In a Conference of the White First Baptist on September 13, 1873, upon request, all Black members were granted letters of dismissal to organize their own church. Where the meeting was held is not recorded. Hence, the First Baptist Church was organized.
The First Baptist Church building was located on Bankhead, just beyond the intersection on Newnan Street and Bankhead, then known as Chestnut Hill. In 1904, two lots were purchased on Pearl Street, Now known as Church Street) where the present building is erected. IN 1910 another lot was bought, on which the present Education building is erected.
Many additions have been accomplished down through the years: here we would like to mention a few in recent years.
In 1952, new hardwood floors, sheetrock walls, addition made to the front entrance, gas heating to replace the old cola heater. In 1957, a new annex was added on the west side of the church, the church brick veneered, with the new annex accommodating class place, a kitchen and dinette space.
Under the leadership of Rev. Keels, the church edifice was completely remodeled, and an education building consisting of eight classrooms was added to the east side. The church also purchased a store with it operated for several years.
Rev. Jeff J. Long served as our Interim Pastor form January 29, 1992 until June 1992 and on the 4th Sunday of June 1992, Rev. Bradley Bell was called of First Baptist Church.
As God has blessed, our church is still growing financially as well as spiritually; the congregation has grown form a faithful few to approximately between five and six hundred members over the years.
There were at this time, twenty three deacons but with the recent passing of Dea. Leroy Holley, we presently have twenty two deacons. Four deacons were ordained under the leadership of Rev. Bradley Bell. We also have a mother’s board, a mission, eighteen auxiliaries, five choirs, and ten Sunday school classes. We have eight licensed ministers – three whom are pastoring, Rev. Harold Winters, Rev. Charlie Chivers, and Rev, Elton Davis. The others are, Rev. Jeff Long. Rev Scottie Cousin, Rev. Rita Crook, Rev. Aubry Winters, and Rev. Wade Winters.
In 1981, the kitchen and the men and ladies rooms were completely remodeled and in 1989, the church was completely renovated extending the kitchen area.
During the 1940’s, Dea. Powell Sr. served as superintendent of the Sunday school. Dea. Robert Hendrix as superintendent of Sunday school until his death. In 1981 Dea. Emanuel Geter was elected as superintendent of Sunday school and Dea. Jeff long continued to serve as assistant superintendent until 1985 at which time Dea. Ozzie Binion was elected to this position. In 1991, Dea. Tolly Wlkerson was elected Superintended of the Sunday school and is currently leading the Sunday school with Rev. Wade Winters serving as assistant superintendent. We also have three junior superintendents, and they are Bro Dexter Geter, Bro. Brian Williams, Bro. Brad Williams.
Dea. Jeff Long served as chairmen of the deacon board for 30 years. In 1982, Dea. Robert Anthony was elected as chairman and served until 1988. In 1988, Dea Malcolm Springer served as chairmen until 1989. Dea. Jarvis Daniel was chairman for 1991, and Dea. Wade Winters was elected chairman for the years of 1992. Dea. Jarvis Daniel served as chairman for 1994 and Dea. Tolly Wlkerson as elected chairman in 1994 and is presently serving.
In 1984, the church purchased an outside bulletin board to display upcoming events of the church.
In 1985, the choir stand was completely remodeled and the church purchased a new central heating and air conditioning system. In 1988, the church was fully renovated. In 1991, we purchased the lot adjacent to the church and later in the year we added a computer and a laser printer which is also located in the annex. In 1992, a van was purchased for the church and another was purchased in January, 1993.
Rev. S.E. Sauls, Jr. began leadership of this church on December 1, 1988 until December 22, 1991. During his leadership, we were blessed in many ways. February 12, 1989 two deacons were ordained, and on April 29, 1990 two more deacons were ordained. Also in 1991, the Sunday school bought tables and chairs for all classrooms, Pastoral Council and new Members Orientation Class were organized.
Under the leadership of Rev. Bradley Bell, we have the Children’s Ministry, then Educational Wing dedicated to Rev. R.L. Keels, December 12, 1992, a television (donation from Sony Music, cable wiring for the Educational Wing, Media ministry, and a tape duplicator which was donated by Dea. Clint Mann. In 1992, freezer, furniture for the classrooms, and file cabinets purchased from the Alabama Street School, and an icemaker was donated to the church. In 1993, the house next door was purchased and property at Fairfield was donated. Also the first Sunday in July, 1993, 8:00 Service was implemented. In 1994, the Educational Department was created and sponsored its first workshop under the leadership of Rev. Bell. A 1-3 tape duplicator was purchased for the Media Ministry.
In April 1994, we paid off the house next door and had a mortgage burning ceremony in September 1994. Dea Wade Winters was licensed to preach first Sunday. Pastor Bell presented a vision to build a Life Center and New Sanctuary and we as members are prayerfully working toward making this vision a reality. As of March 1, 1995, we are officially incorporated with the State of Georgia.
In November 1996, Dea. Otis Hinkle was elected as Vice chairperson of the Deacon Board. We now have 21 Deacons. The following were ordained in 1996: Dea. Alfonzo Locke, Dea. Clint Hudson, Dea. Leroy Hendrix, and Dea. Stevie Kirk; eight licensed minsters of which, four are currently pastoring churches, Rev. Cahrlie Chivers, Pastor Rev. Elton Davis, Pastor Rev. Wade Winters, Pastor Rev. Harold Winters, Pastor Rev. Aubry Winters, Rev. Scottie Cousin, Rev Rita Crook, and Rev. Jeff Long.
Since this organization has been established many hardships have been experienced, many tears have been shed and many prayers have ascended for its success. Let us not forget the joy and happiness which have come to so many through this organization. Our forefathers worked hard and prayed diligently for its success. May we strive to make dreams and hopes become realities, and tears, tears of joy.
WE HAVE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH, AND GRACE WILL LEAD US ON.