On Saturday afternoon, October 30, 1909, the Farmville First Baptist Church was organized and immediately called the Rev. Jesse McCarter, who had been serving the congregation as a missionary under the State Mission Board, as its first pastor. That same day, Rev. and Mrs. McCarter, Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Ragan, I.F. Puryear, H.M. Yancey, and Miss Annie Perkins presented letters from their respective churches asking for membership in the newly formed church.
There have been many accounts of the history of First Baptist Church of Farmville (originally named the Farmville Baptist Church). One of the first historical records was penned by then Farmville school teacher and church charter member, Miss Annie Perkins. This record, which exists today in Miss Annie’s hand-writing was written in 1930. Since that time it has served as the basis for many of the earlier accounts of our church history. In early January of 1909, the Executive Committee of the Roanoke Association made the decision to begin a definite work here in Farmville. On June 1 of that same year, a lot was purchased on the corner of Wilson and Greene Streets made possible by a loan from Mr. Noah Biggs of Scotland Neck, NC. By August 2, 1909, work began on the first church sanctuary. Once again, Mr. Noah Biggs stepped forth with some much needed financial support for the aspiring congregation by underwriting the construction costs. On December 17, 1924, the Church released the Mission Board from all support and became a self-supporting full-time church for the first time in its history.
The young Church prospered and added to its role as it grew in statue and commitment to the point that in 1939 the congregation was anticipating building a new sanctuary, one that the Church could be justifiably proud. Upon completion, one church writer summed up the construction period in the following manner: “Through the recent months, the community has been thrilled along with the congregation, as gradually, day by day and week by week the new building took shape. Farmville’s ‘skyline’ is truly graced by its tall white spire, which bears its silent but majestic witness to the One which is high above the humble ways of man.”
With the completion of its new sanctuary and church building, members of the Farmville Baptist Church turned their attention to witnessing for their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In spite of some difficult times (WWII), God blessed the young church and it had prospered. Upon the ending of the war in 1945, as people began enjoying prosperous times with more freedom to pursue other interests, the Church began to grow in both stature and numbers. In 1960, due to the start-up of other Baptist churches in the Farmville area, our church changed its name to the more distinctive name of First Baptist Church of Farmville.
At the end of the seventies, storm clouds were gathering in the Southern Baptist Convention skies as a new type of thinking was permeating the denomination. What began innocently enough with the use of intriguing words like “inerrancy” and “infallible” to describe the Bible developed into a full blown attack on traditional Baptist principles of freedom of interpretation and “priesthood of the believer.” Churches like First Baptist Church who valued the freedom to interpret the Word of God, were without a home. First Baptist Church had to make decisions regarding where they would donate their contributions to participate in the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel around the world.
So, as we concluded the first 100 (2009) years as a church, realizing that just as our history was intentional, our future must be intentional as well. Vision and commitment will be keys to the generations that follow as they seek to continue the strong ministry established by our founders.
Certainly the future is impossible to discern, but if we are to succeed in raising the awareness of Jesus Christ in the Farmville community, we must have a God-given vision for the direction we want to take the Church.
We invite YOU to be a part of that vision and commitment to be the church that God intends for us to be in the community of Farmville, North Carolina!