First Baptist Church

Lexington TN

This church was constituted in January 1842. It was begun by Rev. Elisha Collins with seven charter members. They were J. Brown, J. James, Elizabeth Shrewsbur, Sophia Collins, Mary Lee Collins, Julia Collins, and Rev. Elisha Collins. The first house of worship was constructed in 1845. It was a one-room brick structure and is thought to have been located behind the present post office (1978). The first Deacons were W.P. Collins, John R. Wood, and P.H. Ford. In the early days slaves were admitted to membership. Two slaves listed on the roster were Dela Brooks andMary Taylor. Dela lettered out in 1869, but Mary remained a member until her death.

Between 1852 and 1861 the Cgurch fell on hard times. There were five pastors in this period. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Church had 76 members. The Union Army took over the building and converted it into a hospital for wounded soldiers. During the war the Baptist held services in the Methodist CHurch and continued to do so after the conflict had ended.

About 1868 the idea of building a new church building was proposed and this was discussed at just about every business meeting until 1883. A committee composed of John S. Fielder, C.F. McHaney and Robert Kizer was appointed to raise funds. The second church building was erected on a lot given byJohn S. Fielder. It was built of brick and located on what is now the rear parking l ot of Camp's Super Market. It was dedicated debt free on the fifth SUnday in April 1883. W.J. Hodges was the pastor.

The next building was erected on the corner of Church and Natchez Trace Drive (formerly Adams St.). The lot was given to the Church by Mr. and Mrs. John W. Stewart. Rev. Fleetwood Ball was the pastor.

Ground was broken for a new building on the corner of Main, Stanford and First on Mothers Day 1952. Dr. Edwin E. Deusner was the pastor.

It is interesting to note that the Church received aid from the State Mission Board for a number of years. It has in turn been a strong supporter of missions. No word concerning the First Baptist CHurch would be complete without noting that for many years Lexington was the home of the Lexington Baptist Male and Female Academy. Som of the pastors also served as principals of the school. The church has had but 22 pastors during its entire life - tow of these serviing more than one term. Since 1902 the church has had but four four pastors and tow of these (Ball and Deusner) servied a total of 66 years.


Elisha Collins 1842 - 1852
J.V.E. Covey 1852 - 1853
C.L. Cote 1853 - 1854
Reubers Day 1854 - 1856
J. Cole 1856 - 1857
M.H. Neal 1858 - 1861
D.B. Ray 1862 - 1867
W.J. Hodges 1867 - 1884
R.S. Fleming 1884 - 1885
1894 - 1895
I.Z. Kimbrough 1886 - 1888
T.G. Lane 1888 - 1888
B.F. Bartles 1889 - 1890
W.S. Roney 1891 - 1892
A.J. Barton 1892 - 1894
W.I. Feazell 1896 - 1897
G.M. Savage 1898 - 1899
T.F. Moore 1900 - 1901
A.J. Castellon 1901 - 1902
Fleetwood Ball 1902 - 1936
Simpson Daniel 1937 - 1940
Walter Warmath 1941 - 1945
Edwin E. Deusner 1945 - 1977
Hoyt Wilson 1978 - 2002
Dr. Michael Adams 2003 - Present

The church, as of Oct. 1, 1983, has a membership of 1105 with 1133 enrolled in Sunday School. During 1981-82 the sanctuary and older educational building were renovated at a cost of $172,000. A new ALlen three-manual organ was placed in the sanctuary during 1983. The fellowhsip of the church is good and God is blessing with significant growth.

An Interesting Place
by Doris Jarrett (date unknown)

Lexington First Baptist Church will hold its first service in the newly enlarged sanctuary next Sunday Sept. 12. This is the result of an extensive building and remodeling program which began in April 1998 when ground was broken for an addition to the nearly 50 year old sanctuary.

On Mother's Day 1952, while Dr. Edwin E. Deusneer was pastor, the congregation moved to a new structure on the corner of Main Street and Stanford Avenue. This building replaced a former one on the corner of Natchez Trace Drive and Church Street where the lat Fleetwood Ball had been pastor.

