Our History

Taken from the Centennial Booklet of 1967…

One October evening one hundred years ago, a small group of Baptists who had previously, since coming to Alpena, worshipped with the already established Congregational Church, met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. F.N. Barlow, which stood at the corner of Third Avenue and Chisholm Street to consider the propriety of organizing themselves into a regular Baptist Church.

Thus, on October 25, 1867, the First Baptist Church of Alpena was organized with a membership of nine persons. Recognition as a regular Baptist church was given the following Sunday in a service held in the Courthouse, which was located at the corner of First and Washington Avenues. The Congregation continued to Worship in this building under the leadership of F.N. Barlow, who was called to be their first Pastor. Immediate plans were made to build a house of Worship.

A cedar post became the cornerstone of the church located at Third and Lockwood Sts., and sixty days after the work was started, a neat and commodious structure with a seating capacity for two hundred and fifty was completed. Prosperity and success attended this dedicated group of Believers, and through revival services, as many as seventy persons were added to the Membership at one time. Within five years, the membership had climbed to one hundred sixty.

In July of 1872 a great fire devastated nearly the entire city and crippled financially many of the members. The clerks records of the church were destroyed and then restored, but partially from memory on the part of the Workers who had been active for the seven years of the Church’s previous life. The church was destroyed but immediately rebuilt on the same site.

The people were just recuperating from the Fire tragedy when another catastrophe was endured. A Smallpox Epidemic hit the City, and all Schools and Churches were ordered closed for nine weeks. More than fifty Alpena citizens were laid to rest. That same year, 1873, another revival was felt and the membership numbered more than 200 persons.

While Mr. Little was Pastor, from 1878 to 1889, The Baptist Churches at Long Rapids, and Greely were organized by the members who took their letters from this church for that purpose.

In 1892, during the pastorate of Charles E. Lee, the splendid brick structure at Third and Lockwood Streets was built and dedicated. Due to the untiring efforts of the Rev. S. S. Clarke, who was Pastor during the period of 1897 to 1905, the debt of the church was retired.

The Rev. C.S. Burns was pastor when funds were raised to build a six-room cottage on the lots at Long Lake, given to the church in 1913, thus adding to the church property worth about $800.00.

The work of the Church continued as faithful members, under the leading of the Holy Spirit were instrumental in passing on their Spiritual Heritage from one generation to another. Although we have not been called upon to endure the many trials of our Christian Forefathers, we did send many young men to War, and some did not return.

The church building which has served the Congregation for seventy years deteriorated to the point where the Congregation felt it wise to build a new Structure. In 1955 and 1956 during the Pastorate of Rev. L.M. Thompson, Theo. Thom spearheaded and organized a Building Campaign, and through a Bequest from the Estate of Richard Peipkorn, the sale of our Church property at the corner of Third and Lockwood Streets, and the offerings of the Congregation, we have come to this present Church home, Debt Free. For these Blessings, we praise and Thank God.

As our first one hundred years come to an end, we are saddened by the loss of our beloved friend and Pastor, the Rev. Vondell Bowen, who went home to be with our Lord on September 25, 1967.

To speak of all the Sacrifice, and loyal work of the Laymen and the women who have loved this Church and striven for its Success is an impossible task. Many have gone to be with their Lord, yet the memory of their work remains, and upon the Foundation established by them, we, of this generation have built.

The persons named in this short History are but a few of those who gave untiringly of their time, effort, and financial support.

So to all who have been a part of the one hundred years of the History of the First Baptist Church, we thank God, and for those of us remaining in the work today, we Pray that we may be Instruments in the hands of our Heavenly Father for the winning of Souls for His Kingdom.

More information will be added in coming weeks.