Senior Pastor Cedric L. Rowan will welcome guests: the Rev. Edward A. Cottner of Wichita and the Rev. Dr. Robert Baynham.
When First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Kan., was born in 1859, its founding families had escaped from the South and made their home among a community of Wyandotte Natives along the Missouri and Kaw rivers in Kansas Territory. They held services in their homes, starting in Aunt Dinah Smith’s residence at the edge of the village, what is now the southwest corner of Fifth Street and State Ave.
Now, 160 years later, First Baptist is celebrating a special anniversary on Sun., Nov. 24, at its current home at 500 Nebraska Ave., KCK, just a block from that original location.
The morning service at 10 a.m. will feature the message delivered by the Rev. Edward A. Cottner of Wichita. Dinner will follow morning service and the afternoon service will begin at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Robert Baynham. The Metropolitan Baptist Temple will join in fellowship to celebrate the occasion.
During its early years, which were during the Civil War, First Baptist grew as more slaves escaped to the area, and then after the war freedmen left oppression in the South for economic opportunity and settled in KCK.
The church’s leadership was initially a collaboration of a Baptist minister (Rev. Joe Strater) and a Methodist minister (Rev. Buchanan). Eventually, the congregations gathered enough members of both denominations and they decided to split accordingly in 1864. The Methodist parishioners formed what would become First AME Church of KCK, which celebrated its 160th anniversary earlier this year.
First Baptist then grew from a storefront at Fifth and Washington Blvd, with 28 members (1864) to a 23-by-36-foot frame building in the 600 block of Nebraska Ave (about 1866-81) to their current property at 500 Nebraska Ave. Their brick church was one of the first in the city, and they had a new organ (about 1881-1902).
With several hundred members in 1902, First Baptist replaced its home of 20 years with a new brick building designed by architect E.O. Brostrum of KCMO, and this structure survives today with some additions.
First Baptist has weathered hardships like fires, floods and the passage of loved ones, but has been blessed with a strong community and leaders.
Senior Pastor Cedric L. Rowan, a KCMO native who was called to the ministry in mid-life, has led First Baptist since 2009.
For more information visit: KCFirstBaptistChurch.com.