Jerry Murdaugh is a member of the First Baptist Church of Fuquay-Varina. In celebration of the church’s 100th birthday, he has written a history. The celebration of the church will take place in October.
“Count your blessings and see what God has done.” These words have a great impact on members and friends of First Baptist Church of Fuquay-Varina. These words bear particular significance to our congregation because they illustrate activities held from our meager origin until present time.
On Saturday, October 4 1912, a group of migrant Christians assembled to organize the first Black Missionary Baptist Church in Fuquay Springs. This meeting was held in the Masonic Hall that was located near the site of the present structure. Rev. Paul Yancey, who became the first pastor, was the spiritual advisor for the historic venture.
The original church was named Union Baptist. That name was chosen because these chartered members had migrated from other areas, but each was a devout Missionary Baptist. There were 15 members when the church was organized. First Baptist is a living monument to their labors. The chartered members were Brothers Robert Allen, Ira Burton, Elijah Harris, D.M. Speed, Graham Speed, Jerome Speed, Robert Speed Jr., Tom Speed, Will Speed; Sisters Roberta Burton, Francis Harris, Rosa Speed, Dora Speed Norris, Roberta Speed Young, and Annie Walker Street.
During the first year of activation, church service was held in the Masonic Hall. The goal of the small congregation was to acquire land and construct a building for a permanent place of worship. Funds were acquired through the concerted efforts of members through pledges, contributions, and donations from other churches and friends throughout the community.
Through prayers and divine meditation, on Saturday, September 12, 1913, the congregation moved into its own building to hold the first revival.
During the administration of the church, there have been expansions and a change of the original name. In 1922, during the tenure of Rev. Johnnie Jones, the building was expanded to accommodate a larger congregation. During the year 1927, under the pastorate of Rev. Lee Johnson, the church’s name was changed from Union Baptist to First Baptist Church of Fuquay. The structure that was expanded in 1922 stood until January 1941, when it was destroyed by fire.
Under the leadership of Rev. W. L. Wilson, once again an expansion program was launched. On September 20, 1941, an even larger sanctuary became reality, the corner stone was laid, and worship services began in our present structure. Since the church’s meager beginning from 1912 to present, First Baptist Church has called 21 pastors. In order of their tenure they are: Rev. Paul Yancey, Rev. Walter Thorpe, Rev. A. V. Avery, Rev. Tom Peace, Rev. Henry Jenkins, Rev. Johnnie Jones, Rev. Lee Johnson, Rev. C. C. Clark, Rev. W. L. Wilson, Rev. Roy Sykes, Rev. M. R. Silvers, Rev. E. G. Williams, Rev. N. A. Trice, Rev. Richard Wright, Rev. Lloyd Hill, Rev. Leonard Purcell, Rev. Mervyn Johns, Interim Rev. James D. Ballard, and present pastor Rev. Dr. Reginald U. Lowery.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Thomas McCullers, who was called in September 1994, four members: Rev. Cranford Davis, Min. Daniel Marshall, Min. Charlene Mangum, and Min. Arnetta Robinson presented themselves before the church as called servants of God. Also under Rev. McCullers’s administration, a church van was purchased, and additional restrooms were installed on the upper level of the church for improved accessibility for all visitors and parishioners. While seeking a pastor in 2007, God sent us the dynamic Rev. James D. Ballard as interim pastor. He stood in the gap and fed the sheep until God prepared Rev. Reginald U. Lowery to take over in May 2008. Under his pastorate, Thursday midday bible study and the women’s ministry were started.
As we observe our 100th Homecoming, we pray God will bless all who worship with us. Our mission is to promote salvation through a powerful worship service by developing trust through cultivating fellowship and cooperation among our members and community. Our vision is to be a Christ-like, loving, and committed church because we are a unified body of believers through the Spirit of Jesus Christ and belief in the One True Living God. May the members of this church spread love and have pride instilled within their hearts knowing that we are somebody because we belong to God as we proclaim our motto: “Where Everyone is Someone and God is All.”