From November 28, 1887 ...
History! Beginnings! Why? Where? How? Who? A church is a living organism, not a community/local organization. Her history originates with God! “In the beginning God!” The church’s history more accurately had her roots in Jesus ,as His Bride. From those early beginnings of Christians in the first century Church, we have been part of an indigenous, ongoing Body of Christ. Our heritage is on solid ground...the Rock of Jesus.
More specifically, First Baptist Church owes her origin to a time when changes were being made in our county. In the late 1860s, a powerful impact was made on Rockcastle County when the Railroad came through the rural community and the people began to acknowledge the change that would make us different: from a rural setting toward a more cosmopolitan community. The Railroad created a new landscape: from a many-disjointed community concept to a localized mentality of towns that were distinct, with distinct personalities.
It was into that developing central thinking that a group of church members who had their foundation in the rural community that lay along Skeggs Creek in Southern Rockcastle County, Hopewell, developed the idea of a mission in “distant” Mt. Vernon. John Caldwell Carmical, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, envisioned a needed church in that growing town where the Railroad had brought a new emphasis. Our earliest history of First Baptist Church begins there in Hopewell.
On the east side of the present property of First Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, on property that once was the Presbyterian Church of Mt. Vernon, is a small cemetery almost forgotten. The pastor/founder’s remains are still there, just a few feet from the present First Baptist Church. Engraved on his stone is the beginning of our story.
Little is known in modern times about our origin, as a mission of Hopewell Baptist Church. History will record a remarkable development. On a note recorded in the official minutes of our church, indicated as a report made in a business meeting on November 13, 1947, that the totals of membership in a mission at Hopewell was 47. The mother church, Hopewell Baptist Church, had become the child of First Baptist Church. The population shift had resulted in the little community there on Skeggs Creek diminishing while the community located by the now prosperous L. & N. Railroad had flourished. Stranger than fiction: the indigenous church had prevailed.
Missions! First Baptist Church began as a mission. She has been faithful to her inheritance. She has spawned more missions that became churches. She is still part of the Rockcastle Baptist Association of Churches, a localized mission-oriented organization; the Kentucky Baptist Convention, a state-wide mission-oriented organization; and the Southern Baptist Convention, a world-wide mission-centered program.
From those meager beginnings we have grown and become a powerful, world-reaching organism...with our monies, our prayers and missionary personnel.
We have existed through World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recently through the World Trade Center’s attack on September 11, 2001 and subsequent battles in the Middle East. Our young men and women have fought our wars, we have stayed the course, and we have remained faithful to our origin. Our deep patriotism has its roots in a deep commitment to our nation which we continue to believe is “...one nation under God.”
Pastors have been called. Young men and women have surrendered to the “call” for us to be indigenous in the new millennium.
To single out our pastors/leaders/Bible teachers/deacons and no less important our musicians, who gave us our rich heritage, would be too voluminous for our Web Page audience. Our history is available in its entirety...in our church’s library. More importantly, our heritage is available for you to experience, to share with us who make up this “Church organism”. Each succeeding pastor, each succeeding teacher of the Word of God, each succeeding deacon, each succeeding instigator of missions, each succeeding member of this “church family” is unique and qualified only because of his/her personal relationship with our Founder, our Savior, our Jesus, the Son of God...Who was and is our Founder.
As can be said of every church that has made up the indigenous parade of churches and Christians, we are unique because of our beginning, the middle of our existence and our future. We are not perfect. None of our people are perfect. However, we serve a Perfect Lord and we welcome you to worship with us as we lift out hearts to Him in worship and praise, in our evangelism, in our mission endeavors, and Bible study, in our shared joy and our shared times of sadness. From our first pastor, John Caldwell Carmical to our present pastor, Neal Thornton, spanning well over 100 years, First Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, reaches out to you, whomever you may be, whatever your status, whatever your background...we reach out to you with all our uniqueness to invite you to consider becoming part of our heritage. As our church/faith had its beginning in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we present Him to you in this modern hour to be your Lord, your Savior, and your heritage. Together we will remain faithful to our indigenous calling/commitment. We are located on the corner of West Main and Craig Streets and have been since our first service that was held here on September 15, 1929. You are welcome to visit with us and perhaps become part of our heritage...that began with God our Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.