History

Blue Ridge Bible Church began in the fall of 1949 as a Bible Study in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Bellanti. The group formally organized as a church in June 1951. They purchased property at 8524 Blue Ridge and began building. Rev. Wendell Grout was called as pastor in 1953, and the congregation of about 60 people began to grow.


During Pastor Grout's ministry, Blue Ridge went through three building expansions. The first was a sanctuary added on top of the original basement. Other additons included classrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms, and eventually a newer sancturay. This sancturay was lost in a fire in 1992 and is now the Fellowship Hall.


God put the burden on Pastor Grout's heart to increase the church's giving to missions. The annual budget of missions was around $1200, and by 1970 it had grown to over $50,000. Several families were sent out from the church as missionaries including the Sam Bellanti family in whose home the church began.


Rev. David Hazen came to Blue Ridge in 1963 as the Associate Pastor. Pastor Hazen was deeply burdened for children and families. In 1969, Blue Ridge Christian School was formed with classes PreK through third grade. 


In 1970, Pastor Grout left to take a pastorate in Minnesota. He left a congregation that had grown from 60 to 450. Pastor Hazen served as the interim pastor until he and his family moved to Idaho in 1971.


Gary Card accepted the call as Pastor in 1972 and served for eight years before he and his family moved to New Jersey. During his term as pastor, Blue Ridge erected an education building and embarked on a new phase of expansion of Blue Ridge Christian School. We had our first graduating class in 1981.


In 1982, William Ross became the Senior Pastor. 1980's was a decade of tremendous physical change. There were numerous remodeling projects and additions made throughout the facility benefiting both the church and school.


In the late 1980's the focus on missions was stronger than ever. In 1988-89 there were at least seven families or individuals preparing for service on the mission field and total disbursements to missions was over $132,000 - up $81,000 from just three years earlier! In 1989 a group traveled to Aracatuba, Brazil. This was the first of our now annual adult missions outreach trips, which have allowed us to work "hands-on" with our missionaries in such areas as Germany, France, Brazil, and various areas of the U.S.


Again in the 1990's "change" was the key word for Blue Ridge. On Easter night 1992, the entire sanctuary of the church was gutted in a fire caused by an electrical short, making both the church and a good part of the school unusable. The leadership of both the church and school scrambled to shift services to the gymnasium and rearranged school classes. This proved to be a time of sorrow and testing for all attenders of Blue Ridge, but ultimately drew us closer to each other and the Lord.


In late 1993, reconstruction of the former sanctuary in to a fellowship hall, kitchen, and library was completed, and the building of our new sanctuary began. We held our first service in the current sanctuary in September 1995.