Christ is Lord, Catch His Vision

History of Indian River Baptist Church

Last edited: Jun. 3, 2016




Alexandria Bay Baptist Church, under the leadership of its pastor Rev. John Follet wanting to plant churches in Philadelphia and Theresa, started a mission church in Theresa in the home of church members Richard and Mona Graves on Riverside Avenue, under the name of Riverside Baptist Chapel.  The church consisted of Richard & Mona Graves and their children, and Alonzo Weaver.  The first visitor was Deborah Reynolds of Theresa.


During the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of NY, Rev. Norman Bell, the Director of Missions of the Adirondack Baptist Association, approached Rev. Steve Dinzler (who was pastoring a church in Long Island at the time) about coming to the Jefferson County area to pastor this church.


By March, Rev. Steve Dinzler and his family moved to Theresa and he began leading the church that met in the Graves’ home on Riverside Drive.


The church purchased a trailer between Theresa and Philadelphia on a hill on Orebed Road not far from the Mennonite Church building on the same road.  The trailer was emptied and then filled with chairs and a small table for Sunday School and meetings, and a pulpit lectern for Rev. Dinzler’s Sunday morning and night services and mid-week Bible-study teaching.


The first Youth Group leaders were Gerald & Deborah Reynolds, Leroy & Jo Steele, and August & Norma Frazier.


The first baby dedication was Christopher Reynolds, Gerald & Deborah Reynolds’ first child.




The trailer was moved to property purchased on Bartlett Drive in Theresa.


The Dinzler family moved to Garden Road in Philadelphia, and church baptisms began being conducted behind their home in the Indian River.


Meanwhile, the trailer that housed the church in Theresa was getting packed to capacity with attenders, so worship meetings began being held in both Theresa and at the Dinzlers’ home in Philadelphia.  By this time, more of the church’s members were from Philadelphia than Theresa, and talk began of finding a single bigger meeting place in Philadelphia.


The old craft shop at 68 Main Street in Philadelphia was purchased and converted it into a permanent meeting place and dedicated to the Lord’s service.




The church building at 42 Main Street in Philadelphia began being rented from the Philadelphia Freemasons who were in ownership of the property.  Constructed in 1841 to be a house of worship together with Congregationalists of the village, it became the sole property of the Baptists in 1868 and was designated as the meeting place of First Baptist Church and later Philadelphia Baptist Church, but eventually the church disbanded and the local Masons bought the building in the early 1950s.


Upon moving into their new home, the church changed their name to Indian River Baptist Church.


In August, Richard Graves went away to attend Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, FL.




In June, the building was purchased from the Masons.


On October 23rd, the church building was officially dedicated for use for the honor and glory of the Lord.




Rev. Steve Dinzler resigns as IRBC’s pastor.




Rev. Ralston Knickerson is hired as IRBC’s 2nd pastor.

Rev. Ralston Knickerson is let go as IRBC’s pastor.




Rev. Richard Graves is hired as IRBC’s third pastor.




Eugene West is ordained as a deacon.




David Reed (ordained as a deacon by Alexandria Bay Baptist Church) is elected to church deaconship.


Nov. 1994


Gary Ingram Sr. is ordained as a deacon.


Feb. 1, 1995


The church building chimney overheated and caused a fire to break out in a wall connected to the chimney on a Wednesday night during adult bible study and G.A.s (Girls in Action).  Pastor Graves directed the other 16 adults and 10 girls in attendance to pray fervently out in front of the building as Tom Page applied water and a church fire extinguisher to the flames and sent son Jason Page home to get another extinguisher.  As the church folks prayed by the telephone pole out front, the fire department arrived shortly and extinguished the fire.  Repairs were made in the coming months.


Oct. 1995


Rev. Dan Klebes III is hired as the church’s full-time Associate/Youth Pastor.


Jul. 1997


Rev. Dan Klebes III leaves to attend Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN.



Joseph Wing is sent by Pastor Graves to be the Associate Pastor of the Korean Baptist Church in Watertown.  He receives license to the Gospel Ministry in May of 2001 by the Korean Baptist Church.


Rev. Richard Graves retires as IRBC’s pastor and moves to Florida.


Apr. 1999


Rev. Bob Finch is hired as IRBC’s fourth Pastor.


Jan. 2006


Rev. Bob Finch leaves to become the Director of Missions for the Pike Association of Southern Baptists in Pikeville, KY.


Jun. 2006


Rev. Barry Proctor is hired as IRBC’s fifth Pastor.


Oct. 2011


Rev. Barry Proctor leaves to pastor Spears Mill Baptist Church in Paris, KY.


Apr. 2012


Rev. Dan Klebes III is hired as IRBC’s 6th Pastor.


Jun. 2012


Rev. Dan Klebes III is ordained by IRBC.


Jan. 2014


Fred Abare is ordained as a deacon by IRBC.


June 2014


Mike Jones Sr. is licensed to the ministry by IRBC prior to relocating with his family to Summerville SC.


Nov. 2014


Rev. James Mahan, licensed to the ministry by Bethel Baptist Church of Aztex NM and a student of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg VA, was appointed to the position of Assistant Pastor in IRBC.


May 3, 2015


Rev. James Mahan is ordained by IRBC.  The Ordination Council consisted of Pastor Dan Klebes, Gene West, Fred Abare and ABA Moderator David Button (though a number of additional area ministers were also invited but didn’t participate).


May 30, 2015


The Mahan family moves because James’ wife Talicia is on active duty with the US Army and has received orders to be re-stationed at Helemano Military Reservation in Hawaii.

April 2016

Rev. Dan Klebes III announces his intentions to resign and move to Kentucky in August 2016.