Our Church History
First Baptist Church of Fairfield has been located on South First Street since its inception in 1883, when it was affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention. Calvary Baptist Church, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, was organized on December 18, 1921. On May 6, 1924, First Baptist and Calvary Baptist voted to merge their congregations and be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The new congregation became First Baptist Church, and their meeting place remained on South First Street.
First Baptist Church burned on November 22, 1944, leaving the church homeless. During this time, services were held in the Wayne County Courthouse. On December 12, 1944, it was decided to construct a new building at the location on South First. Due to the war, many difficulties ensued, including a failure to gain a priority building permit from the “War Production Board.” After much prayer and consideration, Pastor U.G. Salter asked Carrie E. Gaston to compose a letter to the President of the United States seeking such priority. A few days later, the church received a telegram from President Truman stating that priority would be granted. The existing structure was completed in 1945 under the leadership of Pastor Salter.
The largest building program undertaken was the present education wing in 1955 and the sanctuary in 1963. Harry L. Garrett was the pastor at the time of the initial planning of both additions and oversaw the building of the education wing. A dedication service for the education building was held on Sunday, June 5, 1955. Dr. George Karr was the pastor during the building of the sanctuary, which was completed and dedicated in 1963. The new fellowship hall was constructed in 1982. The pastor during the planning and construction was Charles Dampeer.
First Baptist celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary as a Southern Baptist Church on May 6, 1999.
Pastors serving First Baptist Church since its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention (in chronological order): Roy M. Gabbert; J.S. Bright; J.E. Dixon; F.J. Weir; J.A. McCord; J.S. Bright; C.L. Butler; Edwin Settle; T.F. Lowrey; William Carlton; George Leathers; Arthur Smith; J.H. Brown; U.G. Salter; Lowell Matheny; Harry L. Garrett; James Merriman; George L. Karr; V. Bradford Curry; David R. Dean; Ted O. Padgett; Charles R. Dampeer; Roger W. Ellsworth; Robert Jay Adrian; T. Dale Bitting; Ronald Coppock and our current pastor, Bennie E. Tomberlin.