The First Baptist Church of Ceredo is one of the largest churches in Wayne County. The congregation was officially established in 1887 and was the third permanent church in Ceredo. For nearly twenty years the church operated in rented spaces around town before building its own sanctuary near Ceredo Elementary School in 1906. The present church building was constructed on the same spot in 1987. First Baptist Ceredo remains active in the community and pursues a number of outreach and charitable programs for children, seniors, drug addicts, and missionaries.
First Baptist Church of Ceredo was officially organized on January 28, 1887
with the merging of three separate Baptist missions in the Brownstown, Segur
Hill, and Millender Block neighborhoods. It was the third church established in
Ceredo, following the Methodist Church in 1866 and the Congregational Church in
1874. There were 41 original members, 18 men and 23 women. Sources differ as to
who was the first pastor; some say Burwell S. Akers, while others say R. R.
Sadler. The church struggled in its initial years; while growth was steady, the
turnover rate for pastors was high. It also lacked its own sanctuary. Services
were first held in the Methodist church; then the parsonages of the
Congregational church; then a series of buildings were rented for a number of
1905 Elliott Thornton Billups was chosen to be the next pastor, and he soon
pushed for the church to acquire its own sanctuary. The following year a lot on
Main Street next to the elementary school was purchased from the Hoard family
for $300. A modest wooden church building was constructed there at a cost of
around $3,200. Rev. Billups himself was said to have done much of the
construction work. The building was remodeled and expanded twice in 1923 and
1942. Further expansion in the 1950s-1970s included the creation of offices, an
educational building, and the acquisition of adjacent property. In 1967 First
Baptist Ceredo became a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Baptist Ceredo experienced tremendous growth during the latter half of the
twentieth century. During a five-year span in the early 1980s membership
increased by 400; 100 people alone were baptized in 1983. As the 100th
anniversary of the church’s founding approached, it was decided to demolish the
original building and erect a modern one. Designed by E. T. Boggess, the new
worship center complex was completed in 1987 and cost around one million
dollars. The new sanctuary contained seating for 700 people, a choir loft for
48, and modern sound and lighting equipment. The complex also included a large
fellowship hall with a kitchen, an office suite, and the church’s first paved
parking lot. The new building was dedicated on June 21, 1987, capping a month-long
celebration of First Baptist Ceredo’s 100th Anniversary.