“The First Baptist Church of Albany Missouri”–The legally registered name of the church since its
incorporation with the State of Missouri, filed April 11, 1898–has its organizational roots in rural Athens
Township. First called the Baptist Church of Albany, it was founded in 1858 through 1860, north and east of Albany,
on what is now the Maurice Guess farm. “Sampson Carter and his wife, Benjamin Twedell and his wife, William and Henry Ward, and William Ward Jr.,” were among the organizing members.
Somewhere between 1872 & 1874, as a result of most of the membership living near to or within the city limits of Albany, the denomination decided to “move to town" and erected a frame building on the south part of the lot that Albany High School now occupies. While archival information is scarce, it is apparent that the congregation soon fell on hard times. It is reported that although the church remained intact, intermittently functioning, no “regular”
Sunday services were held for some three years. The church was destroyed by a tornado in July of 1883, rebuilt some time before January 1884, and eventually sold to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for debt.
With a new breath of life from the Holy Spirit, membership climbed to a reported 77 people in about 1885. Another lot – which is now known as the Wesley Phillips property – was purchased in Albany, and a church was erected. An organizational update, including official name, was made on July 17, 1891 when under the leadership of Elder S.R. Dillon, with mutual agreement from the membership, the Church was organized and constituted as the “First Baptist Church of Albany.” “Mr. & Mrs. H.L. Albin, Mr. & Mrs. J.M. Dorsey, Mr. & Mrs. W.B. Carter, Mr. & Mrs. Bert Moulton, Mr. & Mrs. John Kingsborough, Mr. & Mrs. T.R. Bray, Charles Lockwood, E.J. Morris, J.B. Thomas, Mrs. Wheeler, and Miss Wheeler” were signees. On March 1, 1898, the Church applied for incorporation papers that were filed on May 29, 1898, by Dale S. Flowers, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Ex-officio Recorder of Deeds for Gentry County, from the State of Missouri. On April 11, 1898, the Great Seal of Missouri was affixed by Secretary of State A.A. Lesueur,
legally incorporating “The First Baptist Church of Albany Missouri.”
The Church continued to prosper through the first two decades of the 20th century and on April 27, 1920, The Church completed purchase on what was then the Methodist Episcopal Church building located at 106 North Smith Street. The wheels turned quickly for transfer of ownership of the equipped and vacated Methodist Episcopal Church. The first services for the First Baptist Church of Albany in the newly purchased building were convened on Mother’s Day, May 9, 1920, with dedication services following on October 21, 1921. The next two decades would have their ups and downs, with the onset of the Great Depression no doubt having an effect on membership and financial well being.
In spite of the tough times by the 1940s, the need for a parsonage became apparent. With a vision of overcoming the clouds of World War II, the membership stepped up. On March 9, 1942 the Bryan Kinsley property, Located on South Hundley, was purchased. This parsonage was sold in July 1956, and a new home was built at Van Buren and Howell Streets. The latter was in service until the current parsonage was built in January 1978. In June 1948, the Church purchased the lot immediately west of the church and in August 1950 the Church voted to build an annex to be used as an educational building. Of concrete block construction, the addition was dedicated on December 10, 1950.
Limited remodeling of the sanctuary was completed in 1963-64. In the spring of 1967 the Church voted to build a new educational building adjoining the old annex, providing six classrooms, pastor’s study, and church office on the top floor with a full dining room and new kitchen in the basement. At this time the annex was remodeled and a new piano was purchased for the sanctuary. On October 15, 1967, the new educational addition was dedicated with special services and an open house. In December of 1969 the church voted to purchase a new organ: It was installed in the same month. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1972 with painting and carpeting, new padded pews were also installed. In late summer of 1982 the Church renovated the basement area under the auditorium, adding six classrooms, rest rooms, outside entrance with ramp, and additional storage space. At the same time the sanctuary was remodeled with a new choir loft and a baptistry. In August 1987, a new parlor grand piano was purchased.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s it became more evident that the physical building had become increasingly
inadequate to serve the congregation’s needs so a committee was formed to pursue a relocation and fund-raising campaign. The workings of God, however marvelous, are often mysterious, and at that time in church history the relocation and construction plan had to be put on hold. Yet, the in-depth planning, debate, and prayer resulted in the creation of a special fund, set aside in the Church budget to be used only for construction of a new church building. Through God’s guidance and grace, the earmarked funds began to grow.
Activity also began to grow. On June 12, 1996, a committee was formed to address the task of finding a site to build a new church. After a six month search a 3.4 acre site was purchased at 805 West U.S. Hwy 136 on the north edge of Albany. On June 6, 1999, after more than 18 months of preoperational study, the church adopted a building plan. On March 3, 2003, the Church purchased a 8.2 acre tract of land located immediately south of the previously purchased tract. Extensive earthwork and site preperation was eventually started and on August 23, 2006, Phase I, the exterior of the building, was started. In late 2007 Phase II, the interior of the building was started, and on January 18, 2009 the first Sunday service was performed in our new church building.