Celebrating one hundred and eighty seven years of ministry in Westerly.
The roots of Westerly's Central Baptist Church (CBC) go back to the founding of the First Baptist Church in 1835 and the Calvary Baptist Church in 1872. First Baptist Church on Broad St. in downtown Westerly and the Calvary Baptist Church, nearby on Elm St., voted to merge at a meeting held on June 11, 1946. Both churches went into the merger in strength, not in weakness. Each was at a high point in its life. The members had enthusiasm and conviction that greater good could be accomplished as one church.
The first annual meeting of Central Baptist Church was held at the Pawcatuck Seventh Day Baptist Church on June 24, 1946 with one hundred thirty members present. Rev. Glenn Asquith, pastor of First Baptist from 1944-46, was retained as the interim pastor as the church began a search for a new pastor. Rev. Asquith offered prayer and read the 100th Psalm to open the meeting. Officers, Deacons and Trustees were elected. It was decided to meet for worship at Broad Street (First Baptist) on Sunday mornings and on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at Elm Street (Calvary Baptist).
In July a building committee was appointed. The generosity of the congregation was exposed as they raised over $72,000 to more than match the $50,000 goals at the meeting.
In September Dr. Alfred Murray was called to serve as the first pastor of the united congregation.
The charter of the new church was dated January 17, 1947 listing over 1,058 members on the rolls.
The new church building was then constructed at 16 Elm St. and dedicated on May 17, 1953. An addition, which included an educational wing with several classrooms, a chapel, parlor, library and offices for the pastor and secretary was completed and dedicated on November 30, 1958. In 2000 an extension was added to the back of the building that allowed for a beautiful entrance off the parking lot, an elevator and increased accessibility to all areas of the building.
Central Baptist has been served by eight pastors since its founding.
Rev Dr Alfred Murray 1946-1950
Rev Dr John Elliot 1950-1956
Rev Frederick Gardner 1956-1971
Rev Dr Lloyd Fredericks. 1972-1986
Rev Wesley Smith. 1988-1995
Rev Peter Wood. 1996 - 2007
Rev Ronald Short 2007-2009
Rev Dr Clayton (Cal) Lord 2011 - Present
We recently celebrated our 75th anniversary and hope abounds as we look forward to the future.