Friday, October 22, 2010

A Visit to First Baptist Church in Charleston

Image:  The front of the First Baptist Church in Charleston, SC.

Continuing our "church crawl" last Monday through the "Holy City," one of the highlights was visiting the First Baptist Church of Charleston which can claim to be the first Baptist church in the South.  It actually began under the leadership of William Screven in Kittery, Maine.  Screven and the congregation moved to South Carolina c. 1696 and acquired the plot of land on Church Street in 1699.  This congregation essentially became the mother church for all Baptist congregations in the South.

In 1751 Pastor Oliver Hart led the church to join with three other Baptist congregations in the colony in organizing the Charleston Baptist Association, the first such body in the South.  Richard Furman was the pastor from 1787-1825.  Later pastors included Basil Manly, Sr., H. A. Tupper, and James Petigru Boyce (founder of the Southern Baptist Seminary).

Side note:  We had a celebrity sighting just outside the church where we saw the actor Bill Murray (Charleston is one of his homes) waiting to pick up his child at a nearby private school. 

Image:  Sign outside the church building.

Image:  Cornerstone plaque.

Image:  Marker for the Richard Furman family vault just outside the side entrance to the sanctuary.

Image: A view of the stately sanctuary where the so-called "Charleston" tradition of Baptist worship(stately, reverent, Calvinistic) was born. 

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