First Independent Baptist celebrates 145 years
First Independent Baptist Church will be celebrating its 145th church anniversary with special services on Sunday, Oct. 20.
The Rev. Marvin Jones, executive assistant pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Waco, where Rev. Delvin Atchison is pastor, will deliver the 11 a.m. message.
At 3:30 p.m. Bishop Gregg Beard and the True Vine Missionary Baptist Church of Dallas will be the special guest for the afternoon service.
The public is invited to share this special anniversary day with the congregation and church body of First Independent Baptist Church.
Some of the following statements are based on information handed down and gathered by older persons, relatives and friends and therefore may not be completely accurate in all details. However, it is meant to give an insight into the past and present life of this pioneer church.
During the early years, in 1868, this was a church struggling to build a religious organization for the service of God. The Second Independent Baptist Church was the original name of the church, as it was considered the second independently operated black church in the state of Texas. It was found later that the legal records show the name was original listed as The First African Baptist Church, while the record of the church itself and the cornerstone on the building identified it as Second Independent and First Independent. The term “independent” was used to differentiate it from the already existing Baptist movement carried on by whites here and to show also that it was independently organized by Negroes.
The Rev. Simon Perry organized the first church, The Second Baptist Church, which was organized on North 14th Street. It was considered the second Independent Baptist Negro Church in the state of Texas. After a storm destroyed the building at this location, the Rev. Z.T. Pardee (congregation’s second pastor) along with the deacons, recommended that the property on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Third Street be sold and that they would purchase the property at the present location of the church.
The following pastors have served the First Independent Baptist Church: R.T. Taylor, R.E. Wilkins, C.T. Sykes, A.D. Crawford, Robert Toliver, Rev. Lyons, A.L. Moore, Samuel T. Alexander, B.L. Bradley, John Coleman, Robert Rowe, Wiley Nellums, A.B. Brown, A.D. McCraw, B.P. Perry, Donald L. Ellison, Larry L. Polk, Forrest Davis, Wesley K. McLaughlin, Kennedy Young Sr., Gregory Foster, Keith B. Henry Sr. and Donald Lacey.
The construction of the new building began June 19, 1917 and was completed September 1918 at the cost of over $25,000. Other changes were renovating the building, the naming and renaming of the church, the purchase of furniture and fixtures for the church and parsonage, and other modern conveniences.
In the years from 1960 to 1968, Rev. Vernon P. Perry was pastor. Under his leadership were some major remodeling projects such as the enlargement of the parsonage and some internal remodeling of the church at a cost of $25,000. This debt was liquidated in one year.
On May 5, 1980, Rev. Forrest Davis became pastor of First Independent Baptist Church. Under his leadership a historical Marker was erected recognizing the church locally as well as on the state level.
First Independent Baptist Church officer and members observed Rev. Wesley K. McLaughlin’s installation services on Dec. 13, 1981. The church continued to grow under his leadership. In 1984, Rev. McLaughlin resigned and moved to Virginia to pastor a church.
Rev. Kennedy Young Sr. was the next pastor to be installed on April 28, 1985. Under his pastorate, a small renovation took place. Rev. Young’s last service was held Feb. 7, 1993.
Rev. Gregory J.L. Foster, pastor/teacher from Dallas was installed by his father Dr. J. Lee Foster on Feb. 20, 1994.
The installation service for Rev. Keith B. Henry Sr. was held on Sunday, Sept. 26, 1999. He went on to pastor a church in Kilgore.
Pastor Donald Lacey, the 24th pastor of First Independent Baptist Church, was installed Oct. 29, 2000.
Pastor Kenneth Walton Jr. from Waco was installed on June 10, 2012 and is presently serving as pastor and leader of First Independent Baptist Church.
We are happy to say that God has blessed First Independent Baptist Church with capable leaders for the 145 years the church has been in service.
First Independent Baptist celebrates 145 years
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