The Sun News

First Baptist Church plans for 75th anniversary

The Rev. John Waters, pastor at First Baptist Church in Statesboro, will preach at the 75th anniversary service of First Baptist Church in Warner Robins on April 30.
The Rev. John Waters, pastor at First Baptist Church in Statesboro, will preach at the 75th anniversary service of First Baptist Church in Warner Robins on April 30.

To mark its 75th anniversary, First Baptist Church in Warner Robins will be holding an anniversary celebration on April 30.

After the announcement came that the War Department would be building an air depot at Wellston, people began to move to the area.

The first meetings of the church were held in the Old Community House, which was located on what is now Watson Boulevard. The Old Community House was on government property and used for a variety of church services.

The Rev. Walter T. Oman, who at the time was a student at Mercer University, was called to serve the new church as its first pastor.

In the church’s published history, Oman recalls how he got involved with the new church, saying that he was approached first to preach in “the old hall.” Oman’s wife was working for the contractors building the base and drove from Macon every day and Oman would drive down after class in the afternoons and again on Sundays for services.

After a week of revival services conducted by the Rev. Roy Matthews, the church was organized on April 11, 1942. The church was originally charted under the name of Wellston Baptist Church with 12 charter members. The name of the church was changed to Warner Robins Baptist Church on June 6, 1943, to correspond with the name change of the city and then later changed to First Baptist Church.

Oman served for about a year, until funds were received from the Georgia Baptist State Mission Board to pay for a full-time pastor.

Impacted by World War II rationing and restrictions on building, the church continued to meet in the community house until October 1944 when the first service was held in the newly constructed church building, which still stands on the church property located on Watson. The church building, now called the “chapel” by First Baptist members, cost $20,000.

The church has had a long reaching impact in the Warner Robins community as well as across the Baptist denomination. Several dozen ministers have been ordained and licensed by First Baptist Church, including the Rev. John Waters, who was ordained at the church in 1984 and will be returning to preach at the 75th anniversary service. Waters is currently the pastor at First Baptist Church in Statesboro.

The 75th anniversary will start on April 30 with a pre-service fellowship at 9:45 am, followed by a worship service at 10:30 a.m. A luncheon will be served as well. For more information about the day’s activities or to RSVP for the luncheon, visit the First Baptist Church website at www.fbcwr.org.

Alline Kent can be contacted at allinekent@cox.net or 396-2467.

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