A Brief History of SVBC
One hundred years ago the Spokane Valley was little more than a desert of bunch grass and gravel. Mr. A.A. Kelly, an enterprising young man with a vision and determination, bought 20 acres of land for gardening and proceeded to dig a well for irrigation. The success of his gardening project prompted real estate men to buy land in the Valley, clear it of the many rocks, lay roads and dig wells. The land was laid out in five and ten acre tracts and settlement was encouraged. Greenacres was the original community to be settled in the Valley with Opportunity soon to follow.
In 1907, the first unit of the Opportunity school was built at the location of what is now Bowdish and Sprague. This school was made available for church use. Rev. J.E. Crowell of Liberty Park Baptist Church held services for the Baptists in the Valley.
On March 22, 1908, 29 men and women met with their pastor and organized the Opportunity Baptist Church. One of their first concerns was to erect a building. The Land Company offered to give some property to the first church to build in the Valley. Opportunity Baptist Church gladly agreed to their offer. A building committee was appointed and plans were made for the building of a new church. This little group of dedicated Baptists gave of their time and money and completed the building in April 1909.
On October 14, 1927, a fire broke out at the church and it was completely destroyed. That same evening there was a meeting and it was decided that the people of the church would rebuild. The Opportunity Christian Church building was not being used at this time, so they offered the Baptists the use of their building. During this time, it was voted to change the name of the church to the Spokane Valley Baptist Church. Nine months after the fire the first services were held in the new church. At the dedication service an offering was taken and pledges were made covering the entire debt of the church. At the annual meeting in 1941, the church members burned the mortgage. In 1945, a new building program was launched. After much discussion as to whether the present location of the church should be changed due to the limited parking space for cars, it was decided that the current location was the proper place. A new education unit was built for $8,000.00. The building attached to the church held a fellowship hall. In the late 1950ís, it was recommended by the Building Committee to relocate the church. Parking was very difficult at the location on Sprague and Union. Considerable study and research pointed to 12th and McDonald Road. The acreage was purchased and plans were on their way. The cornerstone was laid in the spring of 1960. By November, the congregation was able to hold the annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the new fellowship hall. The sanctuary was not completed, but there were many thanks that night for all that had been accomplished.
Dedication week was held in February, 1961. The new sanctuary was filled to overflowing for the Sunday afternoon service. A building committee once again was formed to plan the addition to our existing church. The new area would give us Sunday School rooms, multipurpose room, a new kitchen and the narthex area. There were also new offices built for the pastor and his assistant. This addition was put into use in 1984 and completed in 1985.