A Short History of Grace Baptist

Grace Baptist Church may be the oldest Reformed Baptist Church in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its founding, it has firmly believed and faithfully proclaimed the doctrines of grace, the lordship of Christ, and the historic Baptist distinctives.

Originally a mission of Landmark Baptist Church of Hayward, California, on the evening of December 26, 1965, five families committed themselves to Christ and each other to form a church then called Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church. Shortly thereafter, they called Dr. John Byrd to be the pastor and rented the upstairs half of the Alice Miller Building on the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Peralta Avenue as their meeting place. The first sermon was preached by Rev. Richard Cavoretto on Matthew 28:16-20, who urged the small group to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel."

In 1966 Richard and Donna joined the church and when Dr. Byrd resigned the church asked Rev. Cavoretto to accept an interim call to serve the church. He did and faithfully shepherded the Lord's people for fifteen years! After leaving Grace Baptist, this dear brother served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Oakhurst, California, and is now retired.

In 1973 with the help of Pastor Cavoretto's father-in-law, the late Warren Scott, the church bought the building we still use on the corner of Second and E Streets. The purchase price was $30,000.

When Rev. Cavoretto stepped down from the pastorate for a time in 1982, the church was well provided for by the teaching and caring ministries of Mr. Kevin Ledbetter and Mr. Warren Leonard.

Another young man, Michael Phillips, was ordained pastor in November 1983 and remains at his post to this day. Pastor Phillips has labored in the study of scripture, theology, and church history, and in preaching the Word and lecturing on matters theological. In 2010, Pastor Phillips was joined by Warren Leonard and Henry Wiley in the pastorate. A deacon named Elisha Riedlinger was later called.

Grace Baptist Church has always been a small church, but God has used us out of proportion to our human resources. Two men trained in the church have become pastors in the United States, and more recently, a brother has pastored and taught in Japan. We founded, and for more than fifteen years, operated, Grace to Russia, a book ministry in the former Soviet Union. We have supported missions all over the world, and since 2001, sponsored a quarterly meeting of local Reformed Baptist pastors.

As we look to the future, we are dependent on the Lord and commit ourselves to the slogan we adopted back in 1965: By God's grace, to God's glory.