HISTORY OF BERKLEY
From "East Greenwich Centennial booklet, 1881-1981"
Berkley Baptist Church began as a Union Sunday School in 1852, in
Mount Royal. Although a deed drawn up in 1853 specifically stated it was for a
Baptist Church, it remained an interdenominational group until 1887, when the
First Baptist Church of Berkley was organized with fifteen charter members. These
charter members were: Rev. J.T. Elwell, Mrs. V.H.R. Elwell, Charles Test, Elizabeth
L. Test, E.D. Meyers, J.S. Crawford, John Meyers, Annie Meyers, Emma M.S. Young,
William S. Young, Mrs. Hannah LeDent, Mrs. Jane Dunning, Mary E. Strohm, George
C. Fales, and Sara Fales.
Prior to this church at Berkley [Mount Royal],
those of the Baptist faith had to travel to Mullica Hill, a distance of 7 miles,
by horse and buggy, in all kinds of weather, and a closer place of worship was
denominations held services in this church for some time. The Zion Evangelical
Church, now located in Clarksboro, held Divine Worship in the German Language,
and organized here in 1879.
Berkley Baptist Church was officially recognized and admitted to the West Baptist
Association in 1888, and the membership had grown to thirty by that time.
July 25, 1891, the church was legally incorporated taking the name of "The
First Baptist Church of Berkeley." The five trustees named in the articles
of incorporation were: James A. Gould, James Hill, Edwin H. Dyke, George C. Fales,
and David Hendrickson.
1907, the church voted to raise funds for the "Up Building" of the church.
This project consisted of raising the church building and constructing a basement
to be used for a Sunday School, and also to install stained glass windows in the
September 5, 1907, the Mullica Hill church deeded the property to the trustees
of the "First Berkley Baptist CHurch" in Mt. Royal. These trustees were:
Charles Gunn, George Van Hook, Charles Hill, Joseph Hollis, and Charles Hollis.
1910, gas lighting was installed, and in 1922 electricity replaced this gas lighting,
In 1942 the church purchased new pews and a communion table and pulpit furniture.
1952 the Bell family donated the present organ to the church in honor of Mrs.
Sarah Dyke Bell, and in memory of Mr. George S. Bell Sr.
Doorway - Berkley
photograph by Janice Brown, April 2004
an addition was constructed which consisted of a Sunday School annex, with folding
partitions to close off six classrooms, a kitchen and rest room facilities.
1961, the Charles Dyke property was purchased and renovated for a rectory. The
interior renovation of the building was completed and ready for occupancy June
Sweeten Family donated one and a half acres of land to the church for a parking
lot. The area was graded and surfaced with gravel in July 1961.
first pastor was the Reverend J.A. Elwell, and the pastor in 1980 was the Reverend
Richard Bennett. The Berkley Baptist Church is located along Kings Highway, just
south of the Mt. Royal intersection.