The landscape in Glen Burnie has changed since 1958, but Granite Baptist Church has been a community landmark throughout the years.
Founded in a living room by seven people who wanted to find a church that remained true to the Bible, Granite celebrates its 60th anniversary this month.
Prior to its current address at 7823 Oakwood Road, the church also met in a rented storefront on Vernon Avenue, the Community Meeting Room of the now-defunct Harundale Mall, the Moose Hall on Crain Highway and the Glen Burnie Improvement Association’s meeting hall.
The Oakwood Road property was purchased in 1961, and a “Rainy Day Fund” was established by the congregation – folks saved ten cents for each rainy or snowy day throughout the week, then delivered their savings to a small, wooden donation box on Sundays.
The dimes were combined with a $30,000 mortgage, and the congregation of about 100 built what they called the Fellowship Hall, which now houses the church’s school classrooms.
Oakwood Road was a two-lane dirt road at the time – Woodside Elementary, Route 100, apartment buildings, Royal Farm Store and Baltimore Washington Medical Center all were on the distant horizon.
The church’s first pastor, Rev. Richard Grammer, was called in 1962 for $30 per week. Church historians said the average salary at the time was $120 per week.
Grammer graduated from Bob Jones University the year before, and moved into a two-car garage on the property. The church purchased adjacent land and built a parsonage for the growing Grammer family. The parsonage which was completed in 1966. Grammer served the congregation for 30 years.
By the late ‘60s, the church had outgrown its initial building, and began a series of expansions and improvements that spanned decades. In addition to a large worship space, the church property now includes school classrooms, an athletic field and a gymnasium, as well as parking and space for its bus fleet.
The church’s school began in 1975 with 41 pre-schoolers, and now serves K-4 through 12th grade with a population of about 250. The school has an athletic program, fine arts programs and before-and-after care.
The church has had five pastors, including the current pastor, Rev. Lou Rossi Jr. Rossi has served at the church for the past six years, and has been in ministry for a total of 38 years. Rossi took over after Rev. Curtis King, who served for several years.
The church’s congregation averages about 600 people. Rossi said ministries serving the congregation and community are offered for every season from cradle through end-of life, including Cornerstones senior ministry, RU Addictions ministry, Master Clubs and a food pantry. The church’s bus ministry picks up about 100 kids per week for Sunday school.
“If you can think of it, we probably do it,” Rossi said.
Several long-time members have been at the church since it began. Rossi said some travel over bridge and tunnel, from as far as Mt. Airy and the Eastern Shore. He said the church is very diverse, with all ages and many nationalities represented, and a strong military presence.
“We have people from all walks of life, business people, blue-collar – we’ve got everything,” Rossi said. “We’re conservative, but we’re not dead. We’re very friendly and embracing.”
Rossi said visitors will feel accepted and will never feel pressured or pushed into something they are not ready for.
“This church has been really a great help and lighthouse to Glen Burnie,” Rossi said. “It is very well known, and the overall feeling of the community is very positive. People are helped here, and it has been a solid rock of community.”
Love Indian food, or want to try? Visit Little India Café, 20 E. Ordnance Road, any time Wednesday or Thursday, and a portion of your check will be donated to Faith Baptist Church’s India Mission Trip.
Crab Cake Challenge
Sample crab cakes and crab soups, then vote for your favorites at the 5th Annual Maryland Top Crab Cake Challenge, 4–8 p.m. Sept. 12 at Michael’s Eighth Ave., 7220 Grayburn Dr.
Local breweries and wineries will offer samples of their beverages. Check out the photo booth, enjoy live music and a disc jockey, take a chance at a door prize or Casino Night, network and place bets in a silent auction.
Arundel Community Strings — a community string orchestra for beginner and advanced adults, as well as dedicated middle or high school students who play violin, viola, cello or bass — will hold rehearsals from 6–7:30 p.m. Fridays Sept. 21-Nov. 2.
Registration is $50. Advanced players are encouraged to mentor beginners. Participants must be able to read music. A concert will be held Nov. 9. Rehearsals are held at Ferndale United Methodist Church, 117 Ferndale Road.
Abundant Life Church hosted a backpack outreach in which more than 500 backpacks were sponsored, stuffed and distributed for kids in Glen Burnie who needed help getting school supplies. Part of the church’s I Love Glen Burnie campaign, each backpack included a handwritten note of encouragement for its small recipient.