First Baptist in Houston To Celebrate 125th Anniversary

Autumn 2008 marks the 125th year First Baptist Church of Houston has been worshiping together and ministering to needs of its community and the surrounding area.

To celebrate this milestone, the church has set aside Sunday, Oct. 5, as a time of remembering the past, expressing appreciation to those who, through the decades, have made the church strong and enduring, and looking forward with hope to the future.

Special events are planned for Oct. 5. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the church auditorium. A three-Act play, prepared and performed by “Laminin,” the church’s drama team, will centerpiece the festivities. Music will be presented by gospel groups and singers from both the past and present of the church…Marty and Patti Elmore, Shekinah Glory, David Gourley and others…and will culminate in a reunion of the surviving original members of the renowned “Harmoniers” Quartet which sang in churches, music conventions, and on radio during the 1950s and 1960s.

Many former pastors and staff members, as well as family members and descendants of pastors and staff from the past, will be special guests. A banquet in the church’s fellowship hall will follow the morning festivities. A gospel music concert in the church auditorium will follow.

The congregation was established in 1883 in the face of some struggle and disagreement, some of which was due to the divided opinions of many Houstonians in the aftermath of the still recent ravages of the Civil War. Several rural communities in outlying areas of Texas County had been served for several years by flourishing Baptist churches, but there was none in Houston. A family of Baptists met for prayer and worship in the home of David Killion on Hog Creek, and, feeling frustrated that the town of Houston, even after years of existence and growth, still did not have a Baptist church, enlisted the aid of some members of Ozark Baptist Church who lived in Houston to attempt to fill the void. The founding members met at the Methodist Church South at Grand and Pine (the present location of Lone Star Plaza) and organized, under the leadership of Rev. J. S. Rice, Missouri Baptist missionary, the First Baptist Church.

First Baptist Church has been an integral and important part of the life of Houston and Texas County ever since. After its organization, the church first built a worship center at the corner of Ozark and Pine (south of the current Houston School administration building). In 1923, the church relocated to the southeast corner of First and Mill. In 1976, the congregation relocated to its present site – a facility at the corner of Hawthorn and Airport Road.

All former members are urged to make plans to attend this special event. Anyone who is a descendant or relative of a past minister or staff member of the church is especially invited. If you know anyone who has a connection, past or present, to the church, or who specially contributed to its ministry, please contact that person and the office of First Baptist Church.

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