Our Beginning

Our Beginning

We can trace Baptist interest and Baptist worship in Long Branch as early as 1738. At that time, the Rev. Abel Morgan became pastor of the Middletown Baptist church. During his pastorate he set up missions or sub-stations as they were called, in Long Branch and surrounding areas. Samuel Morgan, his nephew, followed Abel at Middletown, carrying on the work in the sub-stations, gathering many converts. However in 1792, Mr. Benjamin Bennett, who followed the Morgans in Middletown, gave up on these out-stations.

Rev. Griffiths, a member of the Missionary Committee of the New Jersey Baptist Association and later pastor of the Red Bank Church, wrote that between 1843 and 1850, work in the Long Branch began again when he established a station at Long Branch. He writes that he was greeted with welcome by the descendants of those early Baptists, still cherishing the ideas of their early Baptist ancestry.

After Rev. Griffiths left Red Bank, Baptist work again ceased in Long Branch until about 1870 when the population of the shore had greatly increased. Long Branch had become America's most famous summer resort and the Trenton Association felt the need for a Baptist church in Long Branch.

In April 1872 the Baptist began holding services in the Music Hall, on Norwood Avenue, opposite Bath Avenue. And in 1873 the Trenton Association purchased from Mr. Tylee Emmons, two and two thirds lots on which our present church and parsonage are situated.

By 1881 a tent was purchased and was erected on this land. Meetings were held in the tent until a church was built. The cornerstone was laid and dedicated on Monday December 17, 1883. It can still be found on the Emmons street side of the building.

On February 10, 1886, thirteen Baptists living in and near Long Branch met and organized the First Baptist Church of Long Branch

The original little chapel was badly damaged by fire on March 20, 1892 and the new sanctuary replaced the chapel. The old chapel was moved back and turned to face Emmons Street and is now used as the annex and prayer meeting room adjacent to the sanctuary. The old arched windows are still in place, several with the original glass panes. The new sanctuary is built in the Akron style. This architectural style was popular at the time and gave the room an amphitheater feel with no center aisle and a large center platform.

Over the years the congregation has changed in size and in cultural make up, but the church's motto has remained. "To know Christ and to make Him known."