Church History

In July of 1967, Dale and Leila Ras, with Gospel Missionary Union (GMU), moved from the Juneau area to Petersburg. Good News clubs, Sunday School and church were held in their home, which the mission had purchased on 3rd & G St. The first service was held on July 9, 1967 with 15 people in attendance. Later, Elsie Rempel (Williams) moved there and served with them for a short time.

In June of 1969, GMU purchased some property with a house situated on it. The missionary-pastor enlarged the dwelling and with the financial backing of the congregation built a church building. The first piling was driven September 19, 1969. Missionaries Dave & Betty Unruh served a term.  The church was completed and occupied in December of 1970. (Location: 606 Union St., now 112 Skylark Way) 

Missionaries Stan & Dellene Love moved to Petersburg in 1973 to conduct the airplane ministry from there. LaVera Nickel (Fenton) also helped in the church. The Ras family left Petersburg in 1974 and moved to Juneau. Stan Love directed the work of the church. From April 1975 until June (3 months) Ben & Doris Nickel served the church. 

In the fall of 1975 the church called Merle & Dorothy Caldwell from Montana. They ministered there until July of 1980. They were partially supported by the church. When they left, 2 important programs were underway at the church: (1) plans for an addition to the building; (2) plans for a constitution and the church’s becoming autonomous. 

Will Krauss moved to Petersburg in September, 1976, to help with the airplane work and the church. The airplane work ended the summer of 1977, and Will stayed on until November of 1981. For 2 years, Dave & Joan Olson served in Petersburg, on loan from Mission Aviation Fellowship, and were a great help to the church and airplane work. 

In September of 1980, Dick and Tally Saum visited Petersburg. Dick candidated for the pastorate and was called. They arrived from Seattle in November of 1980 and served until September of 1982. During this time as pastor the new sanctuary addition to the building was completed and the constitution accepted. 

While the church was without a pastor, the church was directed by two elders. The church was in the process of purchasing the parsonage from the mission. 

Don & Jody Wantland pastored 1983-1986, and the church then went without a pastor for five years. During that time a church board of all male members was instituted to lead the church.

In May of 1989, Doug & Robin Sachtleben arrived in Petersburg as missionaries to KRSA. Doug candidated for the pastorate in the fall of 1990 and was called, beginning full-time work in February 1991.In the summer of 1993 property adjoining the church was purchased for parking lot expansion and a new parsonage. Don & Jenny Cummins built the new house, completing it in April 1995. Doug Sachtleben left Petersburg December 31, 1996 to finish his schooling. 

In 1993 Steve Leston visited Petersburg and developed a friendship with Doug Sachtleben. In December 1996 Steve and his wife, Heather, came to Petersburg to candidate. In January 1997 Steve was called to be the pastor and moved to Petersburg in May 1997. Don Wantland served as interim pastor from January to May 1997. In June 2003 Steve and Heather moved from Petersburg to Illinois in order to help care for their parents.  

Phil and Jessica Smith visited in August 2003. Phil candidated for the pastorate and was called. They arrived in Petersburg in January 2004. On July 2, 2007, land was purchased on Sandy Beach Road and construction of a new church facility was begun in the fall of that year. Three years later on October 24, 2010 the first worship service was held in the new church building. With the growth of our congregation and the increasing opportunities for ministry inside and outside our church, in the winter and spring of 2012 a search was conducted for a pastor to join Phil in ministry. Demer and Dana Webb were invited to visit Petersburg in May of 2012 and were called. They moved to Petersburg in August 2012. In November 2013, in partnership with PBC Pastor Phil and his family moved to Illinois to join Leadership Resources International as their Global Ministries Field Director to assist in its ministry of launching pastoral training movements worldwide. In May of 2015, Demer and his family returned to ministry in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Jonathan Clemens arrived as an interim, living with his family here through September of 2015. They returned to Kentucky at that time. Pastor Don Higgins of First Baptist Church here in Petersburg faithfully filled the pulpit from September 2015 through March of 2017.