NYC – UWS: First Baptist Church in the City of New York
Image by wallyg
The First Baptist Church (FBC) in the City of New York, at West 79th Street and Broadway, was built in 1891 by George Keister. The tall tower represents Christ as the head of the church and the light of the world. The lower tower, which appears incomplete, represents the church that will remain incomplete until the return of Christ. Two shorter towers represent the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Congregation traces its origins to 1745, when 13 individuals gathered to worship in the home of Jeremiah Dodge. In 1753 they moved to a rigging loft on William Street. Six years later the members bought a lot on Gold Street and built the first church building. The first service was conducted on March 14, 1760.
In 1762 the church was formally constituted and John Gano was called to be its first pastor. The church grew from 27 to over 200 members in only three years. Gano’s ministry was interrupted by the Revolutionary War, during which he served as Chaplain to General George Washington and had the honor of baptizing him. Returning from the war, Gano regathered his scattered flock and restored the building. Later, he helped found Brown University.
Under the ministry of William Collier in 1801, the old church building was torn down and a new structure built. In 1841 the church relocated uptown to Broom and Elizabeth Streets, and then to a beautiful Gothic structure at 39th Street and Park Avenue. Two Pastors, William Parkinson and Spencer Cone, served as Chaplains of the U.S. Congress. Cone also was a founder of the American Bible Society. Pastor Thomas Anderson later became president of Rutgers University. The church outgrew the Park Avenue building and relocated in 1891 to the present building.