First Baptist Church of Guilford History
The First Baptist Church of Guilford lists its founding year as 1900, when meetings were held in private homes. The congregation began as a Baptist Mission and was later organized as a church. The initial meeting place was in the home of one of the tenants of Reverend Willis Carter who became the first pastor of the church. In 1903, land was purchased for a church site and cemetery, and in the ensuing 108 years First Baptist has focused on the spiritual and social needs of the community it serves.
First Baptist Church of Guilford has a long and storied history as an institution providing leadership, hope, support, and service to people throughout the local community, the state, the country, and the world.
Reverend Carter served as pastor from 1900 to the time of his death in June, 1906. As previously indicated under his leadership, land was purchased in October, 1903 for building a church and providing a burial ground for deceased members and their families. As well as an addition in the rear of the building for use as the church hall and dining area.
After Reverend Carter's death, the church was served by several visiting ministers. Around 1908 Reverend Charles Jackson was called as the new pastor. He served as spiritual leader and counselor to the church and community for forty-three years until his death in 1951. During his tenure as the church grew in membership and many new auxiliaries and ministries were begun. It soon became necessary to build a new edifice. Built in 1916 with an addition finished in 1944, this building served as the church's home until 1971.
Reverend Arbie Dean Webb was chosen as the third pastor. Under his leadership, church auxiliaries were revitalized and new organizations were formed. Reverend Webb retired in 1971 and the church was placed under the direct leadership of Deacon Theodore Moore, Mother Dora Mack Carter, and a pulpit committee of deacons and others. Along with the associate ministers of the church, several visiting ministers conducted Sunday services until a new pastor could be called.
Reverend John Louis Wright of Baltimore was chosen as the fourth pastor, and he preached his first sermon as pastor on the second Sunday in February, 1972. Under Reverend Wright's leadership the membership of First Baptist quadrupled by 1975 and the next year planning for expansion of the church began. The first consideration was to enlarge the existing structure. This plan was rejected and in 1978 the church purchased a lot on the corner of Oakland Mills and Guilford Roads. Plans were soon drafted for the fourth edifice.
In November of 1981, Pastor Wright led the congregation into the fourth building to be occupied as the Lord's House by the disciples at First Baptist Church of Guilford. During the years that followed, as Columbia and Howard County continued to grow, so did the congregation of First Baptist. The former church building was converted into the an educational facility and renamed the "Dora Mack Carter Christian Center" in honor of Sister Carter, the first mother of the church and a long-time leader in the Sunday School.
During the 1980's and 1990's, First Baptist maintained its role of leadership in the community. Food and clothing banks were established and a transportation ministry was begun bring people to services. By the mid 1980s, it became necessary to hold two services each Sunday morning to accommodate the growing congregation. Services were held at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. And on Resurrection Sundays, a third morning service at 6 a.m. was added.
Also during Rev. Wright's tenure, a county sponsored Senior Citizen center was established in the Dora Mack Carter Christian Center and space was provided for the local branch of the N.A.A.C.P. Many new outreach ministries were begun as the church sought to take the Word of God to nursing homes and prisons. The church's missionary efforts included spiritual and financial support to famine victims abroad and to flood victims in the southern United States. During this time, the Lord has blessed the church to acquire additional property around the current church structure.
Rev. Wright, a man of extraordinary vision, transitioned January 28, 2010, after nearly 38 years as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Guilford. His rich legacy is far reaching, and includes mentoring many young ministers. Many of whom refer to him as their father in ministry. He was an uncompromising man of God who had compassion for all people.
Because of the growth of the ministries and membership of the church as well as rapid growth of the surrounding community, the nearly fifth edifice of the First Baptist Church of Guilford was part of Rev. Wright's vision. Expansion plans include a new sanctuary, classrooms, offices, chapel, and multi-purpose area.
We are excited about what God is doing in the lives of His people and the ministries of our church. As we are now in the church's second century of service, First Baptist looks forward to new visions and new opportunities to "preach, teach and heal" as we follow the Master's commission to "Win Souls for Christ."
In August, 2011, the members of First Baptist Church elected its fifth pastor, Rev. Tyrone P. Jones IV from Bridgeport, Connecticut.