First Baptist Church
The Courthouse now sits on the former location of the First Baptist Church
Excerpt from First Baptist Church Website
Historical Sketch; First Baptist Church, Columbia, Mo
The First Baptist Church of Columbia, Missouri was organized on November 22, 1823, at a meeting at the home of Charles Hardin, father of a later governor of Missouri. The original minutes, still in possession of the church, show that eleven members joined this new organization. First Baptist was the first church of any denomination in Columbia.
Meetings were held in private homes for 5 years followed by meetings at the Boone County Court House for 8 years. In 1836, Dr. William Jewell and Moses U. Payne, a Methodist, erected a building for the use of their two congregations at their own expense. The building was jointly used for nearly 20 years.
A new church building was erected in the 1850's on part of the Boone County Court House square. The congregation continued to worship here for four decades. After purchasing a lot at the corner of Broadway and Waugh, the members erected a Gothic type church building in 1891. The present building of authentic Georgian Colonial Architecture was dedicated on May 5, 1957 during the pastorate of The Rev. Lee C. Shepard.
The Education Building was dedicated on October 14, 1928 during the time Dr. Luther Wesley Smith was pastor. On September 24, 1967 the Children's Building was dedicated. Dr. O. Edwyn Luttrell was the minister at that time.
As is natural for any church located in Columbia, the First Baptist Church has always served and been served by many college students and faculty. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, Stephens College, and Columbia College.
First Baptist Church predates many modern Baptist denominations. It had supported mission work with Baptists from both the North and South, becoming officially dually-aligned with the American Baptist Churches USA and the Southern Baptist Convention in 1919. Following the controversies of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1980 to 2000, First Baptist voted without opposition in July 2000 to drop its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention. The Church is now affiliated with the American Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Alliance of Baptists.
Reproduced with permission from The Columbia Tribune