By BRIAN SMITH
After 157 years of service to the community, First Baptist Church of Weatherford unveiled its Texas Historical Marker during a Saturday afternoon ceremony.
About 150 people came out for the event, which closed off Alamo Street for a short time. Pastor Dr. David George said it’s unthinkable how many unforgettable events have gone on at the church over the years.
“How much chicken and potato salad do you think has been eaten?” George joked. “How many covered dish suppers and other events? It all goes to show that the little church at the corner of Alamo and Palo Pinto [streets] is alive and well.”
Chairman of Deacons Tom Wilkins read a history of the church which began in July 1856 as the United Missionary Baptist Church of Christ of Weatherford. It was the first church in the county to have a full-time pastor and hold regular Sunday services.
Construction on the first building began in 1870. Many additions have taken place over the years, including a Family Life Building, an education building and the brick structure constructed in 1960 where the church now stands.
Forty-four pastors have been behind the pulpit since the church’s inception and a number of churches spawned from the original church, including North Side Baptist, Primera Baptista Iglesia, First Baptist Church of Willow Park, Lake Shore Drive Baptist Church in Hudson Oaks and many others.
The work on getting a marker began two years ago when a committee of church members approached Harold Lawrence, with the Parker County Historical Commission,w about getting a marker. Committee Chair Jo Sneed told Lawrence that long-time church member Jack Borden had sent them. Sneed remembered an early morning conversation with Borden, who was a church member for 77 years before his passing in 2011, where she was asked to get a marker for the church.
“I told Jack I had no idea on how to go about it and he told me to organize a committee to help me,” Sneed said. “He passed away one week before we realized we were going to get the marker.”
Sneed thanked Borden, his wife Edith, and all the church members “smiling down on us” for their work in getting the church to this point. Bordens’ nephew and family spokesman John Westoff said Jack Borden was “the fire who started the quest for the marker.” There is plenty more history to the church to come.
“The final history of the church has yet to be written,” Westoff said.
Westoff and Sneed unveiled the marker, which sits on the west side of the church near the marquee sign across from city hall.