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Richmond First Baptist Church: Serving the community for 175 years

The First Baptist Church of Richmond, celebrating its 175th anniversary this weekend since its constitution in 1842. (Photo by Liz Johnson/Richmond News)

By Pastor William Isaacson, Richmond First Baptist Church

A landmark for 175 years, the First Baptist Church of Richmond has a rich heritage of serving the community.

Constituted as a church on March 19, 1842, under the leadership of Elder A.P. Williams, 23 founding members united to be a Gospel presence in the community of Richmond.

In the previous 16 months, the same members were meeting regularly as a satellite of the First Baptist Church of Lexington. Early meetings took place in a log cabin on the corner of West Main and Garner streets, which also served as a schoolhouse. Unrecognizable as the same, this log cabin still stands at the corner of Ruby and Jabez streets

The original founding members represented a cross-section of the community of Richmond. From Judges Shotwell and Parker, Margery Thornton, and the Sacry family, to Rebecca, a woman of color, they – like the members of today – represented the full spectrum of the people of this community. Records indicate that members of First Baptist have come from every socio-economic and racial background that Richmond has to offer.

During the first five years, members met for services in homes and community buildings, including meeting once a month in the county courthouse on the square. That courthouse, like most buildings of that era, has been replaced several times to better serve the community.

From 1847 to 1853, the church served the community from an old cabinet shop remodeled to serve as a house of worship. It was located on the corner of East Main and Shaw streets. The Presbyterian and Methodist churches rented the facility for their services once a month.

The complete story is in the Friday, March 17, 2017 Richmond News.

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