First Baptist Church
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Trust . Join . Grow . Serve . Reach

history

 
Our story begins in 1833. America is only fifty-seven years old. Alabama is only fourteen. Our seventh President, Andrew Jackson, is in office. Slavery has just been abolished in Great Britain. It is the year of the Leonid Meteor Shower, that glorious night when "the stars fell on Alabama."
 
 
 
On May 25, 1833, at the inaugural meeting of the Tallasahatchie Baptist Church, itself a mission of the Talladega Baptist Church known today as Alpine Baptist, Colonel George Hill proposes the existence of a church located on his own property to the south.
 
 
 
   
 
In 1833, the Hill Church is four miles east of our current site. It consists of dirt floors, log seats, and stick chimneys. According to J.W. Langley, one hears "the songs of Zion, the howl of wolves, the screams of panthers, the hollows of negroes, the warhoop of Indians, and the preaching" of the Word all at once.
 
 
 
   
 
 
In 1844, the church now identified as Mount Zion Baptist Church of Christ relocates to property only two miles east of our current site, having constituted as our own autonomous church back in 1835 with 33 charter members—14 men, 16 women and 3 slaves. 
   
 
 
   
In 1861, the church moves to our current site, three acres donated by Captain Henry P. Oden. It sits in the center of the block facing Church Street. This period is marked by hardships, the parceling and sale of real estate lots, and a fire in 1898. 
 
 
 
   
 
In 1905, we move into a brand new sanctuary, having changed our name in 1903 to Sylacauga Baptist. The new church is located on the southwest corner of our property. This well constructed and attractive church was simply too small to handle the booming population explosion driven by new industries, mills, quarries, banks and other construction projects.
 
     
 
 
   
In 1914, we move into our current sanctuary, having torn down the previous one to build on the same site. Two years prior, we had changed our name to the First Baptist Church of Sylacauga. Three years later, we would be honored to host the Alabama Baptist State Convention's Annual Meeting.
 
 
   
 
 
From 1922-1928, Dr. A. Hamilton Reid serves as our Pastor. Dr. Reid later serves as Executive Secretary of the Alabama Baptist State Convention. At Samford University, the Reid Chapel is named in his memory. 
 
 
   
  
 
From 1947-1950, Dr. Chester Quarles serves as our Pastor. He later serves as Executive Secretary of the Mississippi Baptist State Convention. In 1968, on a mission trip to Peru, he suffers a tragic heart attack.
 
 
 
   
 
 
From 1950-1961, Dr. William Weaver serves as our Pastor. In 1961, Dr. Weaver resigns from First Baptist Church to become the first President of Mobile College, known today as the University of Mobile. 
 
 
 
   
 
 
In 1951, the Education Building, extending from the north side of the sanctuary along Broadway Street, is completed. This addition provides much needed classroom space for our various ministries.
 
 
 
   
 
 
From 1972 to 1994, Dr. Bill Dean serves as our Pastor. Throughout the better part of two entire centuries of history, no other First Baptist Church Pastor can claim a ministry tenure so long and distinguished.
 
 
 
   
 
 
   
In 1988, the Christian Life Center is completed, providing additional space for fellowship, basketball, racquetball, physical fitness training, banquets and other activities, not only for our own church family, but for many members of our community as well.
 
 
 
   
 
 
Today, First Baptist Church of Sylacauga continues our tradition of serving God, loving others, reaching the lost, equipping the saved and proclaiming the inerrant Word of God without compromise. We stand on the shoulders of the spiritual giants who have gone before us. We remain committed to the task of leaving a godly legacy to generations yet to come.