Winslow Baptist Church was established in 1973 and exists to win the lost and to help believers become fully-functioning followers of Jesus Christ. In the past forty years, God has done many great things and the future looks even more promising! The following narrative chronicles some of the people and events that God has used to found, build, and grow the gospel ministry in Winslow Township through WBC. Some 40 years after her birth, WBC is still living up to the following statement which printed on the program of her 3rd Anniversary (March 23, 1976):
“Winslow Baptist Church has come into existence because it was God’s decree. Without Him this church would not be. Therefore, this church is His – He is the source and sustainer. God has brought us together; He deserves the praise…”
It All Started With a Bible Study
Winslow Baptist Church began as the result of a church planting project undertaken by Haddon Heights Baptist Church, Hiawatha Baptist Missions, and Home Missionary Church Planter Ed Woods. God graciously used these godly folks to plan for a much-needed independent Baptist church in the Winslow Township area. Next, Ed and Dorothy Woods moved to 524 Frederick St. Williamstown, a home provided by Haddon Heights Baptist, to begin actually establishing the work. The Woods began to diligently canvass the area on foot while also advertising the new ministry in local newspapers. WBC began with an organized Bible study at 7pm Wednesday evening, January 24, 1973, held at the Woods’ home.
On March 4, 1973 the first Sunday service of Winslow Baptist was held in the Woods’ home. 13 people attending Sunday school, 5 attended Morning Worship, and 4 attended Evening Worship. In just 3 years, the Morning Worship attendance was averaging 70 people and the church was utilizing a bus ministry (supported by Haddon Heights Baptist). The bus ministry was a vital tool that helped WBC reach its community by providing transportation and meeting the needs of those throughout Winslow Township. WBC’s growth necessitated the procurement of a larger facility and thus WBC rented space at Winslow School #4.
On July 28, 1975 Pastor Woods, Dea. Victor Borovkoff, Dea. Jacob Fetzer, Acting Church Clerk Mildred McNicol, and Treasurer Floyd McNicol met with Attorney William Woodward to officially sign the letters of incorporation for WBC. Just a week later WBC purchased 5 acres of land that would become the current site of our building (Aug 2, 1976) and the land was completely paid off by 1978! The Lord transitioned the Woods family to a new ministry and called Rev. George Headley, Sr. Pastor Headley officiated WBC’s groundbreaking ceremony for her new building in 1981.
The Pisani era began when Pastor Headley needed to transition away from the senior pastorate due to his wife’s declining health. Pastor Keith Pisani came aboard and the church experienced continuous growth and a vibrant ministry. WBC fielded teams in several church sports leagues including basketball and softball. Missionary visits and outreach events were held. In 1985, another ground breaking was held to extend the auditorium and add needed Sunday school space. Membership reached 136.
In 1993, the Pisanis transitioned to a new ministry and WBC was blessed with Pastor David Hamilton, his wife Brenda, and their three children Jonathan, Bethany, and Brian. The Hamiltons served faithfully and brought much to Winslow. We had a renewal of the Summer Vacation Bible School program. The Family Life Center was purchased and expanded our space. Pastor Hamilton recommended our current Youth Pastor, Andy Shanks and his wife Kirsten. Andy Shanks and Pastor Willie Smith took over pastoral duties in the interim while we searched for our current Pastor, Rev. Nigel C. Black.
In May of 2011, God called Nigel and Eva, Joshua, Rachel, and Sarah Black to WBC. The Blacks had been serving in the Baltimore area for a number of years but clearly heard the Lord’s call to Winslow early in 2011. After a Summer of preparation for relocation, Pastor Nigel began on Monday, August 1st. The Blacks commuted to Winslow weekly as their home was on the market and were blessed to complete their relocation to Winslow Township on March 19, 2012. Pastor Nigel brings an emphasis on discipleship, spiritual formation, and relational ministry to WBC.
God Put Us Here
WBC continues her tradition to minister faithfully to Winslow Township. The small group of believers who initially moved to this location (which was a peach orchard!), often heard the question, “Why did you locate your church away from everything?” In the 70’s and 80’s Sicklerville was expansive farmland and tons of empty space. Yet, God had His reasons and by 1993, our early church leaders were delighted to see God’s wisdom and direction: WBC is situated perfectly, on a main street, surrounded by quickly expanding housing developments.
Today Sicklerville, NJ is one of the fastest growing and dynamic suburbs in the South Jersey. The church’s address is located in the midst of a major throughway to Philadelphia and Atlantic City. The once sparse farming community has developed into large suburban community. Over a thousand people drive WBC every single day and we’re thankful to God that He has placed us here.
We believe that God’s hand of providence has been evidently seen throughout the short, but action-filled history of WBC. We also believe that WBC’s best days are ahead as the Lord has given us a fresh directive to reach our community through a simple, process-driven vision that emphasizes the evangelism of the lost and the discipleship of the found.