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HISTORY OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF STEELTON

The First Baptist Church of Steelton, Pennsylvania, was organized in the year 1881 and is known to be the third oldest Black Church in Dauphin County.

The First Baptist Church began with a small group of Christians who began meeting in houses for the purpose of worshiping together. Some of the founders include: Reverends Jesse Carter, J. T. Bailey, Barnard Blackey, Doc. Walker, Fannie Porter, Lottie Jackson, Melvin Mellon, Washington Jordan, James Dixon, Joseph Sims, and Nelson Porter. A short time later they were joined by Henry Walker, William Campbell, Joseph McKamey, John T. Bailey, Milford Ball, James Frey, Henry Clay Williams, John Trice and their wives and families.

The church started at the corner of Bessemer and Bailey Streets, Steelton, Pennsylvania. During its early years the church was relocated from Baily and Bessemer to Front and Adams Streets on the second floor above Billy Powell’s store in 1883. In 1887, the church secured land and began its new Church, The First Baptist Church, at 158 Adams Street. Records show that there were forty-nine members in 1888.

During the following years marked a period of many illustrious leaders, pastors and interim pastors.

On September 23, 1973, ground breaking ceremonies occurred for the present location of The First Baptist Church. On the first Sunday, May 1978, members and well-wishers, marched to the new building at 1850 South Nineteenth Street, Harrisburg.

In July 1980, the pastor called to serve The First Baptist Church was the Reverend Dr. W. Braxton Cooley, Sr. Dr. Cooley set the financial goal of one million dollars for the 100th anniversary. The church marked its 100th anniversary September 1986, with a grand celebration which saw the burning of three mortgages.

Several ministries have been added to The First Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Cooley. They include: Noonday Prayer Service, Wednesday Night Bible study classes, rebirth of the Board of Christian Education, Sr. Citizens Program, The Charles Donahue Male Chorus, Praise Team, Monthly Prayer Vigil, the Drug and Alcohol Ministry (Spiritual Rap), Evangelism, Audio & Tape, Computer Ministry, and the Women’s Ministry. We are presently in the process of establishing a Young Adult Ministry. All of the ministries were established to provide guidance and understanding of the power of God in our lives.

Youth Ministries include, the rebirth of our youth choir, “The Voices of Unity”, Youth Bible studies, Youth Praise Dancers and Youth Church.

In November 2015 Rev. Walter S. Thomas, Jr., was called to serve as the new pastor of  The First Baptist Church of Steelton.

The First Baptist Church is affiliated with the African American Ministers Alliance of Steelton, the Interdenominational Ministers Conference of Greater Harrisburg, the Central Baptist Association, the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention and the National Baptist Convention.