History of SVBC

Shenandoah Valley Baptist Church was organized on October 1, 1972. The congregation met in the assembly room of the Echo Village Restaurant on U.S. Highway 11-south of the city of Winchester near Kernstown.

Pastor, Dr. J. Gordon Henry initially organized SVBC before turning over the pastorate to Donnie Cantwell, then a student at Liberty Baptist College. Mr. Cantwell became the new pastor in June of 1973.

As the church continued to grow, it became necessary for the congregation to find a building with more room. The meetings were moved to the U.A.W. Union Hall on Papermill Road to accommodate the growth. During this time, it was impressed upon the people’s hearts to start a building program. Through prayer and because of people’s desire to win souls, God supplied the funds for the church to purchase a 33-acre farm near Stephens City, Virginia. The property contained a house, which was used for offices; and also a barn, which was used for Children’s Church on Sunday and for Wednesday night prayer meetings.

During this time, God had been speaking to Pastor Donnie Cantwell’s heart. He felt that God has called him into full-time evangelism. This could have hurt the relatively new church, but God has the ideal man to fill the position. Michael Grooms, along with his wife and son, had been traveling to Winchester on weekends to work as the assistant pastor of the church. The church believed, through prayer, that he was the man God had ordained for the job, and in June of 1975 they called Michael Grooms as Pastor of Shenandoah Valley Baptist Church.

Pastor Grooms served as the Senior Pastor until 1988. Over the years SVBC added to its full-time staff. Pastor Bob Quinn, Pastor Ron Combs and Pastor Eric Farel were added as associate pastors. Pastor Eric Farel, who had worked in Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy and served in many capacities at the church, was named the church’s new Senior Pastor in May of 1988 and served until September of 2012. On January 27, 2013, the church voted to call Gene Jones as Senior Pastor.  Pastor Jones had been serving as Associate Pastor and Executive Pastor since 1996. Pastor Derek Wheelock leads the SVBC Youth ministry with a Sunday school class, Sunday evening Connect Group, and Wednesday evening worship and Bible study.