History of the First Baptist Church, Stanberry, MO

The First Baptist Church of Stanberry MO was organized in the fall of 1857. Originally called the Island Branch Baptist Church, it was a log building, located one mile south of Stanberry. Prior to that they were meeting in a schoolhouse near where they built the log building. At this time there were 11 charter members.

Later, after the town of Stanberry was established, they moved to the new town. The first church sessions were held in an upper room over Shelly's Saloon, at the location occupied by Myer's Chevrolet Company (this was from an article written in 1953). This was the first church in the new town of Stanberry. The first Pastor was Reverend Jeter.

In 1881 land was purchased on the corner of Third and Park Streets (our current location). A wood structure church building was built on this site. At this time the name was changed to the First Baptist Church. In 1900 the membership purchased additional land on Third Street, as well as a home to be used as a parsonage. This now gave the church 150 square feet of property, a home for their pastor, and a house of worship.

The church outgrew their building, and a plan was made for a new church building. After a series of business meetings in 1903, the church voted to erect a new church building for $10,000. On July 19, the church began holding services at the normal school chapel because the old church building was being torn down and removed. On October 5, 1903, Brother Holt presented a matter as the advisability of changing the church services from the normal chapel to the Advent Church.

The "Laying of the Corner Stone" was on December 6, 1903 at 3:00pm. The new brick structure was built with beautiful stained glass windows that were donated by church members and church organizations. At the "Laying of the Corner Stone" service, Brother I.F. Creek of Maryville, MO preached. The dedication date was set for September 4, 1904. Brother E.S. Graham of Hannibal, MO preached the dedicatory sermon. The total cost of the new building was $16,500. The pastor's salary at the time (Reverand A.R. Willett) was $1,000.00 per year.

In 1980 the church voted to establish a constitution, and the church became incorporated. We are also a non-profit organization. In 1988 new constitution and by-laws were adopted.

We have supported three mission churches through the years. They have been at Agency, Clarinda Iowa, and in the Republic of Belarus.

At the time of this writing we have had 41 pastors. 9 have been licensed or ordained to the ministry. Note the salary of J.E. Petty $900.00 per year in 1888. Over the years, the church has grown to be a strong and powerful church. An article in a Directory Year Book of 1910 stated that our church had 402 members and was one of the strongest churches in Northwest Missouri. A 1953 newspaper article recognized the church as being one of the very active religious institutions of the community.

The church building has changed over the years, but the "church", the people, are still loving and caring. Many people have come through the doors over the 100 year period. Colors inside of the church have changed over the years as well. People have come through varnished doors, blue doors, and light buff doors. We have had hardwood floors, blue carpet runners, burnt orange carpet, and now caberet. The walls and ceilings have changed from a white dome ceiling with a large chandelier in the center of the Sancuary, to a drop ceiling with paneled walls and flourescent lighting. In 1990 we went back to a dome ceiling with white walls. The colors have changed, but was are still a dynamic church. No matter the colors, we are in the "Lord's House."