CHURCH HISTORY

The First Baptist Church of Manchester was formally organized on June 22, 1781 under the name “The Church of Jesus Christ in Manchester” by Elder Nathan Mason and a delegation from the Baptist Church of Lanesborough, Massachusetts. The fellowship that signed the sixteen articles of faith drawn up as a covenant were one hundred and ten members from Manchester and eighty-two from Dorset.

Elder Joseph Cornell came to Manchester from Swansea, Massachusetts having been ordained in 1780 by the Lanesborough Baptist Church. Settling in Manchester, he became entitled to the “First Settled Minister’s Right” designated by the Town Charter. Elder Cornell sold these lands to finance the building of the first meeting house in the northwest corner of what is now Factory Point Cemetery. Early records and local histories describe it as a large, plain frame building.

This church early subscribed to the Sunday School movement and the First Church School began in 1825. The Church School has continued to be a vital ministry throughout its history.

The present sanctuary was built in 1833 with bricks drawn from Bennington. In 1835 the Women’s Missionary Society was founded which continues as part of our Mary and Martha Fellowship.

In 1843, a marble platform was added to the church. In 1873 rooms were added and in 1876 the present belfry tower, bell and vestry were added. The same time that the Johnson Tracker Organ was installed, the kitchen wing was added to the present building. The 1981 entrance brings our church to its present form.

From its earliest time, this church was concerned with churches in other communities and expanding its fellowship beyond this valley. It early joined in the Shaftsbury Association, began a short-lived association of its own with other Baptist Churches in New York called the Manchester Association, and later was instrumental in the founding of the Vermont Baptist State Convention.

It also has participated in the organization and founding of several other churches. These include the Hubbardton Baptist Church as early as 1787, the Stillwater Baptist Church, and the East Dorset Baptist Church now known as the East Dorset Federated Church.
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FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH CELEBRATES 175 YEARS
January 11, 2009
In 1833 Andrew Jackson was president, there were 24 states with a United States population of over 16 million people and the life expectancy was 37 years. Jo1m Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and some leading political figures were Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. There had been a slave uprising led by Nat Turner in 1831, Abraham Lincoln was studying law in Springfield, Ill. and Samuel Clemens was born. The telegraph had been invented and there was a national road that ran from Baltimore, MD to Vandalia, Ill.
Meanwhile in Manchester Center, VT the congregation of the First Baptist Church met at the Factory Point Schoolhouse on January 21, 1833 to form a committee that would facilitate the building of new meeting house. The church had been founded in 1781 and their meeting house, built in 1785, was located on the northwest comer of the present Factory Point Cemetery. The committee formed was chaired by Loring Dean and the clerk was John W. Harris. Other members and interested persons included Martin Slocum, Phebe Boom, Gideon Burrit, Amos Boorn, William Bourn, Nathan Eaton, Samuel Mix, Anson Mattison, John S. Pettibone, Silas Sutherland, Benjamin Sutherland, Ebenezer Colby, James Wheaton, William Jenson, Anne Taylor, Orel Taylor and John L.Vance.
The committee raised the $2000 they thought necessary, by selling twenty shares at $100 each. Twenty-nine people bought shares, some bought half-shares, some quarter-shares, some whole shares and Martin Slocum bought two shares. The first half of the pledge was due on October 1,1833 and the second half was due on December 1, 1833.Ebenezer Colby was hired by the group to oversee the building of "a meeting house of timber and brick with a (choir) gallery and belfry, to be paid one dollar and one half per day."
The property built on, was purchased through John L.Vance and had been previously owned by Masily Hall of Wallingford and was known as the Ames Corner. The deed was filed on July 12, 1833 for one acre of land at $500.
On November 5, 1833, the committee met, as more funds were needed to complete the building and two more pledges totaling $35 were given.
On November 23, 1833 the committee reviewed the progress of the building and discussed the need for "two suitable stoves with good new pipe."

The committee met again on December 3, 1833 and designated the remaining money for the purchase of a bell. The total cost of building the meeting house was $2,329.0l.
The meeting house must have been completed by December 26, 1833 because the minutes record, "proprieters are called to meet December 26, 1833 to choose a moderator and other officers and act on any appropriate business."
On January 11, 2009 the first Baptist Church invites the community to help us celebrate the 175th anniversary of the first worship in the newly built meeting house with a worship service at 10:30 A.M. followed by a potluck dinner at 12:00 P.M...
F or more information contact a celebration committee member as follows; Pastor Dr. Robert Carpenter at 362-1555, James Comar at 362¬1751, Jean Fielding at 362-1778, Mary Keyes at 362-3551, Jeff Linebeck at 362-3796, Sharon MacFarlane at 293-5567, Dottie Sundquist at 375-6127 or Martha Thompson at 362-3473.
MEMBERS OF FORTY YEARS OR MORE



Helene Wilkins 1932
Cora Mattison 1945
Shirley Guthridge 1946
Katherine Griffis 1946
Edith Bolster Sargood 1948
Lois Squires 1957
Ruth Cook 1950
Leona Squiers 1950
Martha Bowen 1953
Robert Dow 1953
Sylvia (Hopkins)Richards 1953
Anna Ennis 1954
Dorothy Brophy 1955
Phillip Squires 1957
Marjorie Sverduk 1957
Maurice Thompson 1957
Sylvia Hartwell Taylor 1957
Patricia Norse Cepela 1958
Kathleen Powers 1958
Dorothy Griffith 1958
Russell Taxter 1963
William West 1963
Jeffrey Nicholson 1964
James West 1965
Beverly Keyes Brown 1967
Jean Shores Wall 1967