First Baptist Church has a rich history at the beautiful Jersey Shore. Located just 2 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean in the small resort town of Belmar, NJ, the church has stood on its original site at 410 Ninth Avenue for well over 100 years; and we are excited to continue spreading the good news well into the future. From our earliest beginnings, First Baptist Church of Belmar has always preached of God’s love and the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ.
According to the church’s cornerstone, the First Baptist Church was organized in 1894 under the leadership and foresight of the late Rev. P. T. Morris with services being held at Hoyler’s Hall on 10th Avenue in Belmar NJ. In order to provide a special place for worship services, a new building was erected six years later in 1900, just one block over on the present site at 410 Ninth Avenue. First Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist Church in Belmar.
The church began with a very small membership of not more than fifteen persons, most of whom were members of the Morris family. For the next several years, the membership increased and decreased periodically, generally remaining small. However, during the summers, services were held twice a day in order to accommodate the numerous domestic workers who attended the church while working in the resort town at that time.
In 1908, eight years after the building was erected, it was remodeled and the building was raised to add a basement. First Baptist experienced a long period of prosperity, then 43 years later, a tragedy occurred. In 1951 fire destroyed the whole building leaving only the front steps and vestibule. Again Rev. Morris lead the way and the present structure was built. Shortly after that, sadly, just one year after the fire, Rev. Morris died and the church lost its first pastor and founder. Rev. P. T. Morris had pastored First Baptist for some 58 years.
In 1953, the members saw the necessity of calling the Rev. Harold Hopson to succeed the late Rev. Morris as their new pastor and leader. During his tenure, several building upgrades were accomplished including, a new furnace and a new ceiling. A new organ was also purchased to add more beauty to the worship service. Rev. Hopson pastored for about 5 years, leaving First Baptist Church in the fall of 1958. Again the church was without a leader.