Who We Are
Valley Baptist Church was started in 1958 when Frank Brown, a truck driver from Ohio, felt the need to begin a new church in the Middletown area. Frank opened his home on Bradford Ave to a small group of young couples and children who made up the congregation.
When attendance outgrew the Brown home, the church bought a vacant lot next door and started building the following year. The group occupied the structure as soon as the sub-floor and roof were finished.
Ralph Neighbor, who went on to become an internationally noted author and church starter, became the church's first pastor in the spring of 1960. And during VBC's second pastor's tenure, the congregation built a new facility at its current location on North Union St across from what would eventually become Middletown Area High School. In May of 1991, lighting struck the steeple of that facility and set the structure on fire. By God's grace the fire insurance had just been upgraded the week before, allowing the church to rebuild a beautiful and more functional facility.
While many of the first church members were transplanted southerners or service men and women attached to the Olmstead Air Force Base (now Harrisburg International Airport), the make up of VBC is now decidedly varied and local. Our family is composed of those whose lives are invested in the Middletown area and represent a half dozen nationalities.
Valley Baptist has a rich history of missions involvement by starting daughter congregations throughout the Susquehanna Valley, some of whom have gone on to start other churches themselves. Our current pastor, Jerry Cowan, was called from the Red Land Baptist Church of New Cumberland, PA which was started in 1985 by Country & Town Baptist of Mechanicsburg, PA which itself was started by Valley Baptist in 1962. Valley now has seven generations of daughter churches that have started a church, that have started a church, that have started a church...(You get the idea.)
While the Valley family has a rich heritage to celebrate, we recognize that of greater importance is the great destiny we have to claim. We would love to have you join us in that endeavor.