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First Baptist Church

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In July 1839

a small group of believers met in the new Presbyterian church to organize the Baptist Church of Starkville. The thirteen charter members, one a slave, adopted the Articles of Faith and a Covenant. In the words of the Covenant, they agreed "to bear our part in the support of the gospel ministry, and not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, unless providentially prevented..." J.C. Keeny, a missionary in the Starkville area, became the first pastor, and the church door was opened for receiving members, either by letter or by experience as candidates for baptism.

The congregation met for worship on Saturdays and Sundays and began to grow. The first baptisms occurred on August 4, 1839. In the same year, the church elected a clerk and deacons. For three years, the membership worshiped in various places. When weather permitted, they gathered under an arbor. At other times, they assembled at the Presbyterian Church or in a schoolhouse. These early Baptists emphasized protracted meetings and guarded the morals of the flock, taking disciplinary action when necessary.

The church built its first house of worship in 1842 on the site of the old sanctuary at a cost of $322.36 & 1/2 cent. In 1889, after the Civil War left it in disrepair, the old frame building was sold for $137.50. A new brick sanctuary, patterned after the Baptist Church of West Point, replaced it at a cost of $12,000. At that time, a Mississippi historian depicted First Baptist Church of Starkville as large and influential, one that paid the pastor a handsome salary. Additions to the building followed in 1914 when the east wing was built, and less than ten years later the church chose to enlarge the sanctuary and expand the education space. In 1956, the Ray Memorial Building was completed. The membership had grown to 1500, making two services necessary on Sunday mornings to seat the people. A new sanctuary was dedicated in 1962. Four years later, renovation of the old sanctuary provided needed educational space. In 1970, the church acquired the Martin property west of the sanctuary which became known as Martin Annex, a classroom building. The Martin Annex was torn down and a new education-music building became a reality. In 1980, the Applegate Education and Music Building was dedicated. The church proceeded with remodeling the present sanctuary and began restoring the old sanctuary for a chapel. Most recently, the VanLandingham properties were acquired, and the warehouse was renovated and converted into an Outreach Center, which was dedicated on April 15, 2007.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed
Service Times: Sunday 9:00am Worship & Sunday School 10:30am Worship & Sunday School 4:04pm P.44 Youth Choir 5:00pm Evening Worship 5:00pm Youth Discipleship 5:00pm Children’s Mssions 6:00pm University Bible Study Wednesday 11:30am LunchBreak 5:00pm Family Night Supper 5:45pm Bell Choir 6:00pm Adult Bible Study 6:00pm Prayer Meeting 6:00pm Children’s Choirs 6:00pm Youth Foundation 7:00pm Choir / Orchestra Rehearsal


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