of Sunset Hill, Glenn Epp of Swift Avenue, Eugene Warren of Riverside, and Bill Peters of Park Hill.

Much has changed since then: new facilities have been built and a variety of pastors have come and gone. But that same initial spirit of enthusiasm and faithfulness still prevails here at Park Hill Baptist Church. We continue to celebrate our God’s great love and mercy. We continue to reach out to the world with the gospel. And we continue bear each other up in Christian brotherhood.