In 1866, a few consecrated Christians dared to assemble themselves together in order to worship God as their Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. First Baptist Church, as we know it today, is a tribute and lasting memory to those who had the vision to venture out during those days of immediate “post-slavery” and the early Reconstruction Era.
During those difficult days those dedicated Christians gathered in a house located in the Cedar Hill Cemetery, Main Street, Suffolk, VA. Worship was held in this house until 1868, at which time Rev. Corprew, a Circuit Rider, who served the group, moved the congregation to an old two-room brick house on the corner of North Main and Mahan Street, then known as Second Cross and Main Streets. (It is interesting to note that this house served as one of the impromptu headquarters of President George Washington during the Revolutionary War).
In 1870, this small band of Christians moved into their first church home on what was then Back Street, now known as Church Street. The land for their first church home was given by Alfred Adkins.
A total of twelve (12) pastors have served our church since its inception in 1866. We have been richly blessed to have had spirit-filled, anointed, and trained ministers in the Gospel to lead, serve, and to teach the word.
Rev. Jordan Thompson: 1870-1889.
- He and the members hewed the logs and constructed the building, which was completed and dedicated in 1873.
Rev. Ashley Lewis: 1880-1883
Rev. William Cousins: 1883-1889.
Rev. William Gaines: 1889-1911.
- He was instrumental in founding the Nansemond Collegiate Institute, the first school of higher education for black students. This was an awesome contribution to the community.
- The church moved into its second newly built home on Mahan Street in 1892. Soon thereafter, the name was changed from Second Baptist to First Baptist Church.
Rev. James A. Harrell: 1911-1928
- Under his administration, property on Pine Street was purchased for a church edifice. Rev. Harrell, served as a president of the Nansemond Collegiate Institute.
Rev. John B. Williams: 1928-1937.
Rev. C. Lawrence Evans: 1937-1942
Rev. E.E. Chapelle: 1942-1946
Rev. A. Lincoln James
- Under his pastorate, he led us into our present edifice, which was completed in 1951.
Rev. T. Othniel Mills: 1955-1960
From 1961-2000, Rev. Dr. Isaac E. Williams served as pastor leading the church in a continuous upward trend, spiritually and in the realm of physical improvements. During his tenure, numerous accomplishments were made and included: liquidating the mortgage on the present edifice; remodeling and furnishing the annex; development of parking lot; completion of restrooms in the Educational Building; installation of public address system; construction of new church parsonage on Main Street; establishment of First Baptist Hoffler Home for Adults; Caring and Sharing Outreach Program; Men's Fellowship; Chancel Choir; Bus Ministry; Board of Christian Education, placing bibles, hymnals and cushions in pews.
When the new millenium arrived, so also did our current pastor, the
Rev. Dr. Steven G. Blunt: 2002 – Present
During Pastor Blunt’s tenure here at First Baptist Church Mahan Street (which he affectionately terms “112” after the church’s physical address) the church’s historic legacy of Christian service and witness has continued by the grace of God, membership & church resources have grown physically and spiritually, community partnerships have been embraced, and the church has distinctively been recognized around the state as a paradigm of successfully meshing traditional and contemporary worship styles.