History

In 1863, 147 years ago, sixteen earnest Christians became known as First Baptist of West Saginaw, separated from East Saginaw Baptist, though sharing the same pastor. The church incorporated on November 19, 1863, the day of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Members met in homes, a Methodist Church and the Court House jury room, finally erecting a church in 1864. Moving again in 1877 and building across the street brought them to the present site in 1909. At one time there were gas light fixtures on the narthex and sanctuary walls. Paintings in the lower social hall were done by a church member, Mrs. Beatrice Leaman, over fifty years ago.

The semi-circular sloping auditorium-style seating is a feature typical of Akron plan churches and allows a sense of intimacy and proximity to the speaker wherever one may be sitting in the sanctuary. The domed ceiling houses a stained glass window. The main floor also houses a spacious music room, youth room, Sunday school office, library, nursery and restrooms.

The second floor includes a balcony, as well as classrooms, a restroom, and a Mother’s Gallery (an area designed for parents to take babies and still hear and observe the full church service). The basement level includes two fellowship halls, restrooms, kitchen, a stage and the Burrows Memorial room for the ladies of the church. This room is provided by a generous endowment to be used for maintenance and care of this room. There are also two classrooms and a historian room.

There have been 26 pastors serving an average of six years with one pastor serving 23 years.

In 1957, there was an extensive remodeling program begun and completed by 1963, the congregation’s centennial year. Additional custom woodwork was done by 1965.

The church was endowed with funds given by Latham Burrows, a former organist and choir director, with funds that presently support the music program. This includes a part-time choir director, organist and volunteer vocal and handbell choir. In 1968, a new Tellers pipe organ was dedicated and is custom designed to accommodate music to be performed from all periods. A complete exterior renovation of facings to cover the brick and lexan to cover the stained glass windows was done in the 1990’s. The lexan was removed in 2009.

Calvary Baptist Church and First Russian Ukraine Evangelical Baptist churches merged with MABC in 1979 and 1983.