Through the untiring efforts of Rev. J. R. Hughes, the pastor of the Baptist Church of this place, sufficient funds for the erection of a magnificent church has been raised and the contract for the building of same will be let at an early date. The new church will be built opposite the McDonald chain of brick buildings.
From The Greenwood New Era, July 20, 1894
Next Sunday morning at 11 o'clock, our Baptist brethren will dedicate their new church on Howard Street. Rev. Mr. Sproles, of Jackson, will be here to conduct the services. A protracted meeting will begin at that handsome new church on the same day and last a week or more. Mr. Sproles will assist the pastor, Rev. J. R. Hughes, in conducting the meetings.
From The Greenwood Enterprise, April 12, 1895
We understand that the historic Baptist Church building located on Howard Street just south of the post office, which subsequent to its usefulness as a church edifice, was used for several years as a rooming house, will now be taken down and moved to another location, thus removing a dilapidated old building from one of the main thoroughfares of our city and making way for the modern brick buildings that are sure to follow in the near future.
From The Greenwood News, October 14, 1915
The members of the Baptist Church are deservedly jubilant over the splendid success with which their new church building movement met at the last Sunday morning service.
The time for the launching of this movement was unquestionably opportune-the magnificent sum of $30,310.00 being subscribed to the fund for building the new church within a very few minutes, regardless of the stringency in money matters. The remainder of the necessary amount of $35,000.00 will be easily secured.
It has not been definitely decided as to where the location of the new church will be, but several desirable sites are being considered by the congregation's committee.
The Commonwealth most heartily congratulates Pastor. S. E. Tull and the members of the Baptist Church upon the fact they now have everything in shape to begin the building of one of the handsomest places of worship in the city.
Work will begin on the new church early next spring, and when completed, Greenwood can boast of having four of the finest and prettiest church buildings in Mississippi.
From the Commonwealth, December 6, 1907
The congregation of the Baptist Church selected a location last Sunday for their handsome new $35,000 house of worship.
This magnificent new structure will be erected on the vacant lots on the northeast corner of West Washington and Henderson Streets, and a more desirable location could hardly have been selected.
The work of adopting plans for the new church building will be proceeded with at once, and the contract for its erection will be awarded in time to begin construction of same early next spring.
From the Commonwealth, January 10, 1908
The pretty Baptist Church is nearing completion and is the pride of the state. So, soon as the library is erected on the lot donated by Dr. and Mrs. T. R. Henderson, this will be quite an improvement to Washington Avenue, already the prettiest residence street in Greenwood.
From the Commonwealth, May 6, 1910
Dr. E. J. Caswell has accepted a call to the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Greenwood, and will take up his duties in Greenwood on April 1.
A call was extended to Dr. Caswell recently and his acceptance was announced at the Baptist Church yesterday. Dr. Caswell is one of the ablest and most eloquent preachers in Mississippi, and the members of the Baptist Church are congratulating themselves on his acceptance of the pastorate of the Greenwood church. Dr. Caswell is at present pastor of the church at West Point.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, February 23, 1925
The frame residence located on the site where the Sunday School annex to the First Baptist Church will be erected is being moved, and materials placed on the ground for the construction work on the handsome new annex.
From The Greenwood Daily Commonwealth, October 18, 1926
The handsome annex to the First Baptist Church, which has been under process of construction for some months, will be occupied for the first time tomorrow morning for the meeting of the various Sunday School classes. A record breaking Sunday School attendance is expected for the opening of the new building, which will give to the First Baptist Church, a church plant second to none in the state.
The completion of the new annex marks the culmination of a long cherished dream of the First Baptist Church for a home for its Sunday School classes and for the various phases of work within the church.
The new building stands on the west side of the church edifice. It is two stories in height, fitted and designed especially for the work of the Sunday School and allied organizations of the church.
From The Greenwood Commonwealth, March 12, 1927
At the morning service of yesterday at the First Baptist Church, the $35,000.00 annex upon which work was completed April 1st, was dedicated with an appropriate sermon by the pastor, Dr. Edward J. Caswell.
