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History of the Hyde Park Baptist Church

"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:5


In the spring of 1954 Reverend Davis E. Gage, having pastored in Westerlo, New York, came to the East Park area to plant a church. Having been raised in the Rhinebeck, New York area, Pastor Gage often had traveled Route 9G. The large IBM plant in Poughkeepsie and other prospering businesses were bringing many new families into the East Park section of Hyde Park. With this population growth there was a need for a church there. Renting a house in East Park, Pastor Gage and his wife Irene opened their home for weekly children's Bible clubs and a Sunday afternoon Bible study. In the winter of 1954 they moved their Sunday meeting and Sunday School to the main meeting room of the Fairview Firehouse. In the two and a half years there, the Sunday School increased from three to seven classes. On November 30, 1956 a charter was drawn up. A charter meeting was called on the third of the following month. The eleven members adopted a constitution; with a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and baptism by immersion being the two requirements for membership. The name of East Park Community Church was chosen at this time.

The meeting place of the church again changed in the spring of 1957 as they were granted permission to meet in the Hyde Park Town Hall. As growth continued a need for a larger facility developed. An offering plate at the rear of the Sunday meetings was provided for gifts for a new building. Soon payment was made for the lot on Lister Drive in East Park. Slowly work began on the church in 1957 as the money was given. The footings were dug, three comers were set and the concrete floor was laid. That spring Pastor Gage was approached by men from Fire Co. #1, Roosevelt District who were masons. They wanted to donate a day's work and lay the walls for the new chapel. Fifteen men came and worked all day to complete the walls.

Davis Gage remained as pastor until 1963. John Koppenal took over the church. He also had a second church in Rhinebeck. The second church grew and finally requested he come as their full-time pastor. Fred Fatum took over interim pastor responsibilities until the church merged with Tabernacle Baptist Church of Poughkeepsie, New York. The East Park church was not able to maintain themselves financially; so on May 25, 1966 they were accepted as a branch church by Tabernacle.

The church called Norman W. Griess as their first full-time pastor in September, 1966. He stayed on until November 20, 1969. Davis Gage returned on February 4, 1970 to act as interim pastor for the church until April 8,1970 when Thomas Egbert came as full-time pastor.

Since the merger in 1966, the church changed its name to East Park Baptist Church. During Pastor Ebgert's pastorate, the church worked hard to become independent from Tabernacle Baptist Church. It was concluded in the Fall of 1970 that the church needed an average offering of $250 per week to become independent. They received their goal and also contracted on September 2,1970 the present parsonage to be built for $21,000 in the Golden Meadows development It was also at this time that members along with Pastor Egbert decided that the name East Park Baptist Church limited the church when it should include all of Hyde Park. Therefore, on April 14, 1971 the name was changed to Hyde Park Baptist Church. In August 1972 Pastor Egbert resigned.

On July 1, 1973 Pastor Earl M. Hosier from Rio Grand, New Jersey came to be pastor. At this time the church constructed a new constitution which included their by-laws for the legal separation from Tabernacle Baptist Church. The legal separation was concluded in April, 1974. At this time the church purchased an 8 acre lot on Crum Elbow Road on which the church planned to build for growing needs. As plans were made, difficulties arose which hindered the church to proceed with building plans. On March 17, 1976 Pastor Hosier resigned.

A troubled and hurt church sought for a new beginning and called Pastor William Peet to be their interim pastor in May, 1976. Many adjustments and improvements were made and the church once again saw growth both spiritually and numerically. Pastor Peet continued to be interim pastor until July, 1979 when the church decided to pursue a full-time pastor.

In May, 1980 Pastor Darrell Lewis was called by the church to be their full-time pastor. Again growth both spiritually and numerically allowed Pastor Lewis to continue with building plans on Crum Elbow Road. Again, difficulties arose which hindered plans for a new building to be carried through. In December, 1985 Pastor Lewis resigned.

The church was without a pastor for a year, but filled their pulpit with spirit-filled men until March 11, 1987 when Pastor William Ferguson was called. Pastor Ferguson implemented new programs to help the church grow. However, financial difficulties caused the church to consider their ability to retain a full-time pastor. On July 3, 1989 Pastor Ferguson resigned.

