| In February 1841, the Rev. James Huckins visited the fledgling city of Houston, where a small group of Baptists had been meeting informally since 1838. Under Huckins' leadership, a congregation was organized on April 10, 1841, with 16 charter members. Noted Texas minister William E. Tryon became the Houston church's first resident pastor in 1845. His first concerns were the erection of a church building and increasing the membership. The new structure, located at the corner of Travis Street and Texas Avenue, was dedicated in May 1847, and membership increased dramatically. Pastor Tryon succumbed to yellow fever in 1847. Under the leadership of his successor, Dr. Rufus C. Burleson, membership grew to 140 by 1852. Membership declined during the Civil War and Reconstruction, reaching 100 again in 1871. The church began a mission in nearby Richmond in the 1870s, followed by two mission chapels north of Buffalo Bayou and Tuam Mission in South Houston in the 1890s. These and other missions sponsored by the First Baptist Church became self-supporting Baptist churches. In 1907 the church joined with others in establishing the Star of Hope Mission and the Baptist Sanitarium (later Baptist Memorial Hospital). The congregation persevered during the Depression and World War II. The congregation experienced unprecedented growth in the early 1970s, and on April 3, 1977, relocated to this site from 1010 Lamar in downtown Houston. Membership increased to 21,000 by the year 2000. In addition to evangelism, discipleship and missions, the church became known for other specialized ministries, including music and pageantry, programs for the deaf, community service and support to smaller churches. (2001) |
This page last updated: 8/30/2009
Related Themes: Texas Baptist Churches, Texas C.S.A., Texas Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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