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Lawrenceville First Baptist Church has a rich history. Constituted on May 2, 1849, the Church has a longstanding commitment to minister to the people of Lawrenceville. The Church completed construction of a sanctuary on Clayton Street in downtown Lawrenceville in 1906. In the late 1950s the church realized that the original sanctuary was no longer suitable for the growing church membership, so members developed plans for a new sanctuary, also on Clayton Street. The new sanctuary, built under the leadership of Reverend W. C. Corley, was dedicated on Sunday, September 16, 1962. The original sanctuary is now the chapel.
Reverend Corley served the church and her members for twenty-five years, beginning in October 1959. He led the church toward community involvement and was himself a fixture in the community. Reverend Corley retired in 1984, and the church called Dr. Page Fulgham to serve as the next Pastor. Dr. Fulgham led the church to construct a new office building and a building to service all preschool activities, including a Weekday Preschool. Following Dr. Fulgham’s resignation in 1994, the church voted to call Dr. Lamar Holley as Pastor in February 1996. Dr. Holley served the church for ten years and led the church to construct a Family Life Center and to renovate the existing sanctuary. Dr. Holley retired in April 2006.
By 1996 the sanctuary was in desperate need of renovation and repair. During this time period, the future of downtown Lawrenceville was uncertain. More than once the church considered relocation. Ultimately church members elected to remain in the present location and to move forward with updating and expanding the campus. While determining cause and effect is never simple, the church’s decision to stay in the downtown community and to invest heavily in the church’s facilities played some part in the revitalization of downtown Lawrenceville. The total cost for the sanctuary renovation was $2.6 million. Today the church’s steeple is visible for many miles as one approaches downtown Lawrenceville.
In January 2007, under the leadership of Interim Pastor, Ronny Spillers, church members voted to move forward with a much needed campus expansion and renovation project. Church members pledged $1.3 million toward this effort. During Dr. Spiller’s interim both attendance and giving began to increase.
In January 2008, the church voted to call Inman J. Houston as Senior Pastor. Having spent the past seven years in New Orleans, Inman is committed to lead the church to have a strong presence in the Lawrenceville community. The proposed expansion and renovation project is the first phase in a long-term strategy to impact a growing and diverse community. Church members recognize that the future of the church lies with the young families that surround the campus. In order to meet the needs of these families, the church is committed to update and expand facilities for children and students.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Brittany Robertson