Being a wilderness Sunday school mission established by pioneers from New York state, the church began in Captain Steven’s barn. Two missionaries from Pontiac began the work, which was then formalized by the charter of the church and call of the first pastor, Elder Benedict. The church continued to meet in five schoolhouses, individual homes, and in Mr. Eckley’s shop in Whigville. First Baptist Church was the first protestant church in the Michigan Territory between Pontiac and Mackinaw City. A site for the present church building was selected in 1843. Completed eight years later by the efforts of Pastor/Elder Edgar Randall, it was dedicated on May 21, 1851. Alfred and Alvah Brainaird were brothers who helped provide leadership to the church and assisted in the construction of the building as carpenters from 1849-1851. Prior to this Alvah had opened up his home for worship services, and it was Alfred who was an original charter member who drew up the covenant and articles of faith. Hannah Tupper was a noted member who was known for her beautiful soprano voice. It is reported that she rode horseback to fulfill requests to sing in area churches. In 1879 the church was able to call the Elder Edgar Randall to serve as pastor, his tenure was from 1879 to 1911. During his years of service the membership more than tripled. In a history of the church F.D. Atherton wrote about Randall: When he came to us he was a young man full of vigor and in the prime of his life. He and his faithful wife very soon not only became endeared to the church but to the entire community.” In 1883 the parsonage was built, mostly by Pastor Randall, and in 1886 the church was rebuilt and rededicated, Randall doing most of the interior work. Important changes in the organization and the structure of the building itself, such as the addition of the Fellowship Hall and building of a new sanctuary have taken place over the years. Many important events, such as our becoming a Michigan Historical Site, have become a part of our history. Many dedicated pastors and lay members have been influential in the growth of this church. The church celebrated its 175th anniversary in June of 2008. At the Centennial Celebration in 1933, Miss Jessie Cross said, “As we look back over the years and see the work the godly men and women of yesterday, through God’s grace, were enabled to do, we ought to consecrate ourselves more to the service of our Master so that he will be able to use us to do his work in this community.”
We believe in one God, revealed to us as the FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. We believe that man was made in the image of God and that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We believe that God does not will the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live; and that Jesus Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We believe that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We believe that by grace we are saved through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within us when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We believe that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. We believe that they who received the Word at first were immersed, and that the members of Christ’s Church should be buried with Him by immersion unto death, like as Christ was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father, even we also should walk in the newness of life. We believe that the Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread and the cup and gave it to His disciples; that as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup we proclaim the Lord’s death until He returns. We believe that we should make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded us. We believe that Jesus Christ will come again in glory and power to finish God’s work of salvation and judgment. The redeemed shall inherit the earth, as Christ shall reign with God our Father in a New Heaven and New Earth. The church is to work diligently in faithfulness to God’s Kingdom first and foremost.