In mid-1966, plans began to be put in place to plant a new Baptist fellowship in the then-burgeoning population suburbs of Wheelers Hill, then on the outer suburbs of Melbourne. At the time, the area was part of the local government area City of Waverley, hence our name today.
Sponsored by Dandenong Baptist, Springvale North Baptist Fellowship was formed and commenced meeting in August with 23 attendees. Three years later, seven candidates were baptised at Syndal Baptist. The church then moved on to the house of Geoff and Miriam Stafford at 16 Glengariff Dr, Mulgrave.
At the time, the church was looking in the area for suitable land for purchase; however, these plans were disrupted by the Mulgrave (now Monash) Freeway development. In July 1968, we were able to purchase a Manse/Chapel at 104 Watsons Rd, Glen Waverley, which officially opened in August, and this served as our home for the next six years.
The fourth of May 1969, was a very important date in our history, seeing the establishment of the fellowship of Waverley Baptist Church with 18 founding members, with five deacons and other officers elected the following day. By November 1969, the current site of the church, at the corner of Lum and Waverley Roads, was purchased, with construction happening over the next few years.
Unfortunately, during the building works, our then-Senior and first full-time pastor David Wilson passed suddenly, one and a half years into his ministry.
On the eighth of December 1974, we opened our current site and held a dedication service, where keys were formally handed over to foundation member Mrs Jean MacFarlane. At the time, due to the presence of V/AFL matches at what is now Waverley Park, the Waverley Road-facing part of the building incorporated a solid brick wall, trees, and other sound-deadening tactics, as seen in the first image. As part of this, the main entrance was off the Lum Road entrance, opposite the car in the second image.
Further expansions were completed to extend the building, with a worship area (1985) and kitchen area (1995 - shaded windows, first image) adding to the life and use of the church over time.
In 1981, we saw the creation of two of our local youth ministries in the Boys' Brigade (founded by Mr Ron McCartney) and the Girls' Brigade, both of which have remained integral parts of our outreach into the local community for the past forty years. These two ministries have grown over the years and continue to regularly meet on weeknights.
In December 2005, we saw the appointment of our longest-serving Senior Pastor in David O'Brien, formerly of Global Interaction (now Baptist Mission Australia), alongside his wife Debbie. His time would see numerous changes to the church and local community and building, and his presence was a stabilising factor throughout, as well as a strong missional focus which persists to this day.
In the late 2000's, it was decided to give the building a much-needed facelift, with the brick walls and ageing interiors no longer suiting our needs - and the absense of football matches at Waverley Park meant less traffic on Waverley Road. To this end, a long process was undertaken to rebuild the entire church (except the sanctuary), seeing the now-iconic slanted cross, angled red beam and entirely new kitchen, foyer and back hall, as well as upgrades to our lower-level rooms. During this time, we only had access to the current sanctuary, with our Brigades’ and kids’ ministries as well as our Sunday services having to adapt to the changing environment.
In May 2014, the new building was complete, and a dedication service was held, coincidentally on the 45th anniversary of the church. Since then, the church has seen great use both from the local ministries as well as the local community - including three other church groups, which still regularly use the building.
Submissions and corrections to this page are most welcome! Please email Jeremy with details of what you'd like to add. We'd like to preserve as much history as we can!
Images of times past would be greatly appreciated as well, especially of the old building and construction - both inside and out. To preserve the privacy of individuals, we'd prefer images without clear faces of people.