The First Baptist Church of Ossining, the oldest in Ossining, is celebrating 220 years. Read below for more information from the church on its history and this Sunday’s event:
The Historic First Baptist Church of Ossining, NY will be celebrating its 220th Anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 14. A special commemorative service is scheduled at 11:00 a.m. Marcia McCraw, Restoration Committee Chair, will lead in the dedication of a beautifully re-built stained-glass window in memory of the late Marion Dunstan. The unique windows of this historic church give brilliance to the basic Gospel stories, with each window also expressing the theme of “the Vine and the branches.” These beautiful windows inspire all who enter the Sanctuary. The beauty of the wood framing, especially around the Baptistry succinctly declares the Christian Gospel of “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”
A very interesting history of this historic church documents that Elijah Hunter, a Revolutionary War Captain, and his wife opened their home for Christian worship in April, 1786 in the village of (what was then called) Sing Sing. Four years later, on November 12, 1790, the First Baptist Church of Ossining was officially established with thirty-three members. However, for twenty-nine years they continued to worship in homes. As the membership increased, Captain Hunter donated land which was used to build their first “Meeting House,” a small wood structure, which served them for fifty years. Since the first church building had no provision for baptismal services for seventy-five years, baptisms by immersion took place in the Hudson River, in a small cove south of the train station. Finally, in 1865 a baptistry was built in the church which made it possible for baptisms to take place throughout the year.
As the church continued to grow, the congregation needed a larger building. The beautiful brick building that was erected to replace the small wooden one was dedicated to the glory and honor of God on June 3, 1874. At that time, the cost of the building was $75,000 and was built from the contributions of the congregation with-out having to procure a mortgage. This new building did not have electricity installed until 1916. In 1973 First Baptist Church was named to the National Historic Register.
In 1890, at First Baptist Church’s 100th Anniversary, an itinerant Black-American minister requested support from the Church to establish a separate church for Black Americans to worship in Ossining. This was agreed upon and resulted in officially establishing the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church, which is now located on South Spring Street, and is a thriving Baptist Church today.
The benevolence of First Baptist Church families has served many thousands of citizens of greater Ossining for more than two centuries! Moreover, with the modern miracle of the satellite internet, the church is now broadcasting the Gospel around the entire world 24/7 via the sponsorship of Telemissions.org through Internet Explorer. The broadcast, which is hosted by Dr. Gordon Anderson, Jr., is titled “Focus on Faith” and highlights location interviews of noted Americans. These timeless testimonies are followed by Pastor Anderson’s message.
While the church is now reaching around the world, its multiple services are down-to-earth. The increase of Spanish-speaking immigrants in our greater community is now being served by two Evangelical Spanish Assemblies worshipping every week in our historic church building. The Rev. Dr. Gordon Anderson, Sr. has been Pastor of this church since 1998 and his wife, Carol, is the Minister of Music.
Many years have come and gone, many wonderful Pastors and people have come through the doors of First Baptist, but it is the beautiful sweet spirit of the Lord that is most important and remains in this place. It is this spirit that inspires so many as they mingle with the people and sense the love of God in the church fellowship.
The public is cordially invited to celebrate the 220th Anniversary on Sunday, November 14 at 11:00 a.m. For further information, telephone the church office at 914-941-4239.