More than 130 years ago, even before the organization of South Haven, the First Baptist Church was established. The date was April 22, 1866. Then known as the Baptist Conference, a small group of believers fellowshipped and prayed together until they felt led to formally organize a church. This was done in 1870, with 31 charter members. Dr. William Hewson, who was also a physician, was called to be the first pastor.
The First Baptist building was located at the corner of Michigan and Paw Paw (now Indiana Avenue). A New Building Committee was appointed in November of 1877, and in 1888 the church building was sold to the German Lutheran congregation. Services were held in the Opera House until the Church building at Center and Huron streets was completed. The cornerstone was laid in October of 1888 and in May of 1889, the building was dedicated.
In 1971 another Building Committee was formed to discuss the possibility of building yet another larger church to accommodate the increasing members, then at 140. In September of 1984 the land was purchased at 10781 76th Street (now 1635 76th Street) where the new church would be built. In October of 1987 ground breaking took place. Finally, on September 9, 1990, the new church was dedicated after 19 years of planning and building.
Since then, we have added our children’s worship wing, a carport at the front entrance, a spire, a bell tower, and enlarged the parking lot and paved it. In the spring of 2006, we dedicated another addition that was added to the east side of the building. This addition includes an upstairs with classrooms and a youth center, a full size kitchen, gym, children’s worship room, and library.