Church History



“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. It was upon the rock of this faith that our Lord and Master established His Church. Many organizations have been created in the history of man; but none was to be as prevailing or as lasting as the Church of Jesus Christ. We have the Word of Jesus for this established fact – “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

The First African Baptist Church was organized in the Village of Mitcheville on Sunday, August 17, 1862. An article published in the "New South Newspaper", dated August 30, 1862 outlined the official Ordination of Rev. Abraham Murchinson as the Church's first Pastor. It was reported that the number of members present at the service was 120, 70 of which were professing Christians under the rule of their late masters, while the others had been converted and baptized since the Military Occupation of the Island. The Order of service for the Ordination was as follows: Ordination Sermon - Chaplin H.S. Wayland, 7th Connecticut Volunteers; charge to the Candidate - Chaplin W.C. Patterson, 1st Massachusetts Calvary; Ordination Prayer and right hand of fellowship - Chaplin H. Hovey, Volunteer Engineers; and charge to the Church - Chaplin Whitehead, 97th Pennsylvania Volunteers (1). The following men served as Deacons under Rev. Murchinson: Ceasar Jones, Jim Riley,  Stephen Hamilton, John Riley and Simon Grant. As people started moving to other parts of the Island, the church moved from Mitchelville to its present location and was referred to as "Cross Roads Baptist Church". As time passed, the "Cross Road" reference was dropped  in favor of its organizational name "First African Baptist Church."

The salvation of mankind is to be found only in the Church of Jesus Christ. There is no salvation, peace or contentment to be found in any other place, since Christ is the head of the Church. First African is continuing to hold high the bloodstained banner of a suffering and conquering Lord.

There is no greater compliment paid any group of people anywhere, than for a company of God’s Children to assemble themselves together, knowing that God will be in the midst of them. The New Testament Church of Jesus Christ is almost 2,000 years old and First African Baptist can proudly and humbly claim 150 of those years as an active and vibrant congregation. On October 30, 1988, a cornerstone was laid marking the Church’s 125th years of service to the community.

We celebrated our 150th Anniversary, this Church of God Marches on under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Alvin L. Petty. We have been blessed in years passed, so we move on with the assurance that God will continue to bless us in the years to come. As we press on, with Christ as our head, we as members pledge to continue our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior and pointing others to the way from earth to glory.