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First Baptist Church West Ensley First Baptist Church West Ensley

Church History Church History

Church History

First Baptist Church of West Ensley formerly "Easter Baptist Church" was organized in 1912.  The land at 2740 Ray Street was donated by Deacon Ramon Patterson and the first church building was erected by coal miners.  The name of the church was later changed to "First Baptist Church of West Ensley." Three Pastors served as leaders during this time; Reverend Richardson, Reverend Anderson, and Reverend J.B. Tony.  Reverend U.L. Thrash was later called as Pastor and several things were accomplished under his leadership.  Such improvements included the remodeling of the sanctuary and the addition to the back of the church in 1975.  He served as Pastor for several years until his health required him to retire.

In October 1993, Reverend Eddie Reese was called as the Pastor.  Several improvements were made to the church under his leadership.  These improvements included the renovation of the sanctuary and the addition of lights and pews.  The church was in the process of building a fellowship hall when a tornado destroyed it on April 8, 1998.  This tornado also claimed the life of one of First Baptist's faithful member, Mrs. Lannie Bonner.  For almost three years the church met in several locations; the old Security Building in Ensley, the Tree of Life Church, and the Oakridge A.M.E. Zion Church.  During this process the members of the church voted to move the church to its present location.  On February 11, 2001, God blessed First Baptist to move into this beautiful new edifice.

Reverend Reese retired in November 2003, and in July 2004, Reverend Dr. Mathew J. Hunter, Jr., accepted the call from God and the members of the church to serve as Pastor.  Under his leadership, Pastor Hunter instituted a Wednesday night Bible Study and Prayer meeting, a Junior Deacon Board, Men’s Fellowship, Women’s Fellowship, Vacation Bible School, an Annual Church Picnic, a Male Chorus, a Greetings Ministry, a program to hastily pay off the mortgage, (which was done in 2017), a CD Ministry, and created a website,  Also under Pastor Hunter’s leadership, First Baptist installed a security system with cameras, a copier, printer, and personal computers.  The church has also purchased new sanctuary furniture, choir robes, usher uniforms, a church organ, drum set, and completed Phase One of its Parking Lot Pavement Construction Project.  Pastor Hunter’s vision of hosting an Annual Instructor’s Workshop for current and prospective teachers of First Baptist was brought to fruition in 2015, and is now an ongoing annual event.  In 2016, audio and video equipment was purchased and installed for service activity viewing in both the fellowship hall and vestibule areas of the church.  The church cleared the area in the front of the building and an electronic billboard was purchased in 2018.  The church has now begun a building project, which will enlarge the fellowship hall, add classrooms and other administration offices, and renovate the pastor’s study. With God’s blessings, Pastor Hunter’s vision, and the fervent prayers of the Saints, The First Baptist Church of West Ensley Family is destined to continue standing on the unchanging word of God and moving forward, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  “Growing In Grace and In Christ Jesus!”