First Baptist Church (Philadelphia)

Last updated
First Baptist Church of Philadelphia First Baptist Church of Philadelphia.jpg
First Baptist Church of Philadelphia

First Baptist Church of Philadelphia is a Baptist church founded in 1698 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.



The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia began on December 11, 1698 in a small abandoned building in Philadelphia known as the Barbadoes Storehouse. The congregation obtained a new meeting place at Anthony Morris' Brewhouse at the corner of Water and Dock Streets. [1]

In 1707, the congregation took over the Keithian Quaker Meeting House at Second and Market Streets. In 1731 the meeting house was replaced by a brick building called LaGrange Place. In 1808, LaGrange Place was replaced by a larger structure.

In 1761, Morgan Edwards emigrated from England to become pastor at the First Baptist Church. [2] He went on to become largely responsible for the establishment of Rhode Island College which became Brown University.

Samuel Miles, a military officer in the American Revolutionary War and mayor of Philadelphia was a deacon in the church.

In 1806, William Staughton became pastor at the church. [3] Staughton went on to become the president of Columbian College (now George Washington University) in 1823.

William Bucknell, the wealthy businessman and benefactor to Bucknell University, was a trustee to the church. [4]

Robert Lowry, professor of literature, Baptist minister and composer of gospel hymns, was baptized at First Baptist Church and taught in one of the church's missions Sunday Schools. [5]

In 1864, George Dana Boardman became pastor and led the congregation for 30 years. Boardman was known as an abolitionist and a strong supporter of the Union. Boardman lectured at the University of Pennsylvania where he also served as University Chaplain and on the Board of Trustees. Boardman served four terms as President of the American Baptist Missionary Union. He published over 150 books, monographs, lectures and other papers. [6]

Dr. William Williams Keen, known as "the father of American surgery", was a deacon of First Baptist Church throughout his life. [7]

The current church at 17th and Sansom was built in 1900 and is a blend of Byzantine and Romanesque styles. [8]

In 2014, the First Baptist Church was sold due to dwindling financial resources and a challenging building maintenance schedule. The church was sold to the Liberti Church, a member congregation in the Reformed Church in America. The First Baptist Church congregation still worships in the church under a lease agreement with the Liberti Church. [9]

Related Research Articles

Deacon Official in Christian Churches

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches and the Anglican Church, including the Free Church of England, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.

Southern Baptist Convention Largest Protestant Christian denomination in the United States

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a Christian denomination based in the United States. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination, and the largest Protestant and second-largest Christian denomination in the United States, smaller than the Roman Catholic Church, according to self-reported membership statistics.

A pastor is the leader of a Christian congregation who also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation. In Lutheranism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and Anglicanism, pastors are always ordained. In Methodism, pastors may be either licensed or ordained.

First Baptist Church in America United States historic place

The First Baptist Church in America is the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island, also known as the First Baptist Meetinghouse. It is the oldest Baptist church congregation in the United States, founded in 1638 by Roger Williams in Providence, Rhode Island. The present church building was erected between 1774 and 75 and held its first meetings in May 1775. It is located at 75 North Main Street in Providence's College Hill neighborhood. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, also called the Second London Baptist Confession, was written by Particular Baptists, who held to a Calvinistic soteriology in England to give a formal expression of their Christian faith from a Baptist perspective. Because it was adopted by the Philadelphia Association of Baptist Churches in the 18th century, it is also known as the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. The Philadelphia Confession was a modification of the Second London Confession that added an allowance for singing of hymns, psalms and spiritual songs in the Lord's Supper and made optional the laying on of hands in baptism.

The black church is the faith and body of Christian congregations and denominations in the United States that minister predominantly to African Americans, as well as their collective traditions and members. The term "black church" can also refer to individual congregations.

Robert Lowry (hymn writer)

Robert Lowry was an American preacher who became a popular writer of gospel music in the mid- to late-19th century. His best-known hymns include "Shall We Gather at the River", "Christ Arose!", "How Can I Keep from Singing?" and "Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus".

Morgan Edwards was an American historian of religion, Baptist pastor, notable for his teaching on the 'rapture' before its popularization by John Nelson Darby (1800–1882).

