Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rich Hill First Baptist Church

This information came out of the 1992 Rich Hill First Baptist Church Directory. The pictures were on display at the First Baptist Church 125th Anniversary Celebration in 2005.

In 1880, a number of believers in Rich Hill felt a need for a Baptist Church in the community. So, the First Baptist Church of Rich Hill, Missouri came into being September 1880, with five charter members. Dr. L.M. Berry led in the organization and Rev. C.T. Daniels was called as pastor. The First Baptist Church came into the Association in 1881. The body came into possession of lot 13, block 76, at the corner of Maple and Third streets in the southwest corner of West Park, Aug. 4, 1881. A building of worship was there on erected. Tragedy struck in 1894 when the church building was destroyed by fire. They rebuilt by 1895 and the new building was dedicated in May 1898, with Rev. R.M. Inlow preaching the dedication sermon.
By the year of 1899 there was an increase of 44 in membership having Sunday School, prayer meeting and preaching l/2 time. C.D. Spillman was pastor at this time.
In 1902 the church went to full time preaching, but went back to half time preaching several times until 1944. It is believed that in the beginning the church was aligned with the Northern Baptist Convention. Later it accepted the dual recognition as the Southern Baptist Convention came to exercise influence among the Missouri Baptist. A committee was composed of three members and appointed to examine Southern Baptist literature. A favorable report was returned by the committee and on November 1. 1916 it was authorized to be used by the church. On March 7, 1928 a new church covenant was adopted.
In 1946 it was voted to remodel the auditorium. This operation finally finished in 1949. Construction started on a new addition to the church in May of 1959, on the northeast corner of the church. It consisted of three new classrooms and two new restrooms. This addition was completed in June 1960.
In July 1961 the church adopted a constitution and by-laws. These were revised in 1974. In July 1966 the church bought the parsonage at 222 W. Walnut which was used until 1984. In 1978 the new educational building was constructed and dedicated. It consisted of a dining hall and kitchen area on the top floor and and five classrooms and restrooms in the basement. In August 1980 the church voted to have new siding installed. It was completed in October 1980.
In Jan. 1985 the church started construction on a new parsonage at the corner of Fayette and Pine. The land was donated by Melvin and Pearl Coffman. The old parsonage was sold and proceeds went toward construction of the new parsonage. It was completed in Aug. 1985.
May 16, 1990 the church building was struck by lighting and completely destroyed by fire. The educational building was saved and services were held there until the new church building was complete. The new auditorium was connected to the educational building and the two were then bricked. Former pastor Lowell Houts brought the dedication message on May 19, 1991.

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