NAPERVILLE, Ill.—July 30 marked a historic Sunday for Book Road Baptist Church and Pillar of Faith Baptist Church, as the two churches held their first worship service as one congregation. The two churches, determining that they were aligned in faith and practice, decided to merge, forming a single church called Pillar of Faith Baptist Church. Ruel Akut is pastor, and Brad Blissett is associate pastor.

At the first worship service, Bernie Augsburger, state representative of the Illinois-Missouri Association of Regular Baptist Churches, delivered a sermon on the theme “One in Christ” and prayed for the new set of pastoral staff, deacons, and church officers.

The original Pillar of Faith Baptist Church began in 2003, when families attending Fil-American Baptist Church on the northwest side of Chicago began moving to the southwest suburbs. Pastor Ruel Akut of Fil-American Baptist encouraged those families to start a church in Naperville, and he became pastor of both congregations. Book Road Baptist Church, also in Naperville, existed since 1988, with Brad Blissett serving as pastor since 2016.

The combined congregation is “more focused than ever to continue with their joint vision to make a greater impact and difference in their local community for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ,” says member Dax Benliro.