The Delaware Avenue Baptist Church began as Olivet Chapel, a Sunday School organized in 1874 to serve residents in the North Street area. During this time, the congregation had acquired a small brick carpenter’s shop on Delaware Avenue near North Street to use as a school. Rev. Hotchkiss, pastor of the Washington Street Baptist Church, preached the first sermon in the chapel on September 13, 1874.
After two years of regular services, the church decided to expand the chapel. With plans for construction in June of 1882, members decided it was time to establish an official congregation. On December 1, 1882, the Olivet Baptist Church was formed with seventy-six members. On February 15, 1883, the chapel’s construction was completed. The chapel had seating for 400 on the main floor and 100 in the rear gallery. On March 4, 1883, the congregation held its first formal communion services and became known as the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church.
After the congregation’s unprecedented growth, members sought to construct a larger house of worship. In 1892, the congregation acquired property on North at Park Street for $26,000. However, in 1883, members voted to exchange the property for the current site on the east side of Delaware north of Bryant. In 1884, the former church had been sold for $30,000. Without a building in the winter of 1894 to 1895, the church held their Sunday morning services in the original Temple Beth Zion. On September 11, 1894, they laid the cornerstone of the building and on January 30, 1895, they held their first service. The building was designed by John H. Coxhead, an architect and member of the congregation, in the Richardson Romanesque style.
The church’s Board of Trustees is chosen by the Nominating Committee and they serve for three years. Other church council members are chosen annually and serve for one year. New members are approved by the Church Council.
The Delaware Avenue Baptist Church has since been home to over 3,700 congregation members. The church currently serves 250 members. Rev. Michael J. Robinson has been senior pastor since November 2007. The church offers Sunday School, Growth and Development classes, worship service, and Bible Study on Wednesday evenings. They also have a Youth Ministry program as well as Vacation Bible School. For additional information, please visit the church’s website at: http://dabc.org/