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In the Fall of 1953, a small group of believers, seeking fellowship and desiring to see the Gospel spread in the Hillside area, met in the home of the Harold Carlsons' who, at that time, resided at 246 High Ridge Rd., in Hillside. Just prior to this time a small group of these believers, with the help of Rev. Victor Sherling, canvassed this area to reach the un-churched or those with a Baptist background. At a meeting on November 14, 1953, this small group appointed Rev. Sherling as chairman of the Hillside Baptist Chapel and decided to ask Rev. Ivar Anderson to lead the services for a period of three months. Rev. Anderson led the services until the Lord led a regular student pastor to serve Him in His work. On June 16, 1954 Herbert Skoglund took over the pastoral duties of the Hillside Baptist Chapel. At this time, Sunday services were held at the Hillside American Legion Hall; and the Mid-week Service at the home of the Carlsons'. By October, 1954 the Lord blessed by making it possible to move the Sunday services to the Hillside Public School. The first Vacation Bible School already had been held at the school in June.
The Lord continued to bless the work, and under the leadership of Pastor Skoglund, the church was organized formally on March 13, 1955. At this meeting Pastor Skoglund was called by the church to serve as the first pastor. On July 11, 1955, the church was incorporated, and the name was changed to The Hillside Baptist Church. Subsequent to formal organization the church was welcomed into the following fellowships: the Baptist General Conference, the Midwest Baptist Conference, and the Baptist Mission Union. The church's ministry has been helped to a large extent by the financial and prayed support of these fellowships. The Constitution was approved on March 7, 1956, and at this time there were twenty-seven charter members.
On March 21, 1956, the church decided to purchase property for a future church site, and on July 11, 1956, final transactions were made to secure our present church property at 5152 Butterfield Rd.
Rev. and Mrs. Skoglund answered the Lord's call to the mission field in Japan, and he resigned his pastoral duties of the church on February 17, 1957.
On June 13, 1957 Robt. D.Erickson, having received a call from the church, assumed the official duties as pastor of the church. On May 8, 1957, the church entered into a contract to buy the present parsonage, and it was dedicated on October 13, 1957. Until the completion of the church building, the parsonage "fellowship room" was used for services that were not held in the school, with the exception of one youth club.
On March 5, 1958, the Constitution and By-Laws, as revised by the Constitution Revision Committee, were approved and adopted by the church.
On August 19, 1959, the church decided to enter into a contract for our present church building, which is Unit I of a "master plan," designed by architect Robert Taylor. A very impressive, spirit-led Ground Breaking Service was conducted on the property on the next day. On April 24, 1960, the church occupied the new building. On this first Sunday the first Baptismal Service in the building was held.
The Lord has certainly blessed and provided for the needs of the church, even in the struggles of the first few years. The membership has grown from a handfull to the present membership of 111. The average attendance for 1961 to date is: Sunday School, 169; Family Worship, 141; Evening Service, 73; Midweek Service, 36; and the combined clubs average over 100 every week.
Published in Sixty Years of Christian Stewardship 1901-1961. Prepared in commemoration of the Sixtieth anniversary of The Baptist Mission Union of America. 1961, p. 49-50.
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