Our Story

A small group of Swedish believers began meeting at a Woburn home in May of 1884 and eventually organized a church. The church was incorporated in 1889, bearing the name Scandinavian Evangelical Free Church. During 1894, a building was dedicated at the corner of Montvale and Greenwood Avenues in Woburn.

Several men pastored the church over the years until 1936, when Carlton Helgerson of Cranston, RI, was called. Rev. Carlton Helgerson served continuously and with distinction until his retirement in September 1992. Gradually under his ministry of Bible exposition, the church broadened its vision and moved away from its ethnic emphasis. This was reflected in 1950 by a name change to The Church of the Open Bible, previously used as a slogan.

As membership and ministries grew, it became necessary to seek larger facilities, but extensive studies precluded expansion at the original site. In 1958, Mrs. Agda J. Thistle presented the church with a gift of valuable land in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hakan Johnson. This land consisted of 3.4 acres in Burlington on the corner of Winn and Wyman Streets at the Woburn line. On May 6, 1961, a new building was dedicated. More land was donated in 1964, this time a parcel on the opposite side of Wyman Street. As the church continued its growth, it became necessary in 1965 to construct a three-story, multipurpose educational wing. Three years later, Pastor Helgerson's oldest son, John, was called to serve as Assistant Pastor. In 1976, the church started a day school, the Open Bible Academy. The Academy started with grades one through ten, and gradually it grew to be kindergarten through twelfth grade.

During 1973, the church underwent still another expansion program that included: purchase of 10,000 square feet of land, widening the sanctuary to seat 700, adding 2000 square feet of multipurpose room, acquiring an electronic organ, installing air conditioning, providing a self-service elevator that accommodates wheelchairs, and expanding parking facilities with extensive landscaping. In September 1992, coinciding with the retirement of Carlton Helgerson and following 24 years of faithful service as the assistant pastor, Rev. John C. Helgerson was called as Pastor. Rev. John F. Peront was called as Assistant Pastor in 1994 and served for eight years. In December 2002, Rev. William L. Krawczyk was installed as Assistant Pastor. Pastor John Helgerson retired as the pastor in March of 2004 after having served the assembly for 36 years. Pastor William Krawczyk was called on June 8, 2004, to become pastor and served faithfully until February of 2011. Pastor Dan Winnberg was called on February 15, 2012, and served until April 2016. Pastor John Brackbill was called to serve on May 20, 2018. Bryan Bell served as a second staff pastor from 2021-2023.

The Church of the Open Bible has an active membership of about 120 from Burlington, Woburn, Wilmington, and neighboring towns. We exist to honor God by making and maturing disciples who together are becoming like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Story
Sunday School at “Scandinavian Evangelical Free Church” on Montvale Avenue in 1923.

Where to find us?

3 Winn Street, Burlington, MA 01803

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