First Baptist Church

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  • The First Baptist Church for years stood at 56 Federal St. The oldest portion was built in 1805, after a small building on the same site proved too small for the growing congregation. In 1827, the building was enlarged and fitted out with a lovely three-stage Federal tower topped by an octagonal dome. Around 1850, a chapel was added.
  • The tower was removed in 1926, due to cost of repairs.
  • Rev. Lucius Bolles was the first pastor and the most noted because of his connection to Adoniram Judson, the early foreign missionary. Judson contacted Bolles when he had turned to Baptist beliefs (though he began his missionary journey in 1812 as a congregationalist) looking for support.
  • The first missionary voyage was in 1812. Rev. Judson traveled with his wife Ann (Nancy), and the Reverends Newell, Nott, Hall and Rice to do the work of the "Gospel Ministry." They went to Burma, Bombay, India and Ceylon.
  • A beautiful round stained glass window was installed in 1962, depicting the ship Judson sailed on, the "Caravan".
  • A Baptist mission Church was also built in South Salem (corner of Canal and Lyme Streets)and named Eglise Evangelique Francaise. Rev. Oliva Brouilette was their pastor from approximately 1916 until 1954. In 1962, the Judson window in the sanctuary was installed in his memory.
  • The original part of the church dated back to 1806. This portion was moved a short distance to the corner of North and Federal Streets, and converted to a law library, part of the J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center.
  • The state paid the church two million dollars in 2008 for the church building after prolonged negotiations. With this, they were able to secure a new church location at 292-296 Lafayette St. (This building was used by the Methodist Church until it merged with the Wesley Methodist Church on North Street.)
  • The former First Baptist Church building, moved to the corner of North and Federal Streets, will house the new law library in the new courthouse project, called the J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center (named after the late state representative). The church was moved Dec. 31, 2008.

See Also