THE HISTORY OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH – PART ONE
In the beginning of this great church, we found that both White and Black citizens of Frankfort, Kentucky worshiped together. However, in 1833, some leaders of the White Baptists thought it was wise to separate and led by John Ward and Ziah Black, the Black congregation started First Baptist Church at 100 Clinton Street and the White congregation worshiped at First Baptist Church at the singing bridge. This separation was not necessarily an amicable one as lawsuits occurred to prevent the erection of our church. However, by the grace of God all obstacles were removed.
First Baptist Church was erected in 1908, despite an extraordinary series of legal maneuvers designed to obstruct the building of the church. The city fathers objected to the church being built across from the old Governor’s Mansion. Considered to be a nuisance, a permit to construct it was denied. Ultimately, a permit was obtained in 1903 through five and a half years of court actions.
The presiding Judge wrote, “We have reached the conclusion that permission to erect the church building was denied the appellants for no other reason than that the worship therein, and thereafter to be conducted, was and is objectionable to the immediate neighbors, and the further fact is not to be disguised that the objection to the erection of the building is largely based upon race prejudice. However natural this prejudice may be, when it superinduces unjust discrimination in the adjustment of mere legal rights, it becomes obnoxious to the law.”
Many of the people who organized the church, worshipped in it, and helped shape its mission were born, molded by and lived most of their lives in slavery. They were living examples that through faith and belief in God, ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. It is their legacy we thrive to protect and continue!
The beautiful stained-glass windows adorn the names of some of our earliest founders. An established list of them include Rev. Dr. William Thomas Silvey, Rev. Robert Martin, Mary Hancock, Martin E. Boyd and Family, Martha E. Williams, James Williams, Rev. George Washington Patterson (Donated by Eliza Thompson, Emma Glass, Addie Thomas, and Eliza Thomas), Rev. Merritt and Phoebe Madison, Spencer and Mary T. Johnson Mosby, Amanda Mosby Coleman, Mrs. Frances Hocker, Rev. Eugene Evans, Thomas L. Brooks and Family, Mary “Lizzie” Brooks, Rev. J. W. Hawkins and a wall plaque in honor of Rev. Robert Mitchell who initiated the purchase of the current site.
Throughout First Baptist Church’s storied history there has been several well-trained and capable pulpiteers to render services to God’s people. The very first pastor was Rev. Henderson Williams (1838-1843); followed in succession by Rev. James Monroe (1845-1864); Rev. Robert Martin (18641884), Rev. George Patterson (1884-1887), Rev. Eugene Evans (1887-1894), Rev. J. W. Hawkins (1894-1898), Rev. Robert Mitchell (1894-1903), Rev. C. C. Wakefield (1903-1904), Rev. W. R. Payne (1904-1905), Rev. W. T. Silvey (1905-1919), Dr. W. H. Ballew (1919-1932) – the parsonage located at 104 Clinton Street was purchased under his leadership; Dr. J. Welby Broaddus (19321938), Rev. E. S. Utterback (1938-1945), Dr. Reggie H. Johnson (1948-1949), and Rev. W. R. Hutchinson, Jr. (1949-1960).
Each of these great men of God added souls to the congregation of First Baptist Church and provided a sustainable environment for continued growth.
THE HISTORY OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH – PART TWO
In 1960, Dr. K. L. Moore, Jr. of Chicago, Illinois became the 16th pastor of First Baptist Church. The longest tenured pastor in the church’s history, Rev. Moore served faithfully for 46 years. Under Dr. Moore’s leadership several auxiliaries were initiated, to include the Men’s Chorus, Gospel Choir, Pastor’s Aid Club, and the Youth Choir. Additionally, several aesthetic accommodations were made which included internal decorations of our church, roofing repairs, refurbishing of the church annex, installing a gas furnace, HVAC installation, and the purchase of pianos.
In 1973, First Baptist Church received “Historical Site” designation by the Kentucky Heritage Commission. The church became active in community affairs and hosted some of the largest community events. The congregation was active in the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Consolidated District Baptist Association, Kentucky State Fellowship PNBC, and united with the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. where he served as Recording Secretary. Dr. Moore departed this earthly life in 2006.
Upon losing such a dynamic pastor like Dr. Moore, the congregation spent a considerable amount of time in prayer and meditation seeking God’s guidance. On February 12, 2009, God sent Rev. Robert Earl Houston to be the 17th pastor of First Baptist Church. Pastor Houston served from 2009 until December, 2017.
Under his guidance several souls were saved; the Men of Praise Choir was established, The Miracles Dance Ministry was created, and he established a community partnership between, St. John AME Church, First Corinthians Baptist Church and Memorial Baptist Church to engage the community in Vacation Bible School. He also ordained three ministers, Rev. Michael Carter, Rev. Anna Jones, and Rev. Timothy Taylor before departing to pastor the Mercy Seat Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri.
Once again, the faithful saints of First Baptist sought God for guidance. After having some dynamic Men and Women of God to minister to them, the Lord once again answered their prayers and on March 1, 2021, Rev. Dr. Rosby Glover from Lake Worth, Florida answered the call. He and his lovely wife relocated to Kentucky and on July 24, 2021, he was installed as the 18th pastor of First Baptist Church.
Dr. Glover arrived with a great deal of experience having given leadership over the Men’s Ministry, the Human Services Corporation, the Community Development Corporation, and a plethora of auxiliary ministries as Pastor of Ministries at Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Additionally, he was a member of several Faith-Based Organizations that introduced youth and their family members to Christ which included the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, the Governor’s Faith and Community Based Coalition, The 17th Judicial Circuit Faith Committee, and several other local organizations.
Dr. Glover and First Lady Glover spearheaded a “Unity in the Community” event on the grounds of First Baptist that involved several churches and organizations throughout Frankfort and surrounding areas. They increased the social media aspect of the church by establishing a new website, an Instagram, YouTube and Facebook account; and enhancing the streaming services by installing new cameras, lighting and TV Monitors for better visibility for our congregants.
Additionally, updates to the sanctuary and pulpit have been completed under his leadership. Dr. Glover was a true visionary who saw the church as the key to the community and the sustainability of our success as agents of liberation for Jesus Christ. Under his leadership, he converted the Church Parsonage into what is now the Administrative Offices, Conference Center, and Kingdom Kidz classrooms for better accessibility for the members.
Pastor Glover departed this earthly life on June 13, 2023 after serving as Senior Pastor for just over 2 years. His legacy and community contributions will live on through the annual “Dr. Rosby L. Glover Unity in the Community” event held each year in June.
Pastor Glover leaves to cherish his memories, his beloved wife of 40 years, First Lady Kimberly Glover; four loving children, Adam, Christopher, Ryan and Rosalynn; grandchildren, Jayden, Skylar, Payton, Aria, Adam, Jr., Jeremiah, Riley, and Zoey; and, his First Baptist Church family.
As of the 190th Church Anniversary, First Baptist is seeking to hire an interim pastor until the extensive search for a permanent pastor is held. Continued prayers for our First Baptist Church family!