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 vision for an evangelical, Bible-believing church in the immediate vicinity of the new state university, SMU, which is now UMass Dartmouth
Pastor Durfee was called home to heaven in January, 1964 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 became the Dartmouth Baptist Church, one of only three Baptist churches in the whole history of the Town of Dartmouth. Pastor Harding ministered with our church until 1969 when he became career missionary in Africa. In 1967 DBC purchased our current piece of land and constructed our first building.
A series of short pastorates followed, under ministers Ray Leavitt, Don Anderson, Bill Stroup, Mel Longtin and interim John Fernandez. Then, for several years the church was shepherded by a group of lay leaders--with a Plymouth Brethren model. In May 1983 Rev. Neil Damgaard from Dallas Theological Seminiary was called to become pastor.
Pastor Neil served for 36 years until his retirement in 2019. The ministry grew significantly, adding many team ministries, leadership and staff. We successfully merged with the Elim Baptist Church in 1991 (New Bedford, begun in 1899); designed, constructed and paid off the loan for our second building; affiliated with the Baptist General Conference (now called Converge Worldwide) and maintained our body and missions efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic and 2-year transition after Pastor Neil’s retirement. Pastor Mike Eddy, from Interim Pastor Ministries, served for 18 months providing significant guidance to lead the transition and search process. As a result, Dartmouth Bible Church decided to merge a second time with South Coast Church and hire Pastor Chad Hartis as our Senior Pastor.
We celebrate our church’s history and praise the Lord for his faithful provision and guidance through all the years of ministry in this region, and pray for continued growth and unity as we seek to leave a legacy of faith to future believers.