Historical / Philosophical  Background



Ken & Jean Richard

     At the turn of the century, a small group of people banded together under the leadership of Miss Weeks and Miss Barrett for Bible Study and prayer, more specifically to pray for and to support foreign missionaries.  The group imported its first church building from New York State and placed it on our present location in the Waterville distict of Waterbury, then a burgeoning industrial area.

     Under the ministry of Milton Nilson, the group was joined by small groups from outside the area.  In the late '40s and '50s, more people were added to this group, mostly from mainline Protestant churches which at that time were extremely skeptical of the authority and reliability of the Scriptures.  The name Waterville Unon Church was chosen since all of these groups became a "union" of biblical Christians.
    
     In the '50s, under the leadership of John Samsvick, the church grew through evangelism in the area.  Attendance reached the hundred mark at that time.  John decided to leave the pastorate here to study at Yale Divinity School and later become pastor of a mainline denominational church, bringing biblical Christianity to them.

     Church attendance declined over the next several years due to the exodus of heavy industry from Waterbury, especially that of Chase Brass and Copper from Waterville.  The building was almost destroyed by a tornado.  The remaining stalwart Christians under the leadership of Bob Miller undertook the task of rebuilding and paying for the new church structure under the new name of The Waterville Bible Church.  Today we can place emphasis in our budgeting on staff because they financed and paid for the church building.    

Dick & Jan Dill
Dick & Jan Dill

 Recently we have changed our name to The Bible Church of Waterbury.  Our former Senior Pastor, Ken Richard, and his family served as missionaries in Brazil before coming here in 1976.  Using his experience, he has directed the church to become a ministering mission as well as a church.  Our current Pastor, Dick Dill, also served as a missionary, working with Youth for Christ in Central Connecticut.  The Bible church has adopted most of the church growth concepts being used in world missions while maintaining many of the original concepts and strengths from our history.

     We have written an entirely new constitution combining our past heritage and our current philosophies, clearly showing how the church operates.  Simply explained, we trust one another to be under Jesus Christ as Lord and see ourselves as serving Him in corporate (body) relationship.  This means that although each one is not doing what is right in his own eyes, there is not some kind of "pecking order" or "chain of command."  Our church government is neither dictatorial nor totally democratic.  We have an elder-based leadeship in which those who are mature, more experienced, and recognized as people of wisdom are appointed by the church to serve as the spiritual leaders who give the church direction.

     The Elder Board sets the philosophy and tone by which the Executive Board makes official decisions for the church.  The Deacons allow for informational flow among church workers.  In this body new direction and ministry are discussed to help the Elder and Executive Boards move more quickly for change and growth.
    
     We have never been affiliated with a denomination, though we are a charter member of the National Association of Evangelicals.  Consequently we are financially independent; our financial support comes totally from ourselves.  Since we believe that giving must be from the heart unto the Lord (as taught in Colossians 3), we make an effort not to be coercive.  We wish that everyone grow in an understanding of his obligation to the Lord Jesus Christ as a giving person.  The bulk of our giving is from those who give ten percent (a tithe) of their gross income (before taxes).  

     The two buildings across from the church were purchased in 1981 as our ministries expanded.  The first building houses our church offices and classrooms.  The second  building is our Youth Center.