First Baptist Church in Framingham

History of the First Baptist Church

1756 Elders from Connecticut preached at intervals.
1762 First recorded baptism.
1762 or 64 Baptist society formed.
1772 Continuous preaching began. Joseph Byxbe, Jr., the first preacher. Worshipped in the upper story of Ebenezer Marshall’s tavern at Park’s corner.
1762–90 Thirty people baptized.
1809 Only five acknowledged Baptists when Rev. Charles Train became pastor.
1811 Framingham Baptist Society united with Weston.
1814-15 Revival brought large numbers into the church, especially the Framingham branch. New house of worship needed.
1815 Female Mite Society organized – forerunner of the Ladies Aid. Church has contributed to missions since the time of Adoniram Judson. Some outstanding gifts: First chapel car, Mills Memorial Library at Newton Theological Seminary, Hills Chapel in Framingham, Goddard Memorial Chapel in Shaehsing, White School for boys, Ella W. Fiske School for Girls in Mandalay, Elisha M. White Library at Gordon, Church in Puerto Rico, and High School in Barranquita.
1825 Thirteen men agreed to take the responsibility for the house of worship: Deacon Stephen Buttrick, Deacon Stephen Buttrick, Deacon Enoch Belknap, Mr. Windsor Moulton, Mr. Henry Hyde, Mr. John Wenzell., Jr., Mr. John Bullard, Mr. Joseph Ballard, Mr. Issac Fiske, Mr. Elias Temple, Mr. Warren Nixon, Mr. Carleton Corbett, Mr. David Bigelow, and Mr. Moses Fiske. Plans drawn by Solomon Willard, a Worcester architect, who included in his drawings the beautiful Christopher Wren steeple. Col. Daniel Harrington of Shrewsbury was the builder. Land was purchased from Captain Peter Johnson and Mr. William Buckminister for $650. The bell was purchased from Mr. George Holbrook of Medway at a cost of $400, which included the frame.
Nov. 17, 1825 Cornerstone laid with Masonic rites. Only a rough cellar was finished under the 54’ x 64’ building with the back open so horses could be driven in and hitched. Box pews were sold to cover cost of building. Two stores were installed – an unusual luxury in those days. No organ or baptistery. Total cost of building, furnishings and land, about $9,000.
May 8, 1826 A council convened in Framingham and after due deliberation voted “to constitute the brethren and sisters of Framingham as a distinct body and church of our Lord Jesus Christ in Framingham”. So was organized the First Baptist Church in Framingham with one-hundred nineteen members and the Rev. Charles Train as pastor.
Sunday, January 1827 First services were held in the new building. Pastor preached from text, “The Beauty of Holiness – Psalm 90:17. Musical instruments used – violin, flute, clarinet, and two bass viols. Many people attended in spite of a heavy storm.
1825-45 Seven young men from the church entered the ministry.
1836 One room finished in the basement.
1843 Several members left to start a Baptist Church in Ashland.
1845 Bell cracked and was replaced by Mr. Holbrook for $50.
1849 Negro galleries were closed and further renovations done and the building insured for $5,000.
1852 Pipe Organ installed at the cost of $1,400.
1854 Members left “with a mother’s blessing” to start a church in South Framingham (Park St.) and Woodville (Hopkinton)
1857 Sanctuary floor raised and vestry finished. Circular pews installed and recess made behind the pulpit.
1874 Parlor set off and kitchen added.
1886 Four rooms added behind the pulpit and a baptistery installed.
1888 Church incorporated thus doing away with the Baptist Society.
1902 Electric lights installed.
1910 Roof shingled with slate.
1912 Organ motorized
1917-20 Spire reinforced with a complete steel framework imbedded in solid rock. Church literally founded on rock.
1926 Centennial observed with a week’s special events. A historical sermon was preached by the Rev. Arthur Train Bellsnap DD, a descendant of one of the founders and a forward looking sermon by the pastor, Rev. Alfred Wheeler.
1928 Two new hot air coal burning furnaces installed.
1938 Church organization legally changed from two distinct organizations – corporate and religious – to operate under one organization. 1947 Sanctuary redecorated and platform enlarged.
1949 Oil burning furnaces installed.
1957 Carillon records and player installed in belfry to honor Deacon L.L. Workman for his untiring and devoted service to the church. 1958 Sponsored a Hungarian family of four.
1964 Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston gave an address in the church. The first time a Roman Catholic prelate had spoken in a Protestant Church in Framingham.
1964 Purchase the Banks property. Adjoining the church property on Pleasant Street.
1969 Paved driveways and parking areas.
1970 Renovated the vestry – installed new electric wiring and an acoustical ceiling and paneled the walls.
April 13, 1975 Rededication service to celebrated 150 years of ministry and the newly painted sanctuary.
1984 All 72 pews were reupholstered at the cost of $8,450.
1985 Church was painted, shutters fixed, and the weathervane restored.
1987 Replaced the 3 front doors of the church.
1987 Mortgages of the Pleasant St. and Cherry Rd. (parsonage) properties were paid in full.
1988 120 new hymnal purchased for the worship services.
1988 Remortgaged Pleasant St. property for repairs and refurbishing which included siding, new windows and new zoned heating.
1994 Roof replaced – with 30 year architectural shingles. Front and South side of church – paint removed to bare wood and repainted.
1998 Congregation voted to approve to begin discussions with Park Street Baptist for the blending of the two congregations. Merger would be formalized after the sale of the Park Street Church building.
2000 Windows in sanctuary reglazed and rehung.
2001 Merger of the two congregations becomes official on January 25, 2001.
2001 Group from the church, take a mission trip to San Salvador and help to rebuild buildings destroyed by an earthquake.
2003 Church building is made handicapped accessible. Vestibule is redesigned with new stairway to downstairs. Downstairs entry redesigned to include a ramp and automatic door and a lift to provide access to the sanctuary from the ground level. New handicapped restroom added.