Highland Baptist Church was born out of the desire of a group of men and women who wished to worship and do mission together – in their own language. Back in the days before World War I, when Kitchener was called Berlin, the only Baptist church in town (now Benton Street Baptist Church) conducted their services in German. However, as the city became more diversified, people were moving into the area who did not speak the German language. At the instigation of a concerned group within Benton Street congregation, and after some initial research it was decided to begin a new English speaking Baptist church.
With the blessing of the German congregation at Benton Street, in 1895 a new church was launched with 25 charter members.
In the beginning the church met on Sunday evenings in the Court House, then in the YMCA. Two years after their launching the members, in faith and with sacrificial giving, bought two lots on the corner of King and Water streets and in September 1897 the corner stone was laid for King Street Baptist Church.
Within ten years the congregation had outgrown that first building so plans were made for a new building in the heart of the growing city. That new building opened its doors onto the rapidly developing main street.
Following the Second World War, there was an emphasis within the Baptist Convention to plant new churches in developing areas. Kitchener-Waterloo was such an area.
King Street Baptist Church
Since the King Street congregation was outgrowing its space and the buildings were in need of major repairs, the church was faced with a major decision. These were their options:
- Enlarge their present facility?
- Plant a new congregation?
- Relocate to a new area of the city?
As they considered these options, circumstances combined to allow for both options two and three. Property was bought in the Breithaupt Park area to become home to a new congregation with 37 charter members sent out from King Street. A new property on Highland Road was also purchased as a new location for the King Street congregation. A gift of land and the sale of the King Street property to the Imperial Bank facilitated these developments.
In September 1958 the cornerstone was laid for Highland Baptist Church and following an intense building program the dedication of this new building was held on April 5, 1959. A series of special opening celebration services were held throughout the month of April.
Highland Baptist Church
These words are from the dedication prayer at the opening service on Highland Road:
And now, as a congregation within the household of God, compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses, grateful for our heritage, sensible about the sacrifices of our fathers…we, also, do dedicate ourselves anew to the worship of God and to the service of His Kingdom. AMEN.
In October of that same year a dedication service was held for the opening of Glen Acres Baptist Church at the Breithaupt Park area property.
Even while the new church on Highland Road was being built the King Street church leaders began looking for an area in which to plant a third church. Consequently property was purchased in the developing Stanley Park suburb. Services were first held in a portable facility on the property beginning in January 1968 and the sod was turned for a permanent building in May 1969. Sixty-three people, most of who were from the Highland Road congregation, became the charter members of Stanley Park Baptist Church.