First Baptist Church Henrietta....By His Grace - For His Glory!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The First Baptist Church of Henrietta was organized on November 11, 1876 in the Cambridge Community, located 5 miles northeast of Henrietta by Rev. R.D. Hardee with 10 charter members. During the beginning years when Rev. H.M. Burroughs was pastor, the church moved to Henrietta. Three months after Henrietta was selected as county seat, a town of dugouts and sod streets, the first sermon at the Henrietta church was preached by Rev. A.J. Holt, missionary to the Indians.
The first church building was erected on the present location in 1884. The lot was donated by the W.S. and E.F. Ikard families. John Schwend cut the stones for the meeting house which was 33 feet wide and 50 feet long and 16 feet high. The foundation walls were 30 inches wide with the main walls being 24 inches thick. In 1912, Pastor Holland conducted a memorable revival in a tent on the present parking lot. It lasted for nine weeks and over 100 people were saved.
Ground breaking was held February 11, 1950 for the educational building while Rev. John Lewis was the pastor. J.N. Hunt, L.C. Greer and E.L. Moody, (former pastors) were present for the ground breaking ceremony. L.J. Gentry served as contractor for the project.
When the building was completed and dedicated, Rev. Robert Smith was the pastor. When the present sanctuary was built, it was connected to the eduacation facility.
The Sunday School occupied the new facility on May 10, 1952. The educational building is currently being used for various activities.
During 1962, the present sanctuary was constructed under the pastorate of Rev. Kenneth Cantrell. Dedication services were on November 8, 1964. The church's traditional, yet unique A -frame style auditorium has a seating capacity of 450, and has additional seating in an overflow room as a part of their churchs foyer when needed. All seating is at floor level as there is no balcony. Where the balcony would normally be located is an upper area which houses the sound system and video equipment for use during worship services and other events.
In 1992 when Rev. Ron Gunter was Pastor, the new educational wing was constructed. The dedication service was on February 28, 1993.
In the summer of 2009 and at a cost of nearly 1.3 million dollars, the church once again ventured out in faith, as they set out to rennovate the first Education Building constructed on the church's property that was completed in May of 1952. And, in April of 2010 they completed this renovation. This recent renovation was carried out on both floors of the building. The first floor includes a new nursery, new preschool and children's classrooms, a childrens multipurpose room, kitchen area, and a new choir suite. The second floor includes a new, much larger and much needed Student Center, and includes new and larger classrooms, a new praise and worship center, a multipurpose room, resource room and a kitchen area. An elevator was also installed in the building along with new bathrooms on each floor and new storage areas. New doors as well as new windows were also installed in the building. In the picture above you can see the old education building to the left of the sanctuary. Although not seen, behind the sanctuary and old education building is the newer education building that houses the church offices, more education space and the Fellowship Hall, just to name a few. This building is attached to the other facilities. The final building is the church's Child Development Center, and is also located behind the church's auditorium and both education buildings, and is located just across the street from the church's main property.
The church presently has over 1300 members and their Pastor is Randy Osborn. The church places a strong emphasis on missions locally and around the world. Our heritage is rich and our future is bright as we seek to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ, while serving, "For His Grace-By His Glory".