First Baptist Church
Friday, April 18, 2014
To Make Disciples, United in Worship and Service
Historical Highlights of First Baptist Church
Waynesville, North Carolina
by Bruce Briggs
“Waynesville church was constituted 1st August, 1823, by Humphrey Posey, Joseph Byers, and Adam Corn, presbytery, with Twenty-seven Members. . .” (information obtained from an early book of minutes). No conclusive evidence exists, however there are strong indications that Joseph Byers was pastor when the church was organized. John Haynes, William Haynes, Thomas Henson, R.H. Moody and John Ammons are known to have been pastors from that time through the end of the Civil War.
Locust Old Fields Baptist Church, now First Baptist Church of Canton, was organized in 1803 and was the first to be organized in what is now Haywood County. Crabtree Church, organized in 1814, is the only other Baptist congregation to pre-date the Waynesville Church. The first meeting place for the Waynesville congregation was a log structure located on the east bank of Richland Creek. Sometime in the 1850s the group moved to a new meetinghouse on Church Street about where the Catholic Church now stands. Worship continued there until the sanctuary on the corner of Main and Academy Streets was occupied in 1905. Records exist from 1864 giving the succession of pastors from that time until now including Dr. Robert Prince, our present pastor.
The present sanctuary was dedicated in 1952. In 2000 a new chapel using the exceptionally beautiful stained glass windows from the original sanctuary on Main and Academy Streets was completed and opened for use. In 2006 the Freeman Building, named for a dedicated and loving youth worker, was replaced with the Ministry Activity Center. However the legacy of Hatsie Freeman lives on in the lives of many who have been called to full-time Christian service and ordained to the gospel ministry. Among those are:
1981 William Ross, Jr.; ordained to the gospel ministry
1982 Anna Marie Nobeck; ordained to gospel ministry through chaplaincy
1983 Mike Green, Executive Director of Youth for Christ; ordained to ministry
1987 Jeff Norris; ordained to the gospel ministry
1992 Marty Dupree, Asso. Pastor of Ministries; ordained to gospel ministry
First Baptist Church of Waynesville has a complete Bible Study program for Cradle Roll through the oldest adult classes. There is a strong Youth program led by Dan Smith, an outstanding Music ministry led by Mitch Huskison. John Daniels gives leadership to the educational ministry as well as serving as Associate Pastor. Senior Pastor, Dr. Robert Prince, leads the congregation with sound theology, great compassion, and contagious enthusiasm. In addition to the Bible Study and Music programs, the church has a full range of Mission organizations for every age group. First Baptist Church of Waynesville is a church which believes in Missions, both at home and around the world, and is actively engaged in ministering to the needs of those around us.
For further details concerning the history of First Baptist Church of Waynesville, please click HERE.