Soar Church -Reproduce  - Reclaim  - Rebuild  - Reach of Woodbine, New Jersey

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The early 1900’s saw the migration of those who would later become the pioneers of the First Baptist Church of Woodbine, New Jersey. They came from the South and from the north as far as Pennsylvania. Upon their arrival, they found homes and employment all the while thanking the Almighty God for His blessings. Desperate for a church, they began to meet in private homes to conduct worship services.

To worship God in a sanctuary was the prayer and hope of God-fearing deacons; Matthew White, Ephrain Smith, Charles F. Adams, Samuel Michael, James Singleton, Sr., and Anderson Welcher. After prayer and seeking God’s guidance, these individuals were led to call Minister Peter Williams as their Pastor. Following that move, and organizational meeting held in the home of Deacon and Deaconess Ephrain Smith led to the newly-formed “store front” church at the intersection of what is now Bryant Street and Adams Avenue. This began the first phase of the First Baptist Church of Woodbine.

Under Minister Peter Williams’ tenure, the first trustees: James Collo, Frank Hankerson, Thomas Fuller, Gus Murray, Jeff Murray, and William Turner were appointed. As the church grew in membership, the Pastor, deacons, and trustees sought to purchase property on Longfellow Street. However, after much reconsideration, the church leadership found it would be more economically practical to purchase and renovate the building they were renting at that time for worship services.

A call was made for the deacons, the missionaries, and the women of the congregation to work to raise the needed funds for the building’s renovations. The women of the church conceived a plan: for a period of one month, each woman would be responsible for the purchase of a bundle of shingles. Their combined efforts were greatly successful. With a bell tower and steeple in place, the “store front house” progressively began to take on the shape and appearance of a church.

The church saw the need for additional deacons as the older ones had been called to glory. Claude McNear, Sr., and Benjamin Goar were added to the roll of deacons. The pastorate changed also. Reverend James A. Russell succeeded Reverend Williams, Followed by Reverend J.T. Hill, J. R. Hirsch, H.R. Smith, T.J. Cadwell, J.W. Russell, L.H. Graham, T. N Bristow, and Richard Buckmon, Sr. The roster of deacons included the following: Matthew White, Ephrain Smith, Charles Adams, Samuel Michaels, Smith Barber, Robert Holtzclaw, James Singleton, Anderson Welcher, Claude McNear, Sr., Fred Faison, Benjamin Goar, Hance Youmans, Jacob Steward, Israel Cook, Joseph Smith, Benjamin Russell, Wilbur Russell, and Jacob Locklair.

In 1950, a fire completely destroyed the sanctuary. Once again, the congregation had no place to worship. With the direction of God and the cooperation of members, friends and well wishes, First Baptist Church was rebuilt.

During the ministry of Reverend James Russell (1960-1971), many improvements were made at the church – a parsonage was purchased; an addition was made to the church’s physical unit, and interior renovations were done. As a result, the Church’s Building Fund was established and remains in place today.

In 1974, Reverend Leo Graham succeeded Reverend Russell as Pastor of First Baptist Church for two years. The Reverend Thomas Bristow was then called to Pastor the flock at First Baptist Church. During his pastorate, the church was incorporated and plans were laid for a larger new edifice. Reverend Bristow initiated several new auxiliaries, one of which is the Church’s Scholarship Fund designed to financially assist younger saints in their pursuit of higher education.

One Sunday during the month of October 1985, the entire membership of First Baptist Church marched from its former location to our present location at the intersection of Longfellow Street and Adams Avenue. By the grace of God we built our church, free from mortgage and any other encumbrances. One year later the Fellowship Hall was added.

Subsequent to Reverend Bristow’s retirement in October of 1995, Minister Richard Buckmon, Sr., was called to pastor First Baptist Church and was installed November 3, 1996. Under his ministry, the church experienced growth in size as well as in ministry development. The old church edifice was demolished in June of 1996, but not its memories or history of where the Father has brought us. Pastor Buckmon ended his office of pastor here in November of 1997. This departure meant that First Baptist was again without a pastor. The deacons and the Pulpit committee sought the Lord’s direction in their petition for the type of Pastor He wanted here at First Baptist.

On August 5, 1998, Minister Thomas Dawson, Jr., answered the call to pastor this church. An anointed pastor, teacher, and administrator, Pastor Dawson had the vision for FBC; a Biblical-centered ministry that will Reach, Reproduce, Reclaim and Rebuild the community and the world through the love of Jesus Christ.

Under Pastor Dawson’s administration and teaching, FBC has experienced worship at a new level. In addition to the SOAR (Soldiers Ordered after Righteousness) Ministry establishment and growth, new ministries have been birthed, established ministries have flourished, and ministries that have become unfruitful have been laid to rest. Pastor Dawson has been called upon to use his gifts of preaching, teaching, and exhorting at numerous speaking engagements. Our membership consists of families from Cape May County, Atlantic County and Cumberland County. His ministry has extended to a Sunday, S.O.A.R. TV Broadcast on Comcast Channel 25 and Direct TV Channel 51 from 8:00-8:30 p.m. in Philadelphia, Delaware and South Jersey. Worship service and a Friday noonday service have grown; a committed and vigilant security ministry, and a greeters’ ministry are just some of the ministries that Pastor Dawson initiated. At FBC Pastor Dawson have developed over 40 ministries that are designed to minister to individuals, or groups of all ages.

The church rejoices in maintenance of these ministries: Vision Team, Outreach, Christian Education, Kingdom Men and Kingdom Women Bible Study, monthly prayer breakfasts, audio ministry, a First Baptist website, and many more. Presently, there are four singing units ministering to the needs of the people. The church has grown from a membership of 75 to over 500. Growth has not been just in membership but in knowledge, in wisdom, in giving, and in the level of worship.

The all-night youth activities, the Men’s Retreat, and the Women’s Retreat are avenues the church uses to reach out to the community. An even greater blessing is the acquisition of land to build our new sanctuary and ministry complex; we are presently involved in a Capital Stewardship Campaign to erect a worship center that will testify to God’s faithfulness and reach the lost for the Savior. On December 21, 2008, FBC broke ground for their new S.O.A.R. Center at DeHirsch Avenue/County Road 550, Woodbine, New Jersey.

Under Pastor Dawson’s leadership we have been blessed through his God-given vision and the means to take FBC into the next century with our focus on kingdom building.