8341 Kenwood Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45236 (513) 791-0355
An Abbreviated History of
Evanston Baptist Church and Kenwood Baptist Church
To see more details, including photos, download the booklet.
Download the "History of Kenwood Baptist Church"This booklet was created for our 100 Years Celebration.1908 The church started as a small Christian Mission in Evanston under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Harry T. Crane, pastor of Mt. Auburn Baptist Church. The first services were held on Sunday afternoons on the first floor of the old Sewer Pipe Building on Montgomery Rd. just north of Dana Ave. next to the railroad from Evanston.
1911 On Feb. 12, 1911 a group of 35 members with vision and faith organized the Evanston Baptist Church and they purchased a small frame structure, which was moved to Rutland Avenue, just off Montgomery, a distance of 2-3 blocks.
Many ministers served this church in the beginning. Many were part-time pastors and most served very short terms. This indicates just how difficult the work must have been and how slow the progress. For 10 years, the fledgling congregation maintained, but did not grow.
1919- 1921 Mr. J. Stanley Mathews, his wife, Margaret, and their children, Paul and Lois, came to this little church. Mr. Mathews chose the Evanston Baptist Church because of its beliefs and opportunities.
1921- 1968 In March of 1921 the church of 16 members called Rev. J. Stanley Mathews as a bi-vocational pastor. He would continue his work as a foreman in a factory until the church income could support his family. The church grew steadily under Preacher Mathews’ leadership
1941 The time soon came when the church's facilities were inadequate. Rev. Mathews and his people felt God had a greater vision for Evanston. Plans for a new building were drawn and presented but the U. S. involvement in the war came in 1941, and because of government restrictions, church building programs were canceled.
1950 The congregation grew so fast that they had to expand to accommodate for the growth. The frame building was razed and the brick building was remodeled and incorporated into the new buff brick building. This building still stands on Rutland Ave. near Montgomery.
1959 On May 20, 1959, the church voted to sell the Evanston church building to St. Andrew Episcopal congregation. And that same day, voted to purchase 10 acres in the rural Kenwood community. July 22, 1959 the official purchase of the Kenwood property was completed and a vote for a name change to Kenwood Baptist Church was approved.
1961 On Mother’s Day 1961, the church body moved into a beautiful, spacious building of contemporary design that dominated a wooded landscape of stately pine trees, and provided space for expansion and adequate space for parking. On October 8, 1961, the Kenwood Baptist Church building was dedicated.
1968 Our beautiful chapel was added in March 1968.
On May 5, 1968, Preacher Mathews retired from his pastorate.
1968- 1982 Rev. Ritchard Lyon Oct. 1968-Nov. 1982
Reverend Lyon was a graduate of Colgate Rochester Divinity School and had pastored churches in Ohio and New York. He served the church well for 14 years until his retirement in 1982.
1982-1984 Dr. George McBurney Gray – December 1982 – December 1984
Dr. Gray grew up and was educated in the British Isles and had doctorates from Luther Rice Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary. He served pastorates in Scotland, Maine, and New York. Dr. Gray led the church to a radio and television ministry and initiated a discipleship program.
1985- 1997 Rev. Dr. Alex B. Aronis September 1985 – October 1997
Under Pastor Aronis, we expanded our television ministry to include a half-hour program on Sunday evenings. Many interviews included prominent Christians in Cincinnati. Dr. Aronis was a dynamic preacher and the church grew in numbers and spirit.
1989 - A new education wing was added to the church and dedicated on April 4, 1989 as the Edyth B. Lindner Education Center.
1996 Kenwood Baptist Church celebrated its 85th anniversary and started a Building a Brighter Future project to reduce the church mortgage and provide funds for inner-city ministry. Funds were allocated to help bring the light of Christ to the Evanston area of Cincinnati, the original home of our church.
1997 Dr. Aronis announced his retirement effective October 19, 1997.
1999- 2008 Rev. David Hansen came to us from Montana. He received his Master’s of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and served several churches in California and Montana prior to his time at Kenwood. He had strong pastoring skills and ministered to many of the congregation who were grieving from the loss of a loved one. He was an author of several books, but wrote Long Wandering Prayer while he was Kenwood’s pastor. Due to health reasons, Pastor Dave Hansen left Kenwood’s pastorate in 2008.
2009-2013 Rev. Dr. Vic Gordon came to us from California bringing with him a deep love of missions, specifically targeting Haiti where he supports and teaches at a seminary in Cap-Haitien. That love of Haiti influenced his ministry with us. Pastor Vic resigned, January 2013
2013 Rev. Dr. David Palmer was called to Kenwood Baptist Church as Associate Pastor in 2002 and called as Senior Pastor in 2013. He earned his Master’s of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Ph.D from Hebrew Union College. As a pastor scholar, Pastor David illuminates the Scripture with theological depth and heart application. His love for God and for people is contagious and demonstrated at Kenwood, the local community and the global mission field.