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First Baptist Church of Griffin

Brief History

The Spalding County GAGenWeb Project

First Baptist Church of Griffin

By John H. Goddard

The church was organized officially on March 7, 1841 with the Reverend Mr. Joshua S. Calloway being called as the first pastor, by the fourteen charter members. The first church building was not erected until in 1846 at a cost of around fifteen hundred dollars. The church edifice was erected on land which is bounded on the north by Solomon street, east by Hill Street and south by Bank Alley.

During the years of 1858-1859, Reverend Dr. Adiel Sherwood served as pastor. Dr. Sherwood had come to Griffin to serve as president of Marshall College, which was located at the corner of West Broad and Thirteenth Street until it burned in 1875.

In 1869, the church divided the original donated acre of land into lots and sold them and the church building for fifteen thousand dollars. With this money, the present property where the Church now stands was purchased.

It is worth noting that during the Civil War the church did not fail to hold its services regularly.

The Reverend Mr. A Vanhoose was pastor during those trying times.

In the early eighteen seventies, Reverend Mr. J. H. Devotie was called as pastor. When he arrived he found the Church, split into two factions; in fact one group had just left the Conference and were seeking to establish themselves into a new organization. The disturbing issue was over whether to buy an organ to be used in the service. One-half of the congregation protested that musical instruments were un-Christian and papal. Dr. Devotie brought harmony to those troubled waters and the congregation was reunited.

For the next fifteen years, the program of the church was slow and uncertain until around 1878 when the Reverend Dr. W. J. Mitchell was called as pastor. By 1882, the membership had grown to two hundred and seventy four.

An interesting side-light obtained from the minutes of the Church shows that every Sunday the various brethren who had been absent the preceding Sunday were required to appear before the Church Conference and account for their absence and that two absences unexcused  by the Church Body resulted in an automatic excommunication from the organization.

Excerpts from First Baptist Church of Griffin 1841-1940  by John H. Goddard in the Griffin Centennial 1840-1940, Program June 16th-19th. The full article is actually much longer and included in a section called “History of Churches”.

File transcribed and Contributed by Bob Ellis, Duluth, Georgia, October 16, 2005


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