Todays impressive building, the 4th location of the church, is a far cry from the first one - a one-room brick building built in 1845, with 7 church members. It is thought that it was located behing the now vacant Post Office building at the corner of Main adn Broad Streets (in 2007 this building is the Beech Bluff Museum). During the Civil War, the Union Army used the building as a hospital for wounded soldiers. THe Baptist held services in the Methodist CHurch until the war was over.

In 1883 a second church was erected on a lot given byJohn S. Fielder on CHurch Street. The third location was on the corner of Natchez Trace Drive and Church on a lot given by Mr. and Mrs. John W. Stewart. During Dr. Deusner's ministry, the church built the present sanctuary, the tower and the three story educational building.

In 1990, the church built church offices, a conference room, a fellowship hall, 17 Sunday School rooms, two assembly rooms and two kitchens. By 1994, the church was debt-free. Of the 23 pastors serving, it is interesting to note that three of them have a combined tenure of 87 years ( Rev. Ball, Deusner and WIlson).

The latest remodeling of the church was done by Quinn and Quinn Co., Inc. of Parsons, contractor and Roy Gilliand and Associates of Nashville, architects. The sanctuary has been expanded from 38 feet wide to a width of 80 feet. This will allow for 4 sections of pews on the first floor, featuring a center aisle. A balcony wraps around three sides of the sanctuary in a horseshoe shape with stairs at the rear and stairs on both sides exiting at the pulpit area. The balcony edging features gothic trim that is a replica of the trim which was used only at the pulpit and choir originally. The railing of the choir area is glass topped by a security rail. The original stained glass windows have been used in the sides of teh building and a four foot section of new stained glass has been added to each window. Additionally, in the east wall above the choir area, there will be a large stained glass window of Jesue praying on a rock in Gethesmane. The floors are beautiful oak hardwood with burgundy carpet aisle runners. The choir loft is hardwood, and the pulpit platform is covered with burgundy carpet. The pews are padded both seat and back with a gray fabric accented with burgundy.

The enlarged and renovated sanctuary will seat 965. The space has been rated adequate for 1200 by the state fire marshall. The new basement will have the Jack Hay Sunday School class, carpeted and with theater seats; a choir room for 62 people. The organ and piano preciously used in the sanctuary have been moved into the choir practice area. There is also a choir library, a choir work room, music storage areas, and two large Sunday School rooms or conference rooms, all carpeted. The music ministry will be enhanced with the addition of a 6 foot Astonia grand piano and a new Allen Renaissance organ.

The church staff consists of Dr. Hoyt Wilson, pastor; David Holmes, minister of music and youth; Richard Savage, minister of education and outreach; Sandy Savage, director of pre-school and children's ministries; Melinda Overton, church secretary; ANnette Jones, financial secretary; Marguerite Nichollson, receptionist and secretary; Paul Smith, custodian and Beth Watts, custodian.

It is interesting that the church once received aid from the Tennessee Baptist Convention and now it is one of the largest contributors to the Corporate Program in Tennessee. Next Sunday, it is hoped that 1,000 will be in Sunday School at 9 a.m. and 1,000 in worship services at 10:15 when the congregation will enter in a body with heartfelt praise and prayers. The usual schedule of the week's activities will follow. We congratulate Dr. Wilson, the pastor, and all the members of the First Baptist Church on their beautiful new building.

"Memorial Gift to First Baptist Church"
A deeply appreciated gift was presented to teh First Baptist Church of Lexington this week by Mr. and Mrs. J.A> Bray as a memorial to their son, George Carl Bray who passed away several years ago at the age of 10. Mr. and Mrs. Bray made it possible for the Church officials to purchase the property adjoining the church with their gift of $2,000.00 and started the plan for building a Sunday School Annex on this property. The congregation appreciates this splendid gift and feels inspired to go forward with determination to make the building a worthy memorial.
From the Lexington Leader March 13, 1942 Friday