AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– First Baptist Church marks two centuries today, becoming a cornerstone in the Garden City. The sanctuary was overflowing with people Sunday morning.
Pastor Dyer said the church first opened its doors on March 25, 1817, but First Baptist is celebrating its 200th year anniversary all throughout 2017.
“Two hundred years… starting out with 18 people, and now, having a membership with over 4,500,” Will Dyer, Pastor of First Baptist Church Augusta, said.
Will Dyer has been Pastor of First Baptist Church for four and a half months. He feels the church has been a compelling force in not only the city, but around the world for 200 years.
“We are a group of people from all different walks of life: rich, poor, black white, young, old, and the common bond that holds us together is Jesus,” Pastor Will said.
Representative Rick Allen took part in Sunday’s celebration and said First Baptist has birthed several churches in its time.
“The church I was born and raised in, Evans Baptist Church, when Columbia County began to become populated. My grandmother was a founding member of Evans Baptist Church. There were many that came out of this church to start Evans Baptist Church, so this church has an incredible history,” Rep. Allen said.
The church service recognized former pastors as well as members who have been a part of the congregation for more than 80 years. Pastor Will’s sermon was based on the current division in our country.
“This country is very divided…I think the church is getting a wake up call. Jesus prayed for us future believers, and he said we are to be of one mind and one spirit,” Rep. Allen said.
Pastor Will said there is no better time than now to come together as one: “In 2015 Pew Research group released data that said the largest growing religious affiliation in the United States is none. Thirty-four percent of Americans born 1983 and after identify as none.”
He said now the church has the opportunity to go out in the U.S. and tell people about Jesus who may have never heard His name.
We’ve been through a lot in this country, but through Jesus Christ… and I’m seeing it. I’m seeing things that just don’t make sense. And I always know when they don’t make sense, God’s in the middle of it,” Rep. Allen said.
First Baptist will have other events this year celebrating their 200th anniversary, and the next one is Saturday, September 9th. For a full list of activities, visit their website: http://fbcaugusta.org/calendar/