First Baptist Church of Darby - History

We look back to the year 1909 - when the late Reverend George W. Porter and a few dedicated believers saw the need for a Baptist Church in Darby. With faith in God, they rented a Hall on 10th street and held service there.

In 1912 - they moved to Forrester Avenue, where they rented a dining and living room from Mrs. Lena Webb to hold service. About this time, our leadership changed to the Reverend Fletcher Williams, who assumed pastorate on October 16, 1912.

We labored there until the third Sunday in May 1913 - when we marched into what was known as The Tabernacle on Marks Avenue. This was a little tin building which Reverend Williams and the officers and members purchased and where they labored until a House of Worship was erected. Many families took a mortgage or small loans on their homes to finance the project which came to be our third church home.

In the year 1917, after several years of toil, sweat, tears and above all, faith in God and fervent prayers, this present site was purchased and on it our fourth church home was erected.

In the year 1940, considerable renovating was done under the direction of Reverend Williams - much of it being done by Reverend Williams and the officers working with him. They did the work themselves to save as much expense as possible.

On November 5, 1944 - the 35th year of First Baptist Church of Darby, the Mortgage Burning took place, when the secretary of the Lansdowne Federal Building and Loan Association presented the officers with a 25 year mortgage.

On November 11, 1959, the 50th Anniversary of the church and the 47th anniversary of Reverend Williams were observed. Shortly after this, Reverend Williams' health began to fail and after 52 years of dedicated service to God, the church and the community, he offered his resignation which was regretfully accepted by the membership. He was designated Pastor Emeritus and was retained on the payroll until his demise on November 11, 1968.

Sunday, November 29, 1964 marked the retirememt of Reverend Williams and the installation of Reverend Roland V. Jones Sr., who served faithfully for six years and was then called to pastor his home church - Miller Memorial baptist Church in Philadelphia. This was truly a rewarding honor for him, and he took up his pastoral duties there on January 10, 1971.

In 1971, following Reverend Jones resignation, our late Pastor, Reverend Dr. David D. Lee, Jr. ( who had worked in the Sunday School and served as a Deacon for a few years ) was recommended as Interim Pastor, and he did a splendid job.

On Sunday, January 21, 1972, Reverend Lee was duly called as Pastor, He was installed in April 1972 in which capacity he continued to do a Herculean job of winning souls for Christ.

On Sunday, September 28, 1975, in keeping with our continuing faith in God, we reached reached another milestone in our church life as we broke ground on this site for a new addition costing more than $220,000. Under the leadership of Reverend Lee, along with the faithful officers and members, this became a reality on Sunday, September 1, 1976 as we proudly marched to this beautiful edifice. Into, as Reverend Lee said that Sunday morning, "The Door To Opportunity".

On March 26, 2003, the Lord called Pastor Lee from labor to reward. We are encouraged just knowing that his earthly journey was spent doing the Lord's work.

On January 4, 2004, Reverend Dr. Lawrence C. Hood Sr., became the Interim Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Darby. He later resigned on June 5, 2005 and we thank him for his spiritual leadership. To God be the glory.

On December 12, 2005, the church elected a new pastor, Reverend Dr. Raymond A. Merriweather. On Sunday, January 1, 2006, he officially took over the pulpit as out fifth Pastor. The members of First Baptist have truly been blessed to receive such a great man of God and his wife, Sister Deborah Merriweather. They are both lead by the Spirit and First Baptist has been anointed by our new pastor's leadership. We have truly grown spiritually in the few years since he arrived. Thank God for Deliverance. His theme is "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper" Isaiah 54:17a, and "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" Philippians 4:13.

In January 2007, we purchased the property directly behind the church. We now use the building as the annex for classrooms, meetings and community activities. We also started the Men and Women's Fellowship Ministry. In May 2007, we started 2 services, an 8:00 AM as well as our 11:00 AM service to provide ample time for people to worship. Today we look ahead with hope to a glorious happiness in Jesus Christ, keeping First Baptist Church: First In Worship - First In Service - First In Fellowship.