Glenwood Baptist Church had its beginnings on a top-secret military installation that would later become the city of Oak Ridge. In those early days, the area was open only to those having special permits and no one, not even a church, could own land or erect a building. Approximately 90,000 people lived on the installation, yet the only buildings available for religious services were two Army chapels and four or five rural church buildings that had been left standing when the military took possession of the area.
The people of Oak Ridge were away from home and in a different type of community. Many of them had been active in church life in their home community and they missed this part of life in their new situation. Small groups began to gather to pray, to plan, and to explore possibilities for organized churches and places for worship. The military authorities were approached and arrangements were made to use the school buildings and movie theaters as places for worship. No denomination was permitted to have more than one church organization.
In 1944, interested people from the First Baptist Church who lived in the East Village area got together and planned for a church program in the Glenwood School building. The First Baptist Church secured a permit form the government, paid for the use of the building, and the mission that would become Glenwood Baptist Church began. In the spring of 1946, the Atomic Energy Commission assumed control and soon thereafter lifted the restriction on the number of church organizations a denomination could have on the installation. Soon, three new Southern Baptist churches were organized: Robertsville, Glenwood, and Highland View (now Central).
Glenwood Baptist Church was constituted on Sunday afternoon, June 2, 1946, with 102 charter members. The Reverend Roy O. Arbuckle, who was serving as minister of the mission on a part-time basis, was called as the first pastor. During its organized life, thechurch has worshiped in three buildings. For the first five years, the church met in Glenwood School.Afterwards, the church began meeting in Abilene Hall in the East Village. In March 1954, Glenwood purchased Abilene Hall and its grounds from the U.S. Government, and broke ground on the property in July 1956 for the erection of the present sanctuary. Abilene Hall continued to be used for Sunday School space until the education wing was added in 1969.