Seventy years is a long time if you are looking forward, but looking back it seems as if it were only yesterday.
On December 3, 1945, Fairmont Presbyterian Church was incorporated in Van Buren Township, now the City of Kettering, with 42 members. Rev. Roland “Rit” Anderson was the founding pastor and Marguerite Bowden was the first organist. The young church first met in the dance hall at Dayton’s Community Golf Course, then in members’ homes, briefly in the (now demolished) Dorothy Lane Fire House and the Dorothy Lane School.
In January 1948, a new “basement” church was dedicated which is directly under the present sanctuary. The cost of the “basement” was $95,000 (in 1948 dollars) and eight men of the church took it upon themselves to sign the bank loan.
In 1951, Fairmont realized that the growth of the congregation was calling for more space. A fund drive was conducted to superimpose a new sanctuary on the three year old “basement” and add a wing for the Sunday school rooms, a library, and a social hall. In January, 1952, the cornerstone was laid, and in the following year, the sanctuary was dedicated. By 1955 membership had grown to 1,300, and an expansion of the education wing was begun. By 1959, membership was over 1,800 and Fairmont had the largest Sunday School enrollment in Ohio. Membership peaked at 3,000 in 1973, as Kettering became a booming suburb of Dayton.
The current membership stands at 500 committed members who look to the future with great faith. In 2006, Fairmont more than doubled the size of its parking lot and the lot is often filled on Sunday mornings. In 2007, Fairmont launched a Sunday morning Casual worship service in the Fellowship Hall led by a Praise Band. This service now gives Fairmont the option of two different styles of worship: informal and traditional.
Fairmont Presbyterian Church has been innovative in worship, spiritual nurture, reaching out to the local community with hands-on ministries, youth ministry, the Fairmont Preschool (the longest continuously running preschool in Kettering), and reaching out to the world through global mission support. In all that Fairmont does, the goal is to share the good news of Christ’s love, salvation, and grace. Fairmont’s legacy of being Christ’s church in the heart of Kettering and throughout the world has nurtured countless people in the past and will continue to do so in the future. To God be the glory for 71 years and counting!