First Baptist Church Hallsville’s 150th celebration began Saturday, March 5 at the FBC Activity Center, with a community-wide “Ladies’ Brunch and Historic-Style Show.”
Ladies, teenagers and children participated, modeling clothing styles from the 1870s to the present day. Jolene Morrison led this event and chronicled the styles over the years. Ann Newell shared the church story and Colton Clark was the piano player. Food was provided and served by ladies from the church. Memorabilia from the church were displayed on tables and a beautiful display of picture boards covered the walls, depicting church members of all ages over the years as they led and participated in the many programs and activities of the FBC to honor God and advance his kingdom.
Church members provided many photos, scrapbooks, and other items for these exhibits. Charlie and Bonnie Jones and Diane Slater curated and created exhibits. A slideshow of memories created by Jacob Ramos was shown. Jolene Morrison, Shelia Vinson and Kim Jones decorated the tables with cheerful arrangements of sunflowers. Other church members assisted in the celebration in many ways. Vince Blankenship, associate pastor and worship leader, greatly assisted the 150th Committee in planning and organizing this celebration.
The 150th committee included chair Ann Newell, Vince Blankenship, Jesse Casey, Carol Greer, Charlie Jones, Stanley Jones, Jolene Morrison, Thomas Richardson, Sandra Walker, Wayne Walker and Nancy Webb.
Sunday, March 6 was a glorious day at First Baptist Hallsville, with a crowd full of former staff, moving members, current members and other guests attending the celebratory worship service. Former staff members participating were Stan Roye, former organist; David Mohn, former Minister of Music; former and current members of the Reunion Choir; Monty Pierce, former pastor; Tim Watson, former Acting Pastor/BGCT. Church members attending were Ann Newell, chair of the celebration; Jesse Casey, deacon and mayor of Hallsville; Tommy Slater, Deacon President.
Pastor Mark Moore read Psalm 145:4, “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty deeds. He stressed that this celebration was not meant to celebrate the church or the people, but to celebrate and proclaim what Christ has done through our church. As the people of God, we are called to praise and declare the goodness of God’s mighty works to the next generation that follows us.
Church members left the service with joyful and grateful hearts for what God has done and the charge to continue our work for Him. After the service, everyone moved to the activities building, where a delicious dinner was served by Cajun Tex and favorite desserts were provided by ladies from the church. There was a short program with former staff members speaking, and the blessing was given by Thomas Richardson, one of the oldest members of the church. There was plenty of time to get together and fellowship.
As the church reviewed the history of FBC, they found Baptists from that area meeting with other denominations under a brush arbor in Ash Springs. In the early 1870s the Baptists moved to town and built a church near the Bray Hotel, as the Brays were “great” Baptists and were relatives of the first pastor, Wilfred Farrell, who was the rear- great-grandfather of church members Thomas Richardson, Carol Greer and Ann Newell. This church was located on a property just south of FBC’s current location. In 1972 the deed was registered as Hallsville Baptist Church.
Soon after, the church crossed the train tracks and was built in a one-room building with a flat-bellied stove. It was near Cullen Pond, which was used for baptisms. Oscar Farrell, son of Wilfred, was a pastor. This church burned down in 1895 and was rebuilt in the same location and used until 1912. Land was purchased and a white-framed Gothic-style building was erected at the corner of what is now FM 450 and Pine Street. Reverend Drury was a part-time pastor. In 1933, the first regular meeting of deacons was held, and the subject was the repeal of the 18th Amendment.
WD Peterson became pastor in 1947. Later three classrooms were added to the church and in the late 1940s the first baptistery was built. The Jones House just north of the church was purchased in 1958 and used for children’s and youth classes. After 40 years, the Gothic style church building was demolished and a new brick church was built on the same site. Brother George English became a pastor in 1967. In 1970 FBC celebrated its 100th anniversary and the church became debt free. In 1977 the name was changed to First Baptist Church of Hallsville. Reverend John Taylor became pastor in May 1979 and remained there until his retirement in 1997. The Activity and Education Building was completed in 1977 by church members and led by Butch Schattel. It was located on Church Street. By the early 1980s attendance was full and a new shrine was completed in September 1984 on the same site as the previous building. In 1988, the current Fillin’ Station was purchased for adult and youth departments. In 1992 the church purchased the property across the street where the Methodist Church had burned down in 1990 and the Cullen Building. The Cullen Building became the Hallsville Outreach Center.
David Massey became a pastor in 1997 and served until his death in 2013. The old activity building burned down in 2005 and the church moved into the beautiful new Children’s Ministry Center in September 2008. Monty Pierce became pastor in March 2014. Pastor Mark Moore became pastor in September 2019.
In 2018 a beautiful prayer garden was added to the north of the church building and was designed and planted by church members Colton Clark and Early McWhorter. In 2021, an indoor play area was added to the Children’s Ministry Center and a new church sign was donated by former member Kay and Charles Metz, in memory of his grandparents, CF and Margaret Haywood, and of his mother, Ethelyn Hickey Moore, all of whom have been active in many areas of the church and its growth over the years.
The church has a wonderful staff who are passionate about reaching the lost and making disciples. God has blessed the First Baptist Church in so many ways, but its work has only just begun. God can use this church as a beacon to the people of the greater Hallsville community and beyond.