John Dowling (pastor) American Baptist minister and author

John William Dowling was an American Baptist minister, the author of The History of Romanism: from the Earliest Corruptions of Christianity to the Present Time.

Benjamin Keach

Benjamin Keach was a Particular Baptist preacher and author in London whose name was given to Keach's Catechism.

William Staughton

William Staughton was a Baptist clergyman, educator, and music composer. He was also a Chaplain of the United States Senate and the first President of Columbian College from 1821-1827, which is the original name and oldest division (1821) of The George Washington University.

First Bryan Baptist Church United States historic place

Historic First Bryan Baptist Church is an African-American church that was organized in Savannah, Georgia, by Andrew Bryan in 1788. Considered to be the Mother Church of Black Baptist, the site was purchased in 1793 by Bryan, a former slave who had also purchased his freedom. The first structure was erected there in 1794. By 1800 the congregation was large enough to split: those at Bryan Street took the name of First African Baptist Church, and Second and Third African Baptist churches were also established. The current sanctuary of First Bryan Baptist Church was constructed in 1873.

William Robert Bucknell, was an American real estate investor, businessman, philanthropist, and benefactor to Bucknell University.

Howard Malcom was an American educator and Baptist minister. He wrote several noteworthy literature about his missionary travels in Burma and was pastor of churches in Hudson, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also served as president of Georgetown College, Bucknell University and Drexel University College of Medicine.

Stephen P. Hill

Stephen P. Hill (1806–1884) was a Baptist clergyman who served as Chaplain of the Senate.

Jarvis Street Baptist Church

The Jarvis Street Baptist Church is a Baptist church located at the intersection of Gerrard Street and Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. One of the oldest churches in the city, its congregation was founded in 1818, and the present church constructed in 1875.

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., more commonly known as the National Baptist Convention, is a primarily African American Baptist Christian denomination in the United States. It is headquartered at the Baptist World Center in Nashville, Tennessee and affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance; it is the largest predominantly Black Christian denomination in the United States.

Morris Brown

Morris Brown was one of the founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and its second presiding bishop. He founded Emanuel AME Church in his native Charleston, South Carolina. It was implicated in the slave uprising planned by Denmark Vesey, also of this church, and after that was suppressed, Brown was imprisoned for nearly a year. He was never convicted of a crime.

Edward M. Brawley

Edward MacKnight Brawley was an American educator and minister in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was the first African American to attend Bucknell University. He was an important figure in the development of the African-American church in South Carolina and the American southeast and helped found numerous churches and schools, including the Benedict Institute and Morris College. He served as president at Morris and, earlier, at Selma University. Later in his career he was a professor at Shaw University. He was also a prominent pastor at numerous churches and an important figure in civil rights and religious affairs.

Abel Morgan was a Welsh Baptist minister, best known for the posthumously published work Cyd-goriad Egwyddorawl o'r Scrythurau the First Biblical concordance to be written in the Welsh language and the second Welsh book printed in British America.


  1. "History at First Baptist Church". Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  2. Spencer, David (1877). The Early Baptists of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: William Sycklemoore. p. 85. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  3. Lynd, Samuel W. (1834). Memoir of the Rev. William Staughton. Cincinnati: Lincoln,Edmands & Company. p.  57 . Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  4. Skaler, Robert Morris (2008). Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 28. ISBN   978-0-7385-5743-4 . Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  5. Burrage, Henry S. (1888). Baptist hymn writers and their hymns. Portland, ME: B. Thurston & Co. p. 428. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  6. Brackney, William H. (2009). The A to Z of the Baptists. Lanham, Toronto, Plymouth UK: Scarecrow Press. pp. 97–98. ISBN   9780810870710 . Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  7. McCallum, Jack Edward (2008). Military Medicine: From Ancient Times to the 21st Century. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc. p. 177. ISBN   978-1-85109-693-0 . Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  8. Adams III, Charles J. "A day away at First Baptist Church in Philadelphia". Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  9. Jameson, Norman. "A Philadelphia story, with a bright future". Retrieved 22 October 2017.

Coordinates: 39°57′02″N75°10′08″W / 39.950608°N 75.168841°W / 39.950608; -75.168841