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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. Margaret A. Bell
B.A. M. Div

The Reverend Margaret A. Bell (Margie) has been our Pastor since 1990. Educated at McMaster University (B.A. Hon) and McMaster Divinity College (M.Div.) Margaret became the church’s first full-time pastor, since the church had been a two point pastoral charge with Sparta Baptist Church for 120 years. Margaret was the first female called to the pastorate of a CBOQ church in the Elgin Baptist Association. She was ordained by our church in 1991.

Margaret preaches relevant sermons, is a creative worship leader, and enjoys singing alto in our choir. Currently she serves as the Moderator of the Elgin Baptist Association. She is also a member of the Gathering of Baptists, a group of progressive Christians within the CBOQ. Margaret is one of the clergy representatives on the Pastoral Palliative Care Committee at a local Nursing Home. She enjoys biking in her neighborhood and watching the flowers bloom in her garden. Margaret resides in St. Thomas with her cat Jasmine.