Discover Georgia's National Park Service Augusta First Baptist Church - First Baptist Church of Augusta
is one of many monumental buildings on Greene Street. Designed by Atlanta-based architect Willis Franklin Denny in 1902 and completed in 1903, the building is a significant example of Beaux Arts Classicism. This architectural style dominated monumental American architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Augusta First Baptist Church of Augusta
Reflecting the Beaux Arts school of eclectic Classicism, the overall character of the building is one of massiveness, symmetry, and restrained Baroque monumentality. The imposing dome on top is a climax to the massiveness of the entire building. The exterior features a heroic portico with six modified Corinthian columns. Varied textures highlight the many planes from the motif of the pediment, to the Corinthian columns, to the masonry.
The building served Augusta’s First Baptist Church from 1820 until the early 1970s when the congregation moved to Walton Way Extension in West Augusta. The origin of the congregation goes back even further to March 15, 1817, when 18 Augusta citizens organized the Baptist Praying Society.
Perhaps the most significant event in the church’s history occurred in 1845 when delegates from Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and the District of Columbia met at the church and formed the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is an important denomination in religious life in the South today and the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
The church is not open to the public.
First Baptist Church began in 1817 when eighteen Christians decided to band together into what was known as the Baptist Praying Society. Until then there was no white Baptist church in the town. They drew up a covenant and began proceedings to become a constituted church.
A brilliant and eloquent young man, principal of the Richmond Academy, had given his life to the ministry. He led the church to reorganize, secure a lot and build a church. The building, costing $20,000 was dedicated May 6, 1821.
A year of destiny, 1845, was preceded by agitation in the Triennial convention. Issues of slavery and foreign missions split the national convention and resulted in a called convention to be held at this church May 10. Delegates from eleven states formed the Southern Baptist Convention and two mission boards. The church minutes are silent about this event as they are about the Civil War a few years later.
With the call of Lansing Burrows in 1883, the church began a rapid growth. He began with a 6-week revival! He then organized the City Mission Board and also organized the women of the church into the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. Mrs. W.M. Jordan and Mrs. Smith Irvine immediately began to invite the Chinese of the city to a Sunday afternoon Sunday School. This is still in operation today although most of the Chinese are assimilated into the congregation. The emphasis is continued on Wednesday morning and evening with the WMU’s Conversational English classes for foreign students in the area.
In 1899 the congregation voted to tear down the original building and rebuild on the same location. A beautiful sanctuary designed similar to the Church of the Madeleine in Paris was dedicated in 1902.
The name, First Baptist Church, became legal in 1919 just before the church celebrated its centennial in 1921. Mrs. Isabella Jordan’s book, A Century of Service, was published at this time.
Dr. R. Paul Caudill, an outstanding minister, became pastor in 1937. He began radio broadcasting, encouraged the organization of the Brotherhood and helped initiate plans for a Sunday School building adjacent to the Sanctuary. It was dedicated in 1941, months before the fateful day of December 7, which plunged the nation in to World War II.
The twenty year ministry of Dr. Robert Jackson Robinson was begun in 1953. During his pastorate the church formed a mission which grew into Morningside Church, remodeled the sanctuary, began a Sunday School at the S & S Cafeteria and began its television ministry which continues today.
A sesquicentennial celebration was planned for the spring of 1967. A new history of the church to be written by Anna Olive Jones was commissioned. A week-long event included a cantata, a historical pageant and a service of consecration led by Dr. Billy Graham.
In 1968 a momentous decision was made to move the church to a new location as there was no more property available for expansion. It was an emotional vote and a few members of the church began litigation. T. Richard Daniel headed a building committee to oversee the plans. A campus style complex was designed and begun.
When Dr. Robinson resigned in 1974, it was left to Dr. George Balentine to conduct the move to the western extremity of town. (The original church had been built at the western extremity of town). His success is measured in the commitment of a unified congregation to a budget of more than a million dollars and the construction of a new sanctuary. Dr. Charles Bugg was pastor when this sanctuary was dedicated in 1983 as well as for the construction of the Walton Education Building. Dr Bugg resigned in 1989, and the church called Dr. Timothy Owings as pastor in 1990. During his 13 years as pastor, a magnificent Schantz pipe organ was added, and the administrative annex adjoining the sanctuary was built which houses a music suite, senior adult department, and the administrative offices.
The church is now 187 years old with a dynamic program of worship, education, mission activities, singles and benevolent ministries, television ministry, and kindergarten.
The church is continually ministering to a growing community with programs for every age, working together “to love the Lord and share His love with our community and world.” by Anna Olive Jones Bannister, July 14, 2004
8:30 am Traditional Worship - Sanctuary
9:40 am Sunday School
11 am Traditional Worship - Sanctuary
10:55 am Contemporary Worship - Activity Center
6:30 pm Evening Worship - Sanctuary Wednesday
5 pm Wednesday Night Supper
6 pm Wednesday Night Seminars
Our church family would love to welcome you to worship God with us. We have opportunities for everyone in your family to grow spiritually as they encounter God through Bible study and through other people like yourself…. in an uplifting Worship Service, in small group Bible Study, in prayer groups, in recreational activities, in day trips to shop or sight-see, in church tours, in concerts, in church-wide meals, in special programs, or through our many ministry opportunities.
In whatever path you choose to visit, you will experience what many folks, just like yourself, call home. A home for people that have a passion to know God and honor Him by the way they live their lives. We encourage you to explore the FBC Website for information about our worship services and ministry opportunities. But better yet, make a personal visit and let us shepherd you around our church home.
On Your First Visit
To get the most out of your first visit on a Sunday morning, park in a guest parking place directly in front of the FBC Welcome Center located in the Administration Building. Our Welcome Center Hosts will be available to greet you between the hours of 9:15 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. to shepherd you to Sunday School, Bible study and/or your church worship preference, for our 11:00 a.m. Traditional or Contemporary worship service.
If you join us for a worship service only, please detach the Guest Registration Card from the church bulletin, complete it and place it in the offering plate during the worship service. After worship, pick up a guest informational packet from one of our Deacons either in the Sanctury rotunda or as you exit the Activity Center in the Contemporary worship. The guest packet has a great deal of useful information about FBC and how you may become involved in serving God with this church family.
FBC offers rich worship and a multitude of mission opportunities for everyone to utilize their God-given talents to serve as His missionaries through First Baptist’s Mission statement, “To love the Lord and share His love with our commmunity and world."
The Jardine Organ
The pipe organ in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity is thought to have been built in New York during the Civil War but not installed until October 1868 because of the Union blockade of Southern ports. Built by George Jardine and Son of New York City, it contains 1,520 pipes.
The organ was the first large instrument built by Jardine for a Southern church in the Post-bellum period. In 1994, the organ was completely restored by Messrs. Henry Hawkinson and Morris Spearman of Charlotte, North Carolina and was selected by the Organ Historical Society as "an instrument of exceptional historic merit, worthy of preservation."
Most Holy Trinity's organ is the largest extant 19th-century organ remaining in the South and one of the largest Jardines in the country.