History of the First Baptist Church of Spring Valley
Written by Ron Shrock
The First Baptist Church of Spring Valley was founded January 1, 1948, and initially met in a garage. That same year they bought two single acre lots for $100. (Can you imagine what they would cost today?) The men of the church designed the first building and erected it themselves. Still in 1948, they called their first pastor, who remained with them until his retirement in 1960.
To assist in attracting a new pastor, the church sold the old small parsonage located just west of the main building and used the $30,000 income to build the present parsonage, office building and Sunday School building. Their next pastor served for eleven years and then went to the mission field.
In September of 1985, the church called its present pastor, Thomas Cassidy, who led the church to new growth in the 1990ís with a high attendance of over 120. San Diego Baptist Bible Institute was started and during the 20 years of its existence, over 50 men were trained for the gospel ministry. Spring Valley Baptist Academy was started in 1988 and grew to approximately 60 students. Due to the increasing desire for home schooling, the decision was made to discontinue the Academy and focus on assisting parents in home schooling their children.
Most of the church at that time was military personnel. With the base closures and resulting transfers, the church lost 80% of its membership over the next 10 years. Due to advancing age and deteriorating health, Pastor Cassidy was no longer able to lead the church in recovering from the decline.
Pastor Thomas Cassidy
Thomas Cassidy was born in Altadena, California but brought up in the Midwest. Following high school, he served in the military until 1972. Two years later, in 1974, he was saved through the ministry of First Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois. God called him to the gospel ministry shortly after and he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to attend Central Seminary from 1975-1978.
In February of 1976, while in seminary, Tom married Bonnie Hanson. In 1978, they returned to Rockford, Illinois, and served with the Windsor Baptist Church in Loves Park until the late 1980ís when they relocated to California. They ministered at the Fundamental Baptist Church in Escondido (San Diegoís north county area) until Tom was called to pastor First Baptist Church of Spring Valley in September of 1985.
Tom and Bonnie have purchased a home in the beautiful Rio Grande Valley of South Texas where they intend to thoroughly enjoy their retirement years.
(A unique connection: Pastor Cassidy was called into the ministry under the preaching of Dr. Glenn Schunk, the same man who preached the day Ron and Sally Schrock were saved in Jones, Michigan, July 1966.)
History of Grace Baptist Church of Spring Valley (Now the new First Baptist Church)
Grace Baptist Church was planted in 1985 through the vision and energy of Faith Calvary Baptist of Los Angeles, at that time pastored by Geno Lubaton. Faith Calvary used a small group approach to establish the predominantly Filipino congregation. In 1989 they organized as Paradise Baptist Church and Sidney Albano led the ministry for a number of years. The church changed its name to First Filipino Baptist in 1989, and then to Grace Baptist in 2005. Out of respect and appreciation for the property they recently received, they have now adopted the name First Baptist.