First Baptist Church Historic Highlights

Over a century ago, a small group of Christians, together under the leadership of the Holy Spirit formed the First Baptist Church of Quitman. It was constituted June 24, 1859 and the first services were led by the Rev. Charles S. Gaulden in a store building.
The group’s first church building was erected on West Screven Street across the street from the present location. It was a wooden frame structure, painted white, with bell and steeple, and was the house of worship until 1906. By that time, the initial vision of increased membership and spiritual growth was becoming a reality.
By 1905, it was realized by the members that a larger building, in a more central location, was a necessity. After much prayer the building committee was directed to construct a brick building on the corner of West Screven and South Court Street, which is now the location of City Hall.
Through the years that followed, the outreach and ministry of the church continued to move. By 1949, pressing need for additional Sunday School space was alleviated when the “Old Library Building” was donated for additional Sunday School space was alleviated when the “Old Library Building” on the corner of West Screven and Madison Streets was donated to the church. This building was utilized until 1955, when the church’s new educational building at the present location was completed and all classes, with the exception of the Adult Department, began to meet in the new facilities. The membership realized the church buildings should be consolidated, in one location to render a more acceptable service. With a singleness of purpose, the members liquidated the educational building debt and began construction of a new sanctuary at the same site.
By the early 70’s the educational building was gravely overcrowded. As many as three adult Sunday School classes were meeting in the sanctuary; some classes were doubling up in the social hall; other were occupying cramped quarters. The FBC members voted unanimously to construct additional wings on the present building to provide more classrooms, a chapel and more space for library, office and choir room. The ground breaking for the two new wings took place on Sunday, May 25, 1975 during the regular morning worship service.
1859-June 24
First Baptist Church constituted with Rev. Charles S. Gaulden, Pastor and less than 15 charter members. First sermon preached at meeting in store building.
FBC worshipped in white wooden frame house on present pastorium site. Women formed sewing and missionary society. Mrs. N.A. Bailey, Pastor’s wife, president.
Under leadership of Rev. L.E. Barton, new house of worship erected by the now incorporated “First Baptist Church of Quitman,” for the sum of $22,500, a brick building with numerous memorial stained glass windows and walnut seats for a membership varying from 300 to 500.
“Cook Chapel” Mission built on North Jefferson lot purchased from North Quitman Land Co.
“Cooks Chapel” sold for $500 and converted to dwelling.
Large annex addition to church for Sunday School use. C.C. Kiser, pastor.
Acquisition of “Old Library Building” on Screven St. for more Sunday School space.
“Victory Sunday” to inaugurate Building Fund Drive. T.S. Field, Pastor
Miss Gladys Farmer, FBC first Youth Director-Church Secretary. Groundbreaking for Educational Building at present location.
“Cooks Chapel” Building and lot reacquired by interested laymen for Vacation Bible School and Mission Evangelistic Service.
Mission constituted as Northside Baptist Church. Kay Roberts, employed as church secretary.
Centennial Services November 1. Centennial Homecoming William J. Smith, Pastor, Dr. Guy N. Atkinson, Sermon.
Contract signed to construct Georgian style Sanctuary, capacity 1,000.
Sanctuary Dedication Day Services.
Ground breaking for two new wings and Educational Building renovation. Byron R. McEachern, Pastor.
Kindergarten Ministry began. John F. Humber, full-time Minister of Education and Youth. Second Century Building and Congregation dedicated. Resident membership 663. William D. Wood, Pastor. Senior Adult Ministry began.
Sunday Extended Session Children’s Church began for 4’s for 5’s.
June 24 120th Anniversary Celebration Homecoming, William D. Wood, Pastor. Fall-Craft Fair.
Creation of additional staff position. Permanent part-time Youth Worker.
June 24—125th Anniversary Celebration, Stephen E. Rayburn, Pastor.
October-Note burning FBC debt free-Value of properties $1,464,000. November-Youth to Ridgecrest Centrifuge: Organ Dedication and Recital.
January-Barbara Williamson became Assistant Treasurer. Deacon/Wife Retreat. Keith Parks, Music Director recommended to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. March—Revival—”Good News America, God Loves You,” with Dr. Paul James preaching, Keith Parks, Director of Music. July—Youth Mission trip to West Virginia. August Lilla Williams recommended to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. October—Dedication of all church workers.
