VALLEY BIBLE CHURCH is a community of people who gather in Haddam from over thirty towns in the Connecticut Valley to worship God and to help and encourage each other to become better disciples or followers of Jesus Christ.
The Church began in 1978 when a group of people who had been attending churches in other towns began to meet together on Sunday evenings for Bible Study and prayer in homes in the Haddam area. In 1980 the group began conducting regular Sunday morning worship services, and in 1981 called the church’s first full time pastor, Rev. Gary Highlander. Gary was the pastor until 1988. Rev. John Westerholm became the second pastor in January of 1990. Pastor John has been Senior Pastor at Valley until the present.
Other staff members have included: Brad Chase as youth pastor from April 1988 to December 2002; Seth Nuzum as Director of Student Ministries from October 2003 to August 2012; Mark Imbriglio as Director of Student Ministries from October 2012 to 2015. Doug Knowles came on staff from 1999 to 2009 as Associate Pastor. Peter Sanderson served from 2006 to 2009 as an Assistant Pastor. Chad Hemphill has served as Associate Pastor from January 2010 to the present. There have been many Administrative Assistants in the office through the years. The most recent is Lisa Swanson who has served the Lord and his church here at Valley since October 2007. We thank the Lord for each staff person and the ministry they have had and influence they continue to have for the Lord’s glory here at Valley.
From its earliest days Valley Bible Church sought to be associated with other churches both for fellowship, support and to be a part of the larger body of Christ. This association led to membership in the Evangelical Free Churches of America in 1979.
From a facilities standpoint the infant church lead a nomadic existence, meeting at first in the old Haddam Town Hall (a.k.a. “The Academy”), and sequentially through the following Town of Haddam buildings: Olde Schoolhouse Meeting Place (across from the Brainerd Library), Haddam Elementary School, and Burr District School. Because of its central location HES became a preferred and effective venue. Mid-week prayer meetings and choir rehearsals were held in the original combination library/dining hall building at Camp Bethel.
The church purchased property on Turkey Hill Road in Haddam in 1984, opening for worship services utilizing a multipurpose room in November 1986. The Lord’s timing was perfect in that asbestos-removal at Haddam Elementary, in conjunction with the construction of the new auditorium, would have soon evicted the fledgling church, leaving it with no adequate central meeting place. There have been two additional building phases, one for Sunday School rooms and a kitchen in 1990 and the present two-story worship center, youth center and adult classrooms in 2005.
Valley Bible Church has had a purpose “to be and make disciples of Jesus” since the early 90’s. There have been several forms that this has taken in the years since then. In 1994 Valley Bible Church experienced great growth numerically and spiritually through a series of Navigator “2:7” classes. Those continued for five generations of classes from the original two groups. In 2010 the church voted to restructure its organization introducing elders as overseers and establishing directors in ministry to seek to facilitate both discipleship as an emphasis as well as to encourage ministry outside the church in the community. We seek to “do good works to build good will in order to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Valley Bible Church has also maintained a strong overseas missions presence for all these years including both support of those who serve the Lord in other countries as well as many who have gone on short term trips to locations around the world.
We look to the future with hope, not in our past or in our present but in the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ who is not only Lord of the church but also Lord of all history. We believe that all of history moves toward the day when he will be recognized as King of kings and Lord of lords. We are pleased and desire to be a faithful part of his work until that day comes.