Our Church History

Where we've come from...

2015-Current

Edward Stutz came in view of a call on April 11, 2015. The church called him as their new senior pastor on the same day, and he began his ministry on June 7, 2015.

Edward F. Stutz was born on October 24, 1957, in Buffalo NY. He was raised in a Roman Catholic family. During his teenage years he strayed from the church and any sort of religious practice. He married his wife Heather in Buffalo, NY June 22nd 1979. At the age 22, while attending a Baptist church, Heather and Ed came to understand that salvation comes by repentance and faith through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. On their first wedding anniversary, during the evening worship service, Heather and Ed committed their lives to Christ, made a public profession of faith in the First Baptist Church, Heath, Ohio, and promised God that they would do their best to live for him. In October of 1986, upon experiencing God in many wonderful ways through the study course MasterLife, Ed sensed a very real and convincing call from God into the gospel ministry. The call was sealed in January 1987, on Baptist Men’s Day, when Ed was given the opportunity to preach. Ed’s vision of the ministry is that the priority of the church is worship, which involves an unwavering obedience to the Lord’s commands thus fulfilling the greatest command of loving God. Second to loving the Lord, his disciples are commanded to love one another. Obeying these commands will be accomplished primarily by making and training disciples as instructed in the Great Commission. To carry out these tasks it will take commitment and the cooperative team effort of every believer and leader in the church.

Ed received his Doctor of Ministry, in May 2008 from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, California. He previously received his Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri along with his Bachelor of Science in Psychology, in May 1992 from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, Missouri. Ed has several years of Ministry Experience, he has been an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, in Phoenix, Arizona; 2009-2015, He planted and then pastured the Family of Faith Fellowship, in Queen Creek, Arizona; from 2004-until May 2015, when he came to Rhode Island as our Senior Pastor. Ed served as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Show Low, Arizona; 1998-2004, Beaucoup Baptist Church, Pinckneyville, Illinois; 1992-1998; Pastor Concordia Baptist Church, Concordia, Missouri; 1987-1992; and as a Deacon at First Baptist Church, Heath, Ohio; 1985-1986 and Concordia Baptist Church, Concordia Missouri; 1986-1987 where he was licensed to preach in February 1987 and then ordained to the Gospel Ministry in October 1988. Ed and Heather have three children and seven grandchildren.

2006-2014

Dr. David Clay Smith came in view of a call on Feb. 7, 2006. The church voted to call him as their new senior pastor on Feb. 21, 2006 and he began his ministry on March 19, 2006. David was born on August 24, 1956 and grew up in Roanoke, Virginia where his parents and four brothers still live. David trusted Christ as his Savior when he was eight years old. Through the guidance of his parents and pastor, he came to understand how to be saved and at that time publicly professed his faith in Christ and was baptized. David is thankful for the godly influence of his family and church leaders who discipled him through his teen years.

David attended Bluefield College where he met his wife, Betty Hayes Smith. They were married on August 6, 1977. David and Betty moved to Orlando, Florida to work with Youth for Christ and David received a BA in History from the University of Central Florida. David also served as Youth Minister at a church in Orlando. It was at this time that David sensed God’s leadership and call to become a pastor and they moved to Ft. Worth, Texas to attend Seminary. David earned his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in May 1983. While in Texas, David pastored two churches and then was called back to his home state of Virginia where he served two churches, the last of which he planted through the North American Mission Board of the SBC. Nearly seven years ago, David and Betty moved from Virginia to Raleigh, North Carolina, where they planted River Oaks Community Church. David earned his Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2001. David and Betty have two grown children. David was called to Tusculum Baptist Church in Greeneville, Tennessee. His last sermon was on July 6, 2014, after which David and Betty moved to Tennessee.

1984-2004

Then in June of 1984 Rev. Richard Wright was called to pastor the church. Pastor Wright grew up in the Groton area of Connecticut and his family was originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. He had attended seminary at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. Once again the congregation grew out of the existing space and plans were made for an even larger church which would incorporate the existing structure. Ground was broken in 1988 for a new worship center with additional office and social space, with actual construction beginning in 1989. After countless hours of volunteer work from church members and teams from South Carolina, the new church building was dedicated in November of 1990.

