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About Our Story

Welcome to Plains Baptist

The Plains church is a small rural congregation whose population is drawn from St. Thomas and the rural area south of the city to the shores of Lake Erie. Our average Sunday attendance is about 70 adults and children.

The church was the First Baptist church established by early settlers in the Township of Yarmouth (now part of the Municipality of Central Elgin) in 1830 and was built on the Oak Plains of South Yarmouth Township, hence its name, First Yarmouth (Plains) Baptist Church. It is affiliated with the Elgin Baptist Association and the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec.

The congregation and its friends built a new meeting house in 1981 in close proximity to the former building which was demolished to provide parking spaces. The new church was on one level and so fully accessible. The Rev. Margaret A. Bell, M.A., M.Div. became pastor in 1990, the first Baptist woman minister to serve in Elgin County. In 2001 the building was further developed to the west and includes Oak Hall and a new kitchen.

Plain Facts Flashback 2004 Steeple Chase

Reviews from the Pews

I love that
-the voice of a child is as important as the voice of an adult
-our Plains Prayer list contains the names of people we know and people we will never know but have
been asked to pray for
-the warm pleasant atmosphere of the building reflects the warm, pleasant attitude of the congregation
-Margie is always innovative in her method of message presentations and service

The Plains family is a friendly, welcoming, accepting, fun, caring congregation.
We believe in grace alone, that Jesus is Lord and that God is Love.
We believe that the church is Christ’s hands, feet and voice in the world.
We believe that we are commanded to love others as Christ loves us.
As a community-oriented and inter-generational church. We would love to have you join us for Sunday Services.

Our Pastor


Rev. Phil Butler
B.A. M. Div

It is a delight for me to introduce (or re-introduce) myself to you good folks of Plains Baptist Church. I am Rev. Phil Butler (just “Phil” is fine) and I hail originally from Guelph, but I have lived in St. Thomas for almost 24 years. My wife’s name is Anne and we have two adult children: Erica (23) and Owen (20). Many of you will know me from my time as the pastor of Sparta Baptist Church and New Sarum Baptist Church (1998–2014). Most recently I served Westview Baptist Church in London (2015-2021). I am currently working part-time at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital as a screener. I am honoured to serve as your interim pastor after the retirement of your cherished pastor of 32 years, and my good friend/former supervisor, Rev. Margaret Bell.