September-Church adopts specific goals to increase ministry to church members and the community based on recommendations from the Long Range Planning Committee.
January-Supported FBC Members of Associational Mission Team to Liberia; Hosted Associational Commissioning
service for Liberian Mission Team. July-Youth to Super WOW, Jekyll Island.
Family Enrichment Conference/Revival. New Sound System installed. March– Andy Daughtry employed as organist. Purchase of 16 passenger Mini-Bus. July-130th Anniversary. Rev. E. Don Eads, Full-time Minister of Education and Music.
Easter Cross erected for 22nd year, started by Mabel Emerson in 1969. Mini-Bus brings Presbyterian home residents to worship service.
Rev. Gordon Pittman honored for 20 years as Director of Missions. New Director Rev. Terrell Ruis. 5 year kindergarten program extended to 3:00 p.m. Celebrated Homecoming with Dr. Carroll Camp, Pastor, speaker. Gordon Pittman called as Interim Pastor. “Friends Day” March 31st with 526 attending.
Dr. Carroll Camp resigns as pastor.
Frances Williams called as part-time Youth Director. Andy Daughtry resigned as organist. Bob Cooper called as Organist. Susan W. York called as Kindergarten Director. Gordon Pittman called as Pastor, September 13th.
Dedication of New Pastorium on Old Madison Road. Ladies meeting with Mamie McCullough. October “Month of Sundays Revival”
Cathy Williford called as Kindergarten Director. Lalia Strickland honored with a plaque for 28 years service as Church Clerk. (1965-1993).
January-Gordon and Betty Pittman, accompanied by Henry and Sara Carr to Holy Land. Bob Robinson, Moderator Mercer Baptist Association.
June-First annual “Heritage Day” with Stephen Rayburn (pastor 1980-1985) as speaker. Sept. Rev. E. Don Eads resigns as Minister of Music/Education, accepts position with GBCH in Palmetto. “Ladies Day” with Ann Bowden.
Wooden cross, constructed by Laurie Storey, installed in baptistery, later moved to Prayer Room. New staff employed: Williams (Bill) Webb, part-time Minister of Music, and Troy Walliser, Education/Youth. “Heritage Day” celebrated with former Pastor Gerald Martin bringing the message. Tom Renfro licensed to Gospel Ministry.
Rev. Gordon Pittman resigns. Dr. Ches Smith called as Interim Pastor. Former Pastor, William Dr. Wood preaches at Homecoming. Bill Webb resigns as Music Director. Jeff and Jay Earle lead “Renewal Weekend.” Fall Festival raises funds for GBCH. Bob Robinson, Trustee GBCH (1997-2003)
Dallas Cowboys player, Clay Shiver, is Baptist Men’s Day Speaker. Troy Walliser resigns as Minister of Education. Grimes house is purchased and used as Clothes Closet. Rev. Frank Harris is called as Pastor. Rev. Marty Carnes elected as full-time Minister of Youth.
Jan. Church Staff: Frank Harris, Pastor; Becky Mullican, Music Director, Marty Carnes, Minister Children/Youth; Tami Harris, pianist. Feb. Sanctuary renovation begins. New sound system installed in Chapel. Two morning worship services in Chapel. March-Choir pews were given to Northside. April—Easter Service and Dedication Service held in remodeled Sanctuary. June—Frank Harris resigns as Pastor; Ordination Service held for Marty Carnes; Three former Pastors, Rev. Gerald Martin, Rev. Byron McEachern and Rev. William (Bill) Smith preach at 140th Church Anniversary. July Tami Harris resigns as pianist. Oct. Mike Broadwater called as Interim Pastor. Care Team ministry begins (to reach absentees); Tom Renfro Moderator MBA; ‘99-’04 GBC Executive committee.
Jan. Bobette Lamb employed as pianist. Revival with Rev. Ken Hall, Pastor, Northside in Valdosta. Becky Mullican, Music Director resigns. FBC Fellowship Hall available as Red Cross Shelter. Aug.—Rev. Loren H. Hildebrant, Jr. called as Pastor. Nov.—Marty Carnes resigns.
Jan.—Tim Green employed as Minister Music/Education, later ordained by FBC. March—Children’s Church begins. Oct.—Revival Services held with various speakers.
