Lake Don Pedro Baptist Church history
The greatest day in the history of the Lake Don Pedro Baptist Church was October 5, 1980, the day the Lake Don Pedro Baptist Church mission was born. The sister church was Friendship Baptist Church of Ceres, Rich Barker, was the pastor.
The mission pastor was Lowell Barnes along with Billie, his wife. They were members of Friendship and moved here upon retirement to the Lake Don Pedro subdivision.
“That Sunday, October 5, 1980, the church met for the first time in a rented, one-room schoolhouse on Merced Falls Road. Seven people attended Sunday school, 24 came for worship service, the offering was $160.79, four people came at the invitation to join Friendship church and work in this mission. They were Gerri Siemans, Mel and Aggie-Lou Thompson and Mabel Tubbs. That made six people to spread the gospel in this community”, said Billie Barnes.
In the next 17 months, 19 more came forward for membership bringing it to 25 members.
On February 21, 1982, LDPB was accepted into the Central Valley Southern Baptist Association and officially became a church. This little congregation had started a building fund and had almost $15,000 in cash; they had sold bonds and had plans to start a church building.
On September 5, 1982, a notice printed in the bulletin read “work starts on the church building on Tuesday at 8 AM, bring your hammer and come and help us”. By December they had their Christmas program in the new building with no electricity and no heat, bare floors, bare walls, but a great program was seen by 81 people with a real live baby Jesus, 39-day-old Buddy Moles. The church never again met in that little schoolroom. The congregants used afghans and sat very close together to keep warm.
There were 10 more people who joined in membership the Sunday after the church was officially organized.
The first year there was an average of 11 in Sunday school, 24 in worship and an average offering of $173.83. The second year the average grew to 17 in Sunday school, 31 in worship and $229.46 in offerings. After the building got started, more people became involved in the last three months of 1982 with an average of 22 in Sunday school, 39 in worship and $721.40 in offerings.
In 1984, Pastor Lowell was diagnosed with cancer. After seeking God’s will in prayer, the church voted Hans Frei as interim pastor. Lowell Barnes passed away in December, and the church asked Hans to stay on as permanent Pastor. He and his wife, Susie, were Bible College graduates seeking a place to serve in ministry. They had a 2-year old son and a newborn daughter. Hans had spent a year in Greeley Hill as an exchange student from Germany during high school and was living in Greeley Hill to be near Susie’s family.
The building continued with the help of many hands. The original building was still a shell in 1984, but slowly the dry wall, floors, downstairs kitchen and classrooms were completed. The “new building” was added on with additional classrooms, kitchen, restrooms and fellowship hall.
Over the years the church has grown in so many ways under Pastor Hans’ leadership. There have been ups and downs but God has been always been faithful. The Church is an integral part of the Lake Don Pedro Community.
We have several adult Sunday school classes which we call our “small groups” plus Sunday school for children and youth. Our service schedule includes a Saturday evening service and Bible study on Wednesday night for all ages. We believe the best days for the church are still ahead. We encourage you to come and be part of that future.