A BRIEF HISTORY OF ROSEDALE BAPTIST CHURCH
On July 25, 1943, messengers from several local Southern Baptist churches met under a tent in the Rosedale community of Richmond. On that Sunday night after a revival, Rosedale Baptist Church was formally organized with thirteen charter members. On August 15, 1943, Rev. Eldred Taylor was unanimously elected the church's first pastor at a salary of $90.00 per month. Church services were initially held in several rooms of the Baker House (historically known as Blair Park) at 108 Rosedale Avenue. In October 1943, the church moved from the Baker House to a 30' X 40" temporary "tabernacle" at 509 Westover Avenue. The building had a sawdust floor and was heated with a pot-bellied stove.
The tabernacle served as the church building for three years until sufficient property was acquired on Westover Avenue to start building a permanent structure. In September 1946, a basement had been dug and the church held its first service. In July 1951, construction of the remainder of the building was begun. Although financing for the new church auditorium were very uncertain, the faithful band of members endured great personal sacrifice to see their dream become a reality on Sunday April 5, 1953 when services were first held in Rosedale's new sanctuary. Through the years many improvements were made to the church, including adding a brick veneer, installing of hardwood floors and carpeting, air conditioning, padding pews, adding energy efficient windows, constructing a steeple, remodeling the basement into a fellowship hall, and countless other changes.
From the 1950s through the early 1980s a series of pastors oversaw the growth and development of Rosedale. The church was a strong witness to the nearby community, from which most of the members came. Many talented members contributed to the fulfilling of Rosedale's mission to reach the lost and unsaved in the Richmond community. Eventually, more property adjacent to the church on East Kentucky Avenue, Westover, and East Blair was acquired, which allowed Rosedale to offer more parking and a home for the pastor.
In January 1982, Mrs. Mattie B. Florence, a former member of Rosedale, made a gift of $8,500 in memory of her sister and brother-in-law to start a building fund. Approximately a year later, Dr. Paul Frick, a recent graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was called as Rosedale's eighth pastor. Shortly after Rev. Frick's arrival a building committee was formed and a very successful church-wide sacrificial giving program "Together We Build" was initiated. Over $110,000 was pledged in this program, which led to the construction of the current Educational Building, located just behind the old sanctuary. In October 1985, the Educational Building was completed, allowing much-needed Sunday school space. Soon the church started two morning worship services to accommodate increased attendance. In October 1991, 254 persons attended the Sunday morning worship service on Friend Day, the largest attendance in Rosedale's history. A month later the church approved a debt reduction program "50 More For 94" to raise $50,000 by the beginning of 1994 for the building fund. Additional property near the church was acquired and planning begun to develop plans for a new sanctuary that could sufficiently accommodate the needs of a growing and active membership. Rosedale became associated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Shortly after Rosedale celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in July 1993, another ambitious and spirit-led program, "Challenge To Build" was launched. Over $150,000 was pledged toward the construction of a new sanctuary. In June of 1994 Dr. Frick left Rosedale and was replaced by Brother Malcolm Lunceford as interim pastor. By January 1995 Brother Lunceford agreed to become Rosedale's full-time pastor. After much planning, consulting, and many prayers, church member and architect Allen Fincham and the building committee agreed on a design for the new sanctuary. Eventually, the Blythe and Denham Construction Company won the bid as builders of the $1,000,000 facility. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in April 1996 and the first service in the new sanctuary was conducted on Sunday, December 8, 1996. Dr. Frick presided over the dedication of the sanctuary on March 24, 1997, with over 325 persons in attendance.
In May 1999, Brother Tiger Pennington, a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, was called as Rosedale’s tenth pastor. Under his leadership the church maintained a strong commitment to outreach. The church helped found and continues to support two ministries—Grace, Now! and Health, Now! Clinic, which as independent, charitable organizations provide food, clothing, and health care to those with low income. In addition, Dr. Carolyn Morris, a Rosedale member, joined the staff as the Christian counseling minister and Clark Siler became the worship minister.
In May 2007 Pastor Pennington was called to be the minister of First Baptist Church North in Kansas City, Missouri. After his departure, Dr. Charles Mitkiff served as the church’s interim pastor until March 2009, when Rev. Chris Dotson, a graduate of Central Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, became the church’s new pastor. The church continued to maintain a strong commitment to neighborhood families, built a playground for children, and, most importantly, continued to lead people to Christ. In January 2018, Pastor John Weaver was called to be the minister. He served as interim minister for a year prior and is joined by his wife Beth. They reside in Lexington and Beth teaches English at Henry Clay High School. John previously pastored a church in North Carolina and one in Texas before moving to Kentucky.