Berkeley Baptist Church was formed out of the necessity for a Baptist witness in Morgan County, WV. Between 1964 and 1968, citizens of Morgan County started a letter campaign to bodies like the “Religious Herald,” West Virginia Baptists, and Calvary Baptist Church of Morgantown. After a meeting to lay plans for a mission start, Fellowship Bible Classes were started at the home of founding members.
On May 8, 1969, Calvary Baptist Church of Morgantown voted to serve as a “mother church” of a mission plant for Berkeley Springs, WV. In order to plant the church, Mike and Nancy Pentoney and their son officially joined Calvary while living in Berkeley Springs to serve as founding members of the Berkeley Baptist Chapel. A tent revival was held in July of 1969 that saw, along with the Pentoney family, eleven more people join the chapel. This brought the membership total to 14.
On August 10, 1969, at a rented building on Fairfax green in downtown Berkeley Springs, the first service of the Berkeley Baptist Chapel was held. Three months later, Meredith Skryock of Cumberland, MD was called as an Interim Pastor. Also in November, the church elected its first officers. On Aug. 1, 1970, nearly a year into their ministry, Berkeley Baptist Chapel called the Rev. David McCall as their first Pastor. He would remain with Berkeley Baptist until 1973.
In January of 1971, the 36 person membership of the Berkeley Baptist Chapel constituted itself as Berkeley Baptist Church. Among them, the Pentoney family, the Winstead family, the Kesecker family, and the Scully family. Under McCall’s leadership in the Fall of ’72, Berkeley Baptist Church purchased 17 acres of land off of Rt. 13 for $10,000. Before the groundbreaking in December of ’75, the loan was paid off. In less than six months, under the Pastorate of Ed Gorsuch, the second Pastor of Berkeley Baptist, the congregation left the rental space on Fairfax St. and moved into their new building. On Aug. 8, 1976, nearly seven years after its inception, a dedication service was conducted in the new building. By 1988, the mortgage was paid for and the building was owned outright by the Church.
In 1970, the first session of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists was convened south of Charleston in Witcher, WV. A delegation from Berkeley Baptist Church was a part of that meeting, and Berkeley Baptist has been affiliated with this state convention ever since, having the honor of hosting in 1977. In 1988, we also joined the Tri-County Baptist Fellowship, a relationship that unfortunately was dissolved c. 2011. However, we have since joined the Blue Ridge Baptist Association, a partnership that has proven to be mutually beneficial for Berkeley Baptist, the Blue Ridge Association, and the kingdom of Christ.
Since its construction in 1976, Berkeley Baptist has had two additions: an educational wing consisting of a fellowship hall and a larger kitchen was constructed in 1990 and the Charles Morris Family Life Center was constructed over the 2001/2002 year and dedicated in May, 2002. Since 1973, Berkeley Baptist has been involved in the planting of nine other missions in the Eastern Panhandle region. While not all were successful, five remain to this day.
Since its inception, Berkeley Baptist Church has had 12 pastors and interim pastors, with one serving twice. As previously mentioned, David McCall and Ed Gorsuch served as the first two full time Pastors, with two interims, Bruce McPherson and Larry Adkins serving between. Rev. Jim Holt served as Interim from Sept. of 78 through Dec. of 1980. Rev. Ed Rogers served as the third Pastor from 1981-1986. Rev. Everett Powell served two tenures as Pastor, from March of 1987 through January of 1993 and again from March of 2012 through May of 2014, for a total of 8 years. In 1994, John Gilbert came and served until 1998.
Rev. George Hopkins, Berkeley Baptist’s longest serving Pastor, began his ministry in May of 1999, after serving as Pastor of one of Berkeley Baptist’s mission plants. During George’s time, Berkeley Baptist experienced unprecedented growth. Over nine years, Berkeley Baptist Church conducted mission trips, saw youth revivals, developed choral and drama ministries, and so much more. Pastor George left BBC in 2009. Afterwards, the church with through some hard times. However, the core remained strong and began to focus on revitalizing. A significant part of that revitalization came from the help of Rev. Jim Casey, who served as interim from April, 2009 through February, 2010.
Rev. Dennis Seigloff served as Pastor briefly from Feb. 2010 until Oct., 2011. This was followed by Rev. Powell’s second tenure. On Jan. 18, 2015, Berkeley Baptist Church called Rev. Joseph “Joey” Giles, Jr. as the 8th Pastor of Berkeley Baptist Church. Joey and his wife Tiffany began their ministry on February 1, 2015. In May, they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Rebekah. Rev. Giles starts his 7th year of ministry with Berkeley Baptist in February, 2020, making him the third longest serving minister at Berkeley Baptist, second in consecutive years. At his direction, Berkeley Baptist celebrated its 50th anniversary, kicking it off on the 49th anniversary of the church and celebrating for over a year, through December, 2019. He has also guided the church in what can only be described as the strangest time in the church history, the Coronavirus.
Berkeley Baptist Church seeks to change the world for Christ by taking His light into the world. It is our hopes, that since you are taking this course, that you would like to join us on this journey!