A history of First Baptist El Paso
It was the wild west and El Paso was a bustling town on the Mexican border in 1882. The "pass of the north" was a major thoroughfare for the railroad and a mixture of people and cultures. Fourteen Baptists gathered in the home of Major W. F. Fewel, a Methodist, on Saturday night, August 26, 1882, to hold their first meeting with the Rev. George Baines, Jr., a missionary pastor. The text of the message by Rev. Baines was Genesis 28:10 (Jacob at Bethel) and the group sang a favorite hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". The group decided to meet again on Sunday, September 3, to organize a Baptist Church in El Paso.
On December 10, 1882, the first Sunday School was held. Three girls, six boys, and fifteen adults attended. The offering was ninety cents.
The first "church house" was constructed in 1885 at the corner of Magoffin and San Antonio streets, where the young FBC family met for more than twnety years.
In 1906, the church moved two blocks east to a new location on Magoffin Avenue, where a "more commodious building" was constructed. That building still stands today. In 1922, First Baptist and Central Baptist Churches consolidated their congregations at a new facility at the present 805 Montana location.
In 1952 the present Worship Center was constructed on the site, the 1922 facility was remodeled, and a new Children's Building was built. In 1975, the Worship Center was renovated and, in 1982, a pipe organ installed for the Centennial celebration. Further recent Worship Center renovations have included the expansion of the organ into a 180-rank pipe/digital combination instrument, addition of new pews, and installation of media equipment.
Construction was completed in 1997 on the new Price Hall multi-purpose fellowship hall with recreational capabilities, ground-floor senior adult classrooms, and new preschool departments.
Today, First Baptist has grown in membership to over 3500. The church is known and recognized for the depth and quality of the ministries and programs it provides in its efforts to reach El Paso for Christ and disciple growing Christians. First Baptist has sponsored numerous mission congregations in the city of which more than twelve have become self-sustaining churches. The church has prospered under the leadership of twenty-three pastors in its 131-year history.
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