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Our History

On September 28, 1878, Rev. T.B. Newberry and Rev. John Monroe organized Hamlet Baptist Church of Hamlet with twenty-seven members.  The church remained very small for many years, but in 1903, a former missionary to China, Rev. L.N. Chappell, became the pastor.  Rev. Chappell led the congregation in an awakening of missionary spirit, both locally and in support of foreign efforts.  The church increased in number and built a second building that could seat two hundred, though when Rev. Chappell left the church in 1906, the membership was still just forty-nine.  The church was looking to the future.

The church entered a period of sustained growth in subsequent years under several pastors.  Membership rose to 124 by 1910 and 320 by 1916.  Once again the church needed a larger sanctuary.  The new sanctuary was dedicated September 5, 1919.  It was on this occasion that Hamelt Baptist church was renamed First Baptist Church of Hamlet.  In 1922, the church finally found a long-term pastor in Rev. J.B. Willis.  Rev. Willis presided over the continuing growth of the church.  The Great Depression hit the church hard, and at times Rev. Willis' salary went unpaid due to necessary building maintenance.  Still, the church grew numerically, and by 1942 there were 854 church members.

The years of World War II brought changes to all churches in the Hamlet area, including First Baptist.  The soldiers at nearby Camp Mackall and their families poured into local churches, and the congregation at First Baptist offered all the hospitality they could.  Though the end of the war saw the departure of most of these temporary residents, the church continued to add members throughout the remainder of Rev. Willis' tenure.  In 1959, Rev. Willis announced his retirement after 37 years as pastor.  He left the church with over a thousand members, and he was loved much by a congregation with whom he shared many joys and sorrows.

The church called Rev. Benjamin Broadway to replace Rev. Willis.  With more space needed, the church undertook to build an education building to house Sunday School and other church activities.  The education building was completed in 1962.  Though the church was unable to buck national trends and the period of church growth ended, First Baptist Church of Hamlet remained a dedicated and vibrant congregation.  After 11 years as pastor, Rev. Broadway left to become the General Secretary of the Wilmington Baptist Association.

In 1970, Rev. Billy Rivers was called as pastor, partially due to the fond memories of the congregation from Rev. Rivers earlier brief call as associate pastor to First Baptist.  The church needed no new facilities, but a major renovation of the sanctuary began in 1977.  First Baptist Church of Hamlet celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1978, thanking God for His many blessings.  In 1982, Rev. Rivers moved to First Baptist Church of Hudson.

In 1983, First Baptist called Rev. Julian Clark.  That same year, First Baptist hosted a World Missions Conference, with testimonies from local, national, and foreign missionaries.  In 1988, First Baptist joined Southern Baptist churches across the nation in the World Mission Thrust, rededicating themselves to supporting the spread of the gospel around the world.  Two years later, the church raised money and sent members to construct a church building in Haiti.  Rev. Clark left to study for his doctorate after 8 years of ministry in Hamlet.  Rev. Randy Bishop, was called in 1992 & served faithfully for 24 years. In 2003, the church celebrated its 125th anniversary, presenting many saved and recovered artifacts from the church's history. In 2017, Dr. Allison Farrah became pastor of First Baptist & currently serves our congregation. In the past few years, we have undertaken mission projects in Honduras & Haiti, including several short-term trips.

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