In 1989 Dr. Alwine, Director of Camp Transformation, became interim pastor. This began a rich relationship between the camp and the church. After the death of Dr. Alwine's wife, Sarah, he resigned his position. Once again the church was without a pastor, and filled the pulpit with many spirit-filled men. After this period of time, Pastor Jonathan Weaver, a church-planter from the Calvary Baptist Church of Glassboro, New Jersey made contact with Mike Green. Mike expressed at this time the desire for the church to have a full-time pastor, but that they lacked the means to support one. Pastor Weaver was enabled with the support of Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, PA, and Calvary Baptist Church in Glassboro, NJ to come on June 23, 1991 as full-time pastor. During the next 8 months the church grew to become independent of outside support.

Also during this time, the Crum Elbow property which had been for sale for some time was sold. The men that sold it gave the Hyde Park Baptist Church one-fourth of the proceeds. This was added to a building fund that allowed the church to pursue purchasing a piece of land where the church would have room to expand. Again, the church was becoming crowded for Sunday School space and adequate room for worship and parking.

In the early 1990's, the church soon outgrew the original building on Lister Drive.  The church was able to locate the present property on 9G and negotiated for a year to be able to purchase, closing in April, 1993. With the Lord's guidance, and many contractors that God had brought into the church, plans were made for the new building. A contract with Barden, Inc. was signed and details were worked out to begin construction on September 1, 1993. With the Lord's continual blessing, the first service in the new building on the 9G property was held December 12, 1993.   The new building was dedicated on January 9, 1994.  Also in 1994, the first parsonage was built on the church property.  The growing needs of the expanding congregation were met by taking on Pastor Richard Fitzgerald as Assistant Pastor.  In 1995, we were able to support him and his family full time.  Pastor “Fitz” managed the youth and children’s ministries and supervised the Sunday School program.  His wife, Debbie, a gifted musician, contributed greatly to our Music Ministry.

Our congregation continued to grow.  In 1996, Hyde Park Baptist Church completed construction of a new addition, our current auditorium.  The Dedication Service on March 2 of that year included the many who helped from the community as well as our own church family members.  The original building was renovated to make office and classroom space, and a larger Fellowship Hall.

The expanding ministry of the church necessitated administrative changes. A Sunday School Superintendent position was added, and Peter Nargi was asked to fill that position.  His vision and goal for the Children’s Sunday School program, and his heart for the children of this church  gave distinct direction to the teachers and volunteers.  Pastor Fitzgerald continued his ministry with the Teen, Singles and Adult ministries.  Many programs were implemented in this area, and our church family was edified and educated, as well as entertained through the fellowship activities.  In 1999, the church was able to purchase the adjacent lot, doubling the size of the church property.

The year 2000 was a busy one.  The original parsonage in Staatsburg was sold, a second parsonage was built on the property and a new Fellowship Hall was also constructed.   Peter Nargi became our Children’s Pastor.  His new position enabled him to oversee the AWANA program in addition to the Sunday School.  He began the Children’s Sports Ministry on Saturday mornings, which has grown to over 200 children participating, most from the community.  Assistant Pastor Richard Fitzgerald left HPBC to become Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Saugerties.

In June of 2001, Pastor Richard Buccio was hired as Assistant Pastor, to replace the vacancy.  Pastor Buccio took over the Adult Ministries, and Pastor Nargi handled the Children’s and Youth Ministry.  He was later given the position of Youth Pastor.

Over the course of the next two years, the Church was connected to the town water supply, and a third parsonage was built for the Buccio family.  The sports fields were upgraded, thanks to the sponsorship of the teams by local businesses in our growing Sports Ministry.

The year 2005 was one of big changes for the Hyde Park Baptist Church.  Pastor Jonathan Weaver left the ministry and moved out of the area.  Pastor Buccio became our Senior Pastor, and Pastor Nargi, Assistant Pastor.  The reorganization not only included the Administration of the church, but the Ministry focus as well.  Pastor Buccio’s vision was one of Family Centered Ministry - adults, youth and children worshiping, learning and working together for God’s glory.

With the exception of the very young, Bible Studies, Ministries, Outreach and Evangelism became all-inclusive.  The youth have embraced the opportunity to study and serve alongside the adults, and have matured in their attitude of service and commitment to the church, as well as growing spiritually.  The adults have taken on the opportunity to mentor the young people as they serve side by side, and all have grown from the experience.

The Church Constitution and By-Laws was revised in 2006, to reflect the new focus of the HPBC.  The membership of the church has been steadily growing for the past three years, and many more have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.  They have wholeheartedly joined in the works of this ministry.  

It is our prayer that the Lord would continue to keep His hand upon us, that we would be sensitive to His leading, and that we would be a congregation that will receive the blessing, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

April, 2008


Copyright © 2011 Hyde Park Baptist Church
All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/03/14