Our History

Our History

Home > About Us > Our History

On April 13, 1958, nine people from Bethel Baptist Church of Hartford began praying to start a new church in Bloomfield. They surveyed the town and found four hundred people who said they were willing to come and visit a new Baptist church in town. Encouraged by that response, the group made plans for a church start. On September 7, 1958, the first public worship service of Wintonbury was held in the Masonic Hall with seventeen in attendance. To be honest, the four hundred never did show up!

However, God had a plan and the church moved forward. On December 5, 1960 the property at 54 Maple Avenue was purchased and the dedication service was held on April 28, 1963. The church hired a pastor in 1961, Pastor Olsen, and began to grow slowly. In the late Sixties, Pastors Samuelson and Schaeffer led the church. Finally, in 1971, though attendance was sagging, the church voted to move forward and forego financial support from the denomination.

In 1972, faced with a do or die situation, the church took a last gasp risk by hiring a newly graduated, 25 year old pastor from Dallas Theological School – Rich Ainsworth. Rich and Kathy accepted a $100 per week salary and headed up to Bloomfield.

The church began to grow under Rich’s teaching ministry and by 1981, after a series of interns from Dallas, Steve Smith became the first associate pastor of Wintonbury. Eventually, the need for a new worship center was too great to ignore. On May 30, 1982 ground breaking was held for the new worship center with everyone in the church bringing a shovel. In November, people wrote Scriptures and Hymns, on the walls of the new worship center; and on Easter, April 22, 1984, the first service was held in the new building.

The church continued growing: in 1986, Steve and Carol Smith were sent out into the mission field with a sacrificial, financial commitment from the church. That same year saw the addition of a second worship service and the introduction of contemporary worship to Wintonbury.

September 14, 1986 a second “Contemporary” worship service was started.

In the ‘90s, a second building, 24 Maple Avenue was purchased with cash gifts to provide expanded office space. Small groups became the central ministry of the church as part of a new vision of lay leadership. Two associate pastors were hired: Andre Riendeau and David Owen. The church continued to grow.

Over the past ten years, the Lord has continued to grow the church and many lives have been changed. A new vision, the Six Initiatives, was launched in 2007 and has resulted in much change intended to renew Wintonbury’s original purpose of being a place where people can find a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

On July 1, 2012, Andre Riendeau officially assumed the role of Wintonbury's Lead Pastor. At that time, Rich Ainsworth - Wintonbury's Lead Pastor for 40 years - moved into a support role in which he will continue until his retirement on April 30, 2013. Wintonbury's new and first ever Executive Pastor (XP), Dave Blough, began working at Wintonbury on August 1st; his main responsibilities are complementing and supporting Andre as he leads the church.

 

 

Serving Christ in Bloomfield since 1958