History

Dartmouth Bible Church began as Dartmouth Baptist Fellowship in April of 1963 in the home of Rev. Chaloner and Ruth Durfee on Collins Corner Road in North Dartmouth. Pastor Durfee had been pastor for 13 years of the historic First Christian Church of Hixville (founded in 1780). He had a sense of vision and felt there would be need for a new evangelical and Bible-believing church in the immediate vicinity of the area where a new college was scheduled to be built. Ground was broken for the first structures for what became the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in 1964.

Pastor Durfee was called home to heaven in January of '64 only eight months after beginning the new fellowship. Mrs. Durfee and a few stalwart members of the fledgling church prayerfully decided to continue the new church plant and Pastor James Harding was called next. The church also became the Dartmouth Baptist Church, one of only three Baptist churches in the whole history of the Town of Dartmouth (incorporated in 1664). As well, DBC affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, an association which lasted until 1980. Pastor Harding ministered with our church until 1969 when he was called to minister in Africa with AIM, which became his career. Under his ministry, DBC purchased our current piece of land and constructed our first building in 1967-68.

A series of short pastorates followed, under ministers Ray Leavitt, Don Anderson, Bill Stroup, Mel Longtin and interim John Fernandez (who came from California to be interim pastor for six months). Then, for several years the church was shepherded by a group of lay leaders--with a Plymouth Brethren model, and in this time the church also detached from the BGC. The Coffee House ministry was also begun in this time. Rev. Neil Damgaard from Dallas Theological Seminiary was called to become pastor in May 1983.

During these years, to date, our ministry has grown to our current size; undergone a complete merger with the Elim Baptist Church in 1991 (New Bedford, begun in 1899); designed, constructed and paid off the loan for our second building and parking area; re-affiliated with the Baptist General Conference (now called Converge Worldwide); instituted an Awana Clubs ministry; connected with several "sister" churches in the immediate area for semi-annual joint services; developed a good connection to U. Mass. Dartmouth; enjoyed the ministries of several staff pastors and ministers; developed a wide missions effort and series of ministries (local, national and international); grown the Coffee House ministry to a regular monthly event; began a lay Bible Institute and developed a large theological library; trained many for local church leadership as elders, deacons and deaconesses, trustees, Sunday School, Awana and youth leaders, etc.; instituted a church-wide child safety screening and training program; and placed high value on prayer in all things, love and acceptance and balance as the glue and mortar which keep us together. The glory of the Savior has been our heartbeat since the beginning and we trust and hope He will continue to be pleased to use us for His plan in the years to come.