The church was able to call Rev. Kevin Knox as our Associate Pastor, during this growing period, first on a part-time basis, then full time. He and his wife Debbie came here on faith, with no job prospects, from Michigan to serve the Lord. Rev. Knox was bivocational for some time as a carpenter and the Lord used him strategically in guiding our building addition to completion. However, in August of 1994, Pastor Knox, resigned and became the pastor of Hornersville Baptist Church in Hornerville, Mo.

In July 1995, Rev. Tim Buehner was called as Minister of Education & Youth. Tim and his wife Marcia were originally from Cleveland, Ohio and were originally members here from 1986 to 1991. The Lord called Tim to full time ministry in and through this church and he and his family left for seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, never expecting to return. The Lord and the church thought otherwise and he accepted a call to Faith in 1995.

In August of 1999, Dr. Neil Olcott was called to become our senior pastor after Pastor Richard Wright accepted a call to First Baptist Church of West Plains, Missouri. Dr. Olcott was born and raised in the Syracuse, New York area.

Dr. Olcott had pastored in Massachusetts and Kansas City, Missouri. His calling to ministry came when he was 24 and was working with some teenagers in Youth Ministry. Since that day he has continued to see that calling strengthened. Dr. Olcott lead us through a major remodeling of our facilities, a revitalization of our worship methods and a reform of our leadership principles. Dr. Olcott has since moved on to another calling as of November, 2004 in Pennsylvania.

1967-1980

Faith Baptist Church has been blessed over the years since constituting on February 7, 1967. From its earliest beginnings the church lived up to its name! Its FAITH ignited the church’s passion for the lost and inspired the church’s commitment to do what God has called the church to do. Faith Baptist Church began in 1966, first meeting in homes, then later moving to the Biltmore Hotel in Providence. It was then called Providence Baptist Church. Rev. Frank Chase accepted the church’s call to become its first pastor. He began as a full time minister on the first Sunday of November in 1966. Then, in 1968, Rev. Marion Hayes was called to pastor the church and continue the work in Providence. The congregation soon felt the need of a church building as their numbers grew. They placed an ad in the newspaper, a contact was made and they were given a church on Rounds Ave. in Providence, plus the building fund amount of $5,000.

As the church grew, they later purchased a house next door to the church for Sunday School space. After ministering to the community there for 7 years, they prayed about a site for a new building. In 1979 they purchased 2 acres in Warwick on Commonwealth Ave. It was at this Warwick location that Providence Baptist Church became Faith Baptist Church. Within a year a building had been erected.

As the church grew, they later purchased a house next door to the church for Sunday School space. After ministering to the community there for 7 years, they prayed about a site for a new building. In 1979 they purchased 2 acres in Warwick on Commonwealth Ave. It was at this Warwick location that Providence Baptist Church became Faith Baptist Church. Within a year a building had been erected.

Pastor Marion Hayes resigned as pastor in 1980, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia to fill the position as Director of Missions for Dunwoody Baptist Church. After a period of some months, Don Hare (formerly a dean at a boys Christian College), moved to RI, after having come here as part of a work crew. He later married a member of church. At this time he felt a call into the ministry, was ordained, called and served as Pastor of the church for approximately one year, before resigning. During this transition, the church began declining in membership; but due to some financial help from the Home Mission Board, the loving guidance of the newly called Interim Pastor, Tom Moncrief (Direction of Missions for SNEBA), and God’s perfect plan for the church, the church survived.

What's Coming

As we have experienced from our many years of history, the church has seen all sorts of growth since its beginning. During the later part of the 1980’s until the church moved into the present worship center in 1990 there was tremendous growth as God blessed. The church peaked in the early 90’s and floundered a bit in the past few years as it fluctuated in size and met new demands on its ministries. 

We are certainly in a growth mode once again and have renewed with the adoption of six core values outside of God’s great mission for us. We believe God has prepared this church to turn to a new chapter of life to bring Christ more glory by being a body that values:

  • Missional attitude in all we do (using an Acts 1:8 strategy)
  • Faith that is God sized, Unity
  • Spiritual growth that is measurable and transformational
  • Intimate relationships in community
  • Submission to Christ centered leadership
  • Gift based servanthood