Happy 120th Anniversary First Baptist Church!!
First Baptist Church celebrated its 120th year in existence on Sunday, October 25, 2020. As soon as you entered the front door on Sunday morning, you knew something special was taking place. The foyer had been redecorated to include a happy anniversary banner, framed pictures of the 5 pastors to ever lead FBC, and a museum quality display of the actual cornerstone from the original church building. Add to that, cake distributed in little gift boxes, a quick history lesson and a guest preacher; well, our celebration was 120 years in the making.
During the service, a mini timeline of FBC was presented focusing on how God has brought this little church through some touch times. In 1951, the church survived and rebuild after a devastating fire that destroyed virtually everything leaving only the front steps and vestibule. In 2012 we overcame and rebuild after the worst hurricane of that year, Super Storm Sandy, slammed into the Jersey Shore flooding the church with several feet of water and several inches of sand; and 2020 brought the Covid-19 pandemic that closed our doors for 5 months jeopardizing the ability for God’s people to worship together. With all of those challenges, one might wonder how FBC made it through… by the Grace and Power of God, that’s how!
Recent history tells us that God is still blessing us! After Rev. James A. Jackson, Jr. was installed as our 5th pastor in 2016, a number of firsts took place – FBC developed a social media presence, licensed its first female minister, and this year ordained and elevated two women of God; one being its first female deacon and much much more. And we are moving forward into the future with God’s help!
Our guest preacher Rev. JerQuentin Sutton, M.Div., senior pastor at Lebanon Baptist Church in Westwood, NJ brought a powerful word entitled “Little is not Enough” coming from Genesis 19:14-17 that spoke to looking ahead as well. Rev. Sutton reminded us on this our 120th Anniversary to remember the past, but to continue on. His sermon encouraged us – preaching that nothing that God puts in our hands will fail; don't get re-directed from our purpose, and don't get comfortable in our situation. We can't settle for "little"---little is not enough! God wants more and even better for FBC.
There is much more ahead for this “little church by the side of the road”. We will soon begin the process of discovering if First Baptist Church can be recognized as a historical land mark. First Baptist Church 120 years old and counting!