When did it all start? A little History
Being new to Ingersoll, we had to take the mandatory tour of the town – you know how it is; where is the nearest Timmies, drug store and what restaurants can we spend money at? What we didn’t expect was the feeling we got when we passed First Baptist Church. We just knew it was to be our church. When we first entered through the doors we really didn’t know what to expect. I, for one, immediately felt at peace. I felt like I was home. Everything from the people to the wooden pews, the organ pipes, the stained glass windows and (oddly enough) the smell gave me a sense of God’s presence and love. When I started working at the church, (a wonderful blessing from our Lord), I was able to see more of the church and began to get the urge to know more about the history. While setting out the Daily Bread booklets, I came across a 150th anniversary directory from 1983. Wow, to look at those pictures from 34 years ago and to recognize so many of the faces of the people that still attend today made my craving for the history of the church even greater. Our historical room, run by Marilynn Edwards and assisted by Nancy Irwin, seemed like a good place to start. What an amazing room – pictures, books, artifacts etc. (NOW OPEN THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH)
While browsing, I found a leaflet – “The History of First Baptist Church”. I won’t plagiarize by retyping the leaflet, but I will give a summary of what I read.
Ingersoll was incorporated as a village in 1852. In 1858 a group of Baptists built a large white brick building on the same lot where the church currently stands. It was built by the Piper and Harris Street Chapels, which joined together in worship. The Albert street congregation joined in 1870. Only one small congregation remained in Beachville.
As membership increased, there was a need for a larger building. In 1890 a new red brick building was erected. Only 8 years later, on May 19, 1898, this building was struck by lightning and caught on fire. As so often happens with church families they rallied together and began to restore the building.
A quote from the Minutes of February 19, 1899 “The church assembling in the tabernacle building desires to record their deep gratitude to Almighty God, for the successful rebuilding of their place of worship. The Building was totally destroyed by fire. At the time the blow was felt irreparable and our hearts sank within us. But God our Heavenly Father…came to our relief and in ways most wonderful deepened our faith and His wisdom and goodness, by enabling us to begin and finish a practically new structure.”
Here is a list of additions and renovations over the next few years
1914 – electricity was installed
1925 – Steam heating system was installed
1932 – auditorium was redecorated
1940 – The sanctuary was renovated
1966 – the Sunday School wing was added
Later restorations in the south tower revealed charred timbers – reminders of the fire that burned the building “yet burned God’s Spirit deeper into our soul”.
Other renovations – mostly decorative – have taken place just in the 2 years since I have been here. Thanks to the many volunteers that have painted, painted and painted.
Here it is 2017 and First Baptist church has committed to and prayed for 1,500 homes in Ingersoll. In September of this year, by the generous donations of the congregation (those who chose a prayer route), these 1,500 homes will receive the WHY book. We pray that this distribution will encourage some of the members of the households to join with other Christians and understand and begin to feel the need for God’s presence in their lives.
Following the WHY distribution, First Baptist Church will present, to anyone interested, the 10 week ALPHA course. God willing, we will have a large attendance and wonderful fellowship to encourage unsure and new believers that our Lord is Great, Gracious and Compassionate, Good, Faithful, Righteous, Near and that He watches over all who love Him (Psalm 145)