The Church celebrated its 225th Anniversary on September 29, 2014
The First Baptist Church of Weston has been an integral part of Weston since the founding of the nation.
The first Baptist resident in Weston was Oliver Hastings, who was baptized in 1772 by Noah Alden, Pastor of the Baptist Church at Bellingham. To quote from The Weston Baptists and Their Church, 1789 - 1939, “His firm stand for what he believed to be the truth excited opposition among the powers in the established Congregational parish church, but he was apparently a man of decided character and opposition only served to whet his enthusiasm.” He was a popular young man and soon attracted several friends to his way of thinking and formed the Baptist Society.
In 1784 the Society contracted to build the first sanctuary, located on the north side of South Avenue, east of Wellesley Street. It was completed in 1788. In 1789, the First Baptist Church of Weston was officially chartered, the same year that the federal government started operating under the U. S. Constitution. The seventeen members “were pronounced an independent Baptist Church in accordance with the principles of the New Testament," and they were “subject to their full share of opprobrium as belonged to the sect everywhere spoken against." Despite numerous protests at Town Meeting, they were still required to pay taxes to support the First Parish Church until 1824 when full religious freedom was granted in Massachusetts.
In 1828, a new, larger church building was built on Boston Post Road. The same year the first Sunday school was started, emphasizing, as now, the importance of Christian Education and Bible Study. From 1867 to 1870, religious revival was rampant in the country, and the First Baptist Church added 50 new members in two years. Rev. Luther Barrett was the pastor and it was said “Mr. Barrett was known to have preached one sermon lasting an hour and forty minutes. He realized that it was too long, but the people shouted for him to go on.”
The first organ was purchased in 1867, and the bell, which still tolls from the steeple every Sunday, was hung in 1871. In 1882 the Baptistery was added. Until that time, baptisms were held in the pond behind the Golden Ball Tavern. During the 1890’s the church installed the pipe organ that still thrills the soul with music in the 21st century.
In 1922 the church voted to build a new house of worship on the site of the old wooden building which had burned. It was completed in 1924. The Whittemore House on the corner of Boston Post Road and Golden Ball Road was purchased in 1962 and served as a Christian Education Building. From 1972 to 2012, it housed a pre-school that served the families of Weston.
The First Baptist Church is a self-governing body, with a President, Linda Smith, and an Executive Council elected by the members of the church. All major decisions and appropriations are voted upon by the members of the church. The Church is a member of the American Baptist Churches/USA (www.abc-usa.org) and The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (www.tabcom.org). We work with these organizations to support missions around the world.