Quite naturally, the founder and pastor of the first Baptist Church ever built in Greenwood, was present. Rev. J. R. Hughes, along with two other remaining members of that church, Mrs. T. R. Henderson and Mrs. Zilpha Garrard, added color to the occasion.
W. C. Williams, superintendent of the Sunday School, read the scripture yesterday. The dedicatory prayer was delivered by Rev. Hughes. The pastor had chosen for his text, " What mean ye by these stories? " and the huge throng present were moved by his explanation. W. M. Whittington, who for many years was superintendent of the Sunday School, pronounced the benediction. The handsome new annex, made necessary by the increasing membership of the Sunday School and Church, both inside and out is a handsome piece of workmanship and fits well with the main building, which was constructed back in 1908.
It was 33 years ago the first Baptist Church was built in Greenwood by Rev. J. R. Hughes. It was a small frame building put up on the lot next to where the Post Office now stands on Howard Street. Before the building was completed, services were held in the court house. Later, while Rev. S. E. Tull was pastor, plans for the main building were drawn up. The only members now surviving are the first pastor, Mrs. Henderson and Mrs. Garrard.
The early history of the city of Greenwood indicates that a plot of land was set side to the Methodists, Presbyterians, and the Masonic Lodge. For over forty years, the Union Church and Masonic Lodge were used by Christians, including Baptists, for occasional services. Non-resident ministers began to come to Greenwood by horseback, quarterly and monthly. After the other denominations erected their church buildings, the Baptist generally held their services in the courthouse, until they erected their first building in 1895. Between 1880 and March 17th, 1888, there were no Baptist services. The first Baptist minister known to have served in Greenwood was the Reverend Anthony Pratt, who served from July to October 1871.
The Missionary Baptist Church of Greenwood was organized on July 8,1888, at the courthouse. Reverend V.H. Nelson was the pastor from March 1888 until December 1889. The court was organized with the strong influence of Judge R.W. Williams. The charter members were Judge Williams, his wife, and five or six others. The next pastor did not come until August of 1892, when Reverend E.E. Thompson came and stayed about seven months.
The first resident pastor was Reverend J.R. Hughes of Lauderdale County, who was an honor graduate of Mississippi College on May 14, 1893. With more than twenty members, the church was reorganized and participated in the Yazoo Association.
The church began to plan the construction of the first Baptist building. With enthusiasm and liberal contributions, the dedication service for the $2500 building was held on April 14,1895. It was one of the "most handsome" buildings in the Delta. Dr. H.F. Sproles, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Jackson, presented the dedicatory sermon to the largest congregation ever assembled in a Greenwood church.
The church was unable to pay the salary of the pastor, therefor the State Mission Board contributed to the payment of the salary of the Reverend Mr. Hughes and others until the church became self-sustaining under the pastorate of Dr. W.M. Born, in 1904. In the following years, pastors included W.E. Ellis, Dr. P.I. Lipsey, and Dr. J.B. Lawrence. The first home for a pastor was built in 1900 on Claiborne Street.
Because the church was growing, a new church building was constructed on the corner of Henderson and Washington. It was dedicated on June 5, 1910, and was an imposing church building. The pastor during the construction was Dr. C.V. Edwards, who came from First Baptist Church in New Orleans in 1909. The dedication sermon was delivered by B.D. Gray, the leader of the Home Mission Board, SBC. In 1913, enrollment of the church was 341.
The church has been blessed with outstanding pastors including W.C. Tyree, Dr. J.W. Storer, who later became pastor of First Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dr. Edward J. Caswell, who ministered here from April 1925 until November 1, 1946. Dr. J.H. Kyzar, who led the church membership to exceed 1900 with a Sunday School enrollment of 1552.
Dr. Kyzar led in the organizing of the North Greenwood Baptist Church with a nucleus of 375 members from the First Baptist Church. A new educational building was completed at First Baptist in 1963 at the cost of approximately $316,000.
Dr. Perry Perkins became the pastor in 1965. The membership continued to grow to 1863, with 600 families. The Chinese mission was organized in 1971. The present sanctuary was begun under Dr. Perkin's leadership, but was completed after he left to work for the Mississippi Convention Board. The 930 seat sanctuary was dedicated on July 11, 1976, and cost about $963,000.