Since its first meetings in 1838, the Hinckley Ridge Baptist Church has been an integral part of the township’s history. Many of its charter members, such as Enoch and Betsy Buck; Arad, Lydia and Elizabeth Damon; Caleb Sarles, and Susanne Courtwright are familiar names to those who follow local history.
Over the years, Hinckley Ridge Baptist Church saw everything from a female pastor in the 1930s and ’40s – uncommon, especially in that time period – to a new building in 1967. What has remained the same throughout the years, however, is the tight-knit and loving nature of the parish.
The current Hinckley Ridge Baptist Church, shown on the left, was completed in 1967. The original church on the right was going to be moved and used by the Boy Scouts, but it was ultimately demolished instead. Photo courtesy Hinckley Ridge Baptist ChurchNow, Hinckley Ridge is welcoming its seventh pastor since 1899. The Rev. J. L. Holcomb, who was with the church from 1988 to 2018, officially retired to Virginia, to be closer to his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
Longtime parishioner Barbara Boyce said it didn’t take long for The Rev. Holcomb to feel at home at Hinckley Ridge after he moved to the community with his wife and young sons 30 years ago. Together with the parish, the Holcombs celebrated many milestones as a church family.
“He was not only a beloved pastor but he was a Bible scholar, a gifted teacher and a preacher,” said Boyce.
The parish often benefitted from his musical inclinations and beautiful voice as well, she said.
As the Rev. Holcomb continues his ministry into his retirement through his website, ThirstingSouls.com, Hinckley Ridge Baptist Church has concluded its year-long search for a new pastor.
In late September, the parish welcomed the Rev. Ben Newman. Newman graduated Bible college in 2005 in Indiana, where he met his wife, April. In the past 14 years, the pair has served the ministry in numerous capacities, working with many age groups, but Newman felt called to do more.
“Last year, I was very burdened with a desire to serve the Lord in a greater way. I prayed for an opportunity, and not long after we started helping out at Hinckley Ridge Baptist Church,” he said.
“Over time, the church got to know me, my wife and our six children,” Newman said. “Both the church and our family enjoyed this new relationship, and about nine months later they asked me to be their pastor.”
He added that the church has been very kind and welcoming.
“We are thrilled to be there and excited for the future of such a historic church,” Newman said. “We hope to be a light in the community of Hinckley and make a difference for the Lord there and beyond.”
He invites anyone in Hinckley Township or the neighboring communities to come visit as the historic church enters a new chapter in its story. Sunday service is at 11 a.m.