Serving The Lord 100 Years
The First Baptist Church of Lewis Kansas has been serving the Lord for over 100 years.
The records from American Baptist Churches, USA show that the First Baptist Church of Lewis, Kansas was registered with them in March 1902. Many records have been lost, so piecing our history togather has not been an easy task. A wonderful record was given in the Lewis Centennial Book, but the dates would not quite fit with the registry, so this is our story to the best of our knowledge.
First Baptist Church was organized in 1902 with eleven charter members. The members met in homes for Bible study and prayer. In 1907 the Baptist church in Lewis began sharing a pastor with the Baptist church in Belpre. At some point during this time, The Christian Church of Lewis kindly offered the use of their building, and the offer was gladly accepted. The church held services there for about seventeen months.
The first building was completed in the spring of 1909, and dedicated June 13, 1909. It was a very attractive building made of cement blocks, with a unique tower at the front entrance. However, by 1945 the old cement block building was showing its age. Our beloved Dorothy Wheaton and Harry Ruff both told stories of the old buildings deterioratiing to the point that cleaning for Sunday morning services had to be done on Sunday morning, because the birds would make such a mess overnight that it would have to be done again on Sunday morning anyway.
The present building, which was originally the Fellsburg Grade School building, was purchased and moved to Lewis in 1945. It was set on a full basement and remodeled complete with the beatuiful woodwork that is still here today. In 1946 services were held there, and it was dedicated in 1948. Dorothy Wheaton also shared that all of this took place during the time of the second World War, and many supplies were scarce and extra money was hard to come by. She said that the reason our present basement has only seven foot ceilings was that cement was hard to get, and was very costly, so they cut one foot off the height of the basement walls. Our building has served us well, and we praise God for the diligence of all of those good people who worked so hard to provide a proper building to worship in.
In 1991, John Cross donated the property on the corner of A and Main St. to First Baptist Church for use as a Youth Building. The building was remodeled by the church in the early 1990s, and has been a blessing, not only to our church, but also to the Senior Citizens of Lewis, and other or our community who have used the building for various functions.
First Baptist Church has owned various homes in Lewis at different times in our history, that have funcitioned as the parsonage. The present parsonage, purchased in 1997, is located at 308 West Ave A Street.
While the physical history of First Baptist Church is fascinating, a more important history is the ministry of the church. As in many churches some of the history is quite colorful, however, the lives that our church has touched, the love that was freely given, and the outreaches we have been privileged to be part of are the real heritage we want to remember.
First Baptist Church has supported foreign and domestic missions since the beginning, and by God's grace it will always do so, but it is a special privilege to have missionaries on the field who have even stronger ties to the church. At present we have two missionary families who have members that grew up in our church. Missionaries Kent and Kelly Craig have served in the Philippines for many years, and are now working as coordinators of missions in the Far East for ABWE Missions. Kelly Wolfe Craig grew up in Lewis, she is the daughter of Bill and Aurelia Wolfe. Also Michael and Nicoele Bailey are ministering to young and old alike throught their work with Tasch Ministries. Michael and Micoele take youth on short mission trips, both inside and outside the U.S.. Michael Bailey is the son of Jim and Annie Bailey, grandson fo Frank and Barbara Bailey (Lewis), and Karl and Mary Osburn (Kinsley). In the past there have been others who have served as Lay Pastors, Missionaries, and in various other areas that have made them a blessing to all those whose lives thay have touched. Praise God for their work. Praise God for that heritage!!! In addition to these, First Baptist Church also supports two other missionary families on a monthly basis, and several others we support yearly.
Over the 100 years of our existence there has been a variety of misistries that have been part of First Baptist Church here in Lewis.
Our outreach to the community has always been an important aspect of our heritage. The list of ministries to the community over the years includes: Good News Club, Kids Kapers, Jr. & Sr. High Youth Groups, Vacation Bible School, and other projects that were supported by folks in our church. Other ministries that members of First Baptist have blessed others with have been: Puppet Ministry,Clowning, Mime, Vocal music, Christian Magic, Instrumental Music, Nursing Home ministry, and numerous other outreach ministries. Another aspect of outreach has been to help others, both inside and outside of our church family, when they had a need. One fun fact we uncovered is that at various times in our history both the Youth Buildings and the Churchbasement have been used as a home for the Pastors and other people who were in need of housing. Helping one another is what our church has been about for 100 years.
Last but not least is the ministry of our folks within the church over the years. Most of the outreach ministries mentioned have also been a blessing within our church as well. In addition to these, our church family has aslo been involved in bus ministry, teaching Sunday School and Children's Church, Choir, Soecial Christmas and Easter Programs, Quartet, and many other uses for the gifts that God has blessed our people with. God has blessed us with many good cooks, and over the years each gift has been used by God to show love for others.
This is not a compleate list of everything God has done through our Church, but we pray this will give you a sense of how wonderful a heritage that those before us have begun here in Lewis, and will continue until our Lord comes back and there is no longer a need. God bless you and Thank you.
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