First Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Conquering Communities for Christ


First Baptist Church was organized in a small church in 1899 by Reverend D. Davis, Brother's T.E. Everett, J.W. Sally, and F.F. Watson.  It was located on 23rd street between Gum and Willow Street.  Reverend Davis resigned and Reverend Willie Walker was called.  He ordained Brother's T.W. Washington, Spivey, and Lewis T. Moorman as deacons.


Reverend Walker resigned and Reverend James Steele was called. During his tenure a brush harbor was built to worship, three lots were purchased, and a church was built at 26th and Gum Street in 1914.  Reverend Steele served 15 years before resigning.

Reverend W.P. Johnson was called and served three years without salary.  Under his leadership electricity was installed and all debts were paid.  Reverend Johnson resigned in 1917.  From that time to 1920, Reverend McCray, R.W. Adams, J.M. Simpson were called.  Brother's Curtis Moorman and Ben Persons were ordained as deacons.

Reverend Al Porter was called in 1921.  During his tenure, fans were installed, a stone wall in the basement was erected, four deacons were ordained, a Relief Club was formed, and a Trustee and Usher Board were organized.  Reverend Porter died in 1937 and Reverend W.P. Johnson served as interim Pastor until Reverend S.T. Williams was called in October 1937.

Under Pastor Williams' leadership, the building was rebuilt in 1940 with men and women's restrooms, an usher lounge, six classrooms, two choir stands, baptistery, and a balcony.  The church was refurbished with new furniture and five deacons were ordained.  Reverend Williams resigned after 17 years of service.  Reverend J.S. Speech was called in September 1954 and resigned in August 1955.  He instituted the use of envelopes for giving, ordained two deacons, and an organ was purchased.

Reverend J.S. Woodard was called and served 24 years. Many accomplishments were made under his leadership. Brother Joe Nicholson, Cloyd Trent, Willie McDonald, and H.A. McPeace were ordained as deacons and Reverend Harry Lovelace as a minister. Brother Lee Green was licensed to preach. Other accomplishments including a new roof on the building and aluminum windows were made. The Urban Renewal forced the church to move several times with the last move housing the church at 2220 Percy Machin Drive. A public address system was installed along with other additions. In 1973, an adjacent lot was purchased and Reverend Woodard resigned.

Reverend Allen Washington was called in August 1979 and served for 16 years. Under his leadership four deacons were ordained, the church was remodeled, and Baptist Training was reinstituted. The church saw tremendous growth in Sunday School.   Several new ministries were added such as a Membership Orientation Class, Helping Hands Program, Senior Citizens Program, Nursery, and use of computer/word processing were established and new property was purchased.

Reverend D.L. Richardson was called in February 1996. Under his leadership, the church has experienced spiritual restoration. Several outreach ministries have been added, such as S.T.E.P., a youth ministry, Career Assistance in Reaching Employment in the Name of Christ, a welfare-to-work ministry, and an 8:30 a.m. early morning worship service. The church reached a milestone in January 2000 when we completed the move to our current facility.

We are continuing to experience the presence, passion, and power of Christ through prayer, praise, and the proclamation of the Word.

First Baptist continues to grow as we conquer communities for Christ by taking the Word of God into the communities that lives may be transformed by the power of God.