MAKing jesus known for over 225 years

Just 10 years after the United States Constitution was signed, the early settlers in what is now LeRoy Township began meeting for worship in the log cabin of Deacon Seeley Crofut, located on the present site of the LeRoy Cemetery east of town. The first Sunday School was conducted in a school house west of what is now the intersection of Route 414 and Bailey’s Corners Road. At the time, LeRoy Township did not yet exist and the border between Canton and Franklin Townships was also near this intersection. The church congregation, as a result, grew in Franklin Township over the years. In 1835, LeRoy Township was formed and more settlers began to move here. In 1842 the members of the Franklin church who were then living in LeRoy, requested that they be dismissed from the membership in order to plant a new church in the village of LeRoy. The new church was named LeRoy Baptist Church. Members then met in the schoolhouse in the center of LeRoy (a building that was later moved and is now located next door to the church on Mill Street).

In 1855, the members built and dedicated the church sanctuary. Over the years, many accepted Christ and were baptized either in the Towanda Creek or in the mill pond next to the saw mill that was once located on what is now the LeRoy community grounds. Major renovations were made to the church sanctuary in 1898 to make it look much as it still does today. In 1914, Charles L. Lamb, who had been raised in the LeRoy Baptist Church and had since moved to Minneapolis and had been blessed with a great deal of wealth, purchased a new pulpit, pulpit chairs, and pews for the church in honor of his boyhood home. Charles Lamb died in 1924 and left a significant amount of money in trust to the church. This was to be the beginning of many years of the Lord’s provision. When 1929 rolled around, the stock market crashed and the nation was plunged into the Great Depression. According to church member, Myra Whipple, who was church treasurer at the time, if the Lord hadn’t provided the Lamb Trust payments through the Depression and on until 1949, the church would have closed its doors, the expenses being double the income at the time.

It was during the 1940’s that Lyle Pepper served as pastor and many of his descendants have served and continue to serve in the church to this day. During the pastorate of Paul Dale, the Lamb Trust came to full term and the church was allowed to withdrawal the entire amount of the trust. Due to significant growth of the congregation at the time, a cinder block addition was added to the church containing space for Sunday School, fellowship, and other activities.

In 1978, the church called Pastor Ray Ackley who began his ministry here. The following year, the church held the first AWANA meeting for children on February 23, 1979 and the name also changed to LeRoy Independent Baptist Church. The church grew tremendously, using the neighboring grange hall in addition to the church building for Sunday School and AWANA. In 1980, the church added Sunday School rooms and an AWANA game room. Over the next 33 years many children and adults were saved through the AWANA program, including many who now lead the various ministries of the church today.

Over the past decade, much of the building, and the methods of outreach have been updated – but one thing has not changed – the preaching and teaching of the inerrant Word of God as preserved for us in the Bible. To this day, over 200 years later, the LeRoy Independent Baptist Church is still a lighthouse to the lost and we look forward to what the Lord will continue to do in the lives of our congregation and our community.