July-Mission Team to Quincy, Mass. August-Tim Green resigns. Nov.-Operation Christmas Child shoe-boxes dedicated.
April-Revival held with Rev. Don Harper speaker. Cary Brague employed as Music Director. ” Walls of Jericho” Prayer Time begins. Dec.-Completion of elevator installation in Educational space. Kay Roberts, church secretary, 47th Anniversary. Tom Renfro, GBC Budget Committee.
Noah Echols, Youth Minister; New bus delivered. June-Homecoming 145th year. Dec.—Lauren Hildebrant, resigns. Approved to build bus shelter.
Martin A. Carnes new pastor, 35th; 2005-2009 Bob Robinson, Trustee, GBCH; Cyndi Sapp Summer Children’s Coordinator. Dec.—Mission Project, Adopt-A-Church, Byou Baptist Church, Slidell, LA; Youth Ski Trip, Maggie Valley, MO; Carey Brague resigns as Music Director; FBC “Love Boat” for Sr. Adults; WAVE Revival; Easter Shoe-box Collection for Tsunami victims.; volunteers assist hurricane Katrina victims; high attendance day in Sunday School Goal 225 Attendance 230; Fall Festival benefit GBCH; Dick and Gail Mitchell delivered over 200 shoe-boxes for Samaritans Purse.
July-Church Pastorium sold to Martin A. Carnes. June-Will Pierce, Youth Minister August-Bought Abe Pincus House. Drew Billingsley, Minister of Music. December—Bought Hagan house.
Martin A. Carnes, GBC State Executive Committee
September-Will Pierce resigns. Dec.—Mission Project, WOM Coats for North Korean Children.
Martin A. Carnes, GBC Order of Business Committee. April-Steve Shierling employed as Youth Minister; August-Death of Bob Cooper, former organist.
Drew Billingsley, Music Director resigns; Curtis Pickels, SBC Nominating Committee; QFBC-Peru Mission Partnership began; April-Peru Vision Team visited Mantaro Valley, Peru. July- First Peru Mission Team is sent out. Andy Daughtry called as Worship Leader. Additional Property acquired; New parking area completed. Nov.– Second Peru Mission team sent out.
January- Baptist Men to Johnny Hunt Conference. February– Closed Clothes Closet, Voted to change number of Deacons 12 to 9, Called Rev. Andy Daughtry to full time Ministry; Rev. Marty Carnes resigns effective April 4; April– Mission Team to PERU. May– Chase Ellinburg commissioned.; FBC 151st Anniversary July– Mission Team to PERU, Barbara Williamson: 28th Anniversary; Kay Roberts 99th birthday celebration; Pastor Search Committee is working; August– Rev. Mike Everson is called as the Interim Pastor. Dec. Mission Team to Peru. Youth participated in 40 days of Prayer for 40 days of Witnessing culminated by a celebration day including “Cardboard Testimonies” given by our youth group.
Dedication of the new Baptist Hymnal on Feb. 20. April 16, was Community Day across from the old Fair Grounds on South Court Street. Approximately 7-8,000 people attended. May 15, we dedicated the two new Steinway Grand Pianos. One for the Sanctuary and the other for the Chapel. Rev. Christopher Hilliard is called as the 36th pastor of FBC, Three mission trips to Peru were supported by our church.
Three mission trips to Peru were supported by our church. November- Pam Rhudy was hired as Organist.
Debbie Ley was hired as church pianist, Three mission trips to Peru were supported by our church, Rev. Andy Daughtry resigns as Music & Worship Minister, New Life Weekend with band “The Way”. The Music Committee search team searches for Worship Leader. Mrs. Kay Roberts retires after 57 years as FBC Secretary at the age of 102.
First Baptist Church begins printing “The Visitor” in house, Dr. Billy Graham video, “My Hope America”, The Ark Singers, Forever Young hosts- “Golden Strummers”, May- after 28 years of dedicated Christian service to the Lord through her ministry here at First Baptist Church Preschool & Kindergarten, Cathy Williford retired as 4 year Pre-K teacher and school Director. FBCQ has hired Cathy as full-time FBC Administrative Assistant, Spring Forward Breakfast, Homecoming Sunday was celebrated on March 23. FBCP&K hired Jessica DeSantiago Mitchell as the Pre-K 4 year teacher with the Committee working together as “School Director” for the 2014-15 School Year.
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