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Cumberland First Baptist Church

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American Baptist Churches, Baptist Churches, Churches & Places of Worship

116 S Muessing St, Indianapolis, IN 46229


Today: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

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General Info
Cumberland First Baptist Church is a community of faith united in exploring what it means to follow the way of Jesus Christ, to be a people of God and to love and care for our neighbors and the whole created order. As a church we will recognize no circles of exclusion, no walls that separate, no boundaries that can't be crossed and no loyalties above those which we owe to God.The need for a church in the community soon became evident. There was no meetinghouse in which to gather, and no pastor to give them encouragement. The Baptist brethren living along Buck Creek in Hancock County decided to meet at the home of James Parker, on a farm known as the "Atherton Farm", located about one mile northeast of Cumberland. This meeting was held on October 20, 1832. A group of six people attended this session: James Parker, Ambrose Shirley, John Kitley, Lyman Carpenter and Sarah Pogue. They agree to organize as a church, "constituted on the faith of the apostles". In these early days of the church, worship services were held in the homes of the members, being called 'cottage meetings'.For many years, the worship service was held once a month on Saturday at noon with praise and prayer, then the sermon, then the business meeting with the congregation, the pastor and moderator. For the first fifty years pastors were called on a yearly basis, preaching once a month, later twice a month. Since 1924, the Church has had full-time pastors. During the 174 years, there have been forty-two pastors. Our current pastoral staff consists of the Rev. T. Wyatt Watkins, who became our pastor on June 1, 2001, serving as Minister of Worship and Outreach, and Kevin D. Rose, who has served this church since March 1989, currently as Minister of Discipleship and Mission.The church has had three buildings, all located at 116 South Muessing Street. The first 'meeting house', built in 1840 was a very modest frame structure, and served the church for 43 years until 1883. The second building was dedicated in December 1883 and served the church for 30 years until the current structure was dedicated on June 1, 1913. The corner stone of the present building was laid on the northeast corner of the church building on Sunday afternoon, September 1, 1912. This present building, in the design of the Akron plan and costing approximately $15, 000.00, was made of poured concrete, with walls 16 to 18 inches thick. Beautiful art glass windows, made by German artisans from the area, are believed to have cost $600.00. These windows continue to be a treasure and a source of encouragement to all who see them. Cumberland First Baptist Church is the oldest church in Cumberland and has been included in the Historic Record. This year, 2007, we are celebrating 175 years of ministry in this community.Over the years, as the church continued to grow, future expansion of the building was considered, resulting in a new educational wing in 1965 and the construction of a new Narthex area, a future new classroom, and the installation of a new elevator, dedicated on June 3, 1990.In 2001, as Cumberland First Baptist was calling T. Wyatt Watkins, it was restructuring its life on many levels. Embracing a welcoming and affirming stance of broader inclusion regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, Cumberland also gradually adopted a new ministry team model of organization which departed from the old institutional pattern. This has served the congregation well, as new gifts have been called up among the leadership and a consensus approach to decision-making has brought a new level of empowerment into the mix. It has been accompanied by a congregation-wide openness to and pursuit of new, post-modern ways of examining and living out our faith. These are exciting and invigorating days to be followers of Jesus at Cumberland First Baptist ChurchWe are living in an exciting generation, as Christians seek fresh ways to explore and understand their lives and faith. What has changed?
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American Baptist Churches, Baptist Churches, Churches & Places of Worship, General Baptist Churches
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