Our Roots

A church at the corner of Superior and Ferguson Avenues was purchased in 1920, and a two-room school was build adjacent to the church.  Elder Leon Robbins conducted evangelistic meetings in the late 1930s and many new members were added.

Elder Calvin Osborne served as pastor and his ministry was assisted by Chester Spangler who did public speaking as well as conduct the choir. The church was blessed by the faithful colporteur efforts of Samuel Curry and Carol Circle.

Elder George Liscombe became the pastor in 1945, and was very active with the young adults.  The first SDA medical doctor in the Dayton, Ohio area, Dr. Kenneth Meyers, established his practice that same year.  The church grew rapidly; therefore, the need to enlarge or build new facilities became apparent, so a building fund was established.

The next pastor, Elder T.A. McCoy, continued the building fund.  There were many projects such as counting sales tax slips for rebates, bake sales, Christmas caroling, and asking for donations.  Several members of the congregation remodeled a house and sold it for a profit to benefit the building fund.  Others actually built homes and gave all the proceeds for the building fund.  A non-Adventist businessman matched the giving every month.  Many members sacrificed to hasten the completion of the building program.

Land was first purchased on the corner and Shroyer Road and Dorothy Lane; however, Elder McCoy was instrumental in finding a lot at the corner of Far Hills Avenue and Park Road.  The congregation was then stunned by a tragedy.  Elder McCoy was killed while working at the Mount Vernon camp meeting site.  The members worked even harder, following his death, to continue as they knew Elder McCoy would wish them to.

Labor strikes delayed the scheduled groundbreaking, but the members continued their efforts to benefit the building program.  In late 1949, Elder J.R. Johnson assumed the pastoral duties and the Far Hills Church was completed during his administration.  The first service at the new Far Hills Church was on October 17, 1952.

A tract of land at 2828 Wilmington Avenue was purchased for a new church school, Dayton Junior Academy and became operational in 1955.

Elder William Keith was the next minister to lead the congregation to significant growth.  In 1958, Elder Ralph B. Hill became the next pastor.  During Elder Hill’s tenure, in 1960, Kettering Memorial Hospital was built and staffed by Seventh-day Adventists.  Hospital administrators and employees came from all over the world to serve at the hospital.  The Far Hills Church grew rapidly and space for sitting and parking was very limited.  Soon it became necessary to establish a church in the area of the hospital.  Kettering Church was formed in mid-1960s and met in the Kettering College of Medical Arts (KCMA) gymnasium.

Elder William Hinton became the next Far Hills Church pastor, and Elder Peter Read was youth pastor for both Far Hills and Kettering churches.  By early 1970s, the same challenges developed and the Beavercreek Church, a satellite congregation, was formed.

The church school at 2828 Wilmington Avenue soon could not accommodate the rapid growth, and a larger facility was needed.  In 1968, Spring Valley Academy (SVA) was built, and is dedicated to the proper instruction of the lambs of the flock.

Elder Don Jacobson, Elder Don Reynolds, and Pastor Lloyd Logan served brief pastorates at the Far Hills Church.  Elder Ron Brett, who served as pastor for the next six years, was assisted at various intervals by Pastor Gerard Seton, Pastor Jim Hawkins, Pastor Fritz Krieger, and Pastor George Dutton.

In 1978, Elder C. Gerry Fisher came from Portland, Oregon, to accept the Far Hills pastorate.  He was assisted by Pastor Alan Perez.  The Far Hills Church, once again, grew to the point of crowded facilities, and a new Centerville congregation was the natural solution.  Concurrent with the growth at the Far Hills Church, Kettering Church announced its intention of starting a satellite church at the newly purchased property on the campus of the Sycamore Hospital location.

Elder Fisher and church members began to study what could be done to the church that would help alleviate the space issues at the Far Hills and Park Street location.  In addition to the aforementioned needs, the church was built for a much smaller congregation and lacked several amenities, i.e. ramps and/or elevator to accommodate the elderly, lack of heat in the bathrooms, and lack of kitchen facilities.  After many meetings and scores of options proposed, Pastor Fisher went to a church growth seminar at Andrews University and returned with the idea that the church should move to a more advantageous location.

This immediately polarized the members.  One group was sure the current plant was adequate and saw no reason to relocate.  The other group thought the idea was long overdue and was ready to go.  The pastor favored the relocation idea.  Other groups got into the action and offered their suggestions as to location and what the purpose of the church ought to be.  Some wanted the church to locate in the formerly outlined place of a chapel on the Spring Valley Academy campus.  If not on the campus, why not build on the property along the school property left by the Pennsylvania RR?  After considerable debate, the Far Hills Church membership divided into two groups, one to stay at the Far Hills location and continue to serve the immediate South Dayton area, and the other to rent the use of the SVA gym and classroom space to minister to Centerville, Bellbrook, Spring Valley, Waynesville, and Lebanon.