Award-Winning History Published

The Life and Times of First Baptist Church, Wilson, N.C. 1860 – 2010

Named Church History of the Year by the History Committee of the Baptist State Convention of NC

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER HERE: http://issuu.com/FBCWilson/docs/fbchistory

In 2010, the year of our 150th anniversary, we published a history of this congregation, written by Roger A. Bullard. Dr. Bullard is retired Professor of Religion at Barton College and a beloved member of this church. His skilled research has uncovered diaries, journals, letters and photographs that give an intimate peek into the daily lives of the people who founded and nurtured this church. His knack for telling a great story has created a captivating narrative.

The Life and Times of First Baptist Church, Wilson, North Carolina  is a handsome hardback volume of 500 pages including 100 photographs. Copies are available at our office for $20.  A recording on DVD is also available for the same price.  Or you may send a check for $20 plus $5 shipping made to “First Baptist Church.”  P. O. Box 1467, Wilson, NC  27894.

We are so grateful to Roger for giving us the gift of our story, told so lovingly and beautifully.

Below are reviews of this book by Dr. Walter Shurden, the dean of Baptist historians in the South, and by Dennis Rogers, a native Wilsonian and retired columnist for the News and Observer:

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I have read many, many local church histories, but this one raises the bar as to what a local church history should be. It is, without question, one of the three or four best local church histories I have ever read. Professionally researched, engagingly written, and filled with colorful anecdotes, this is both a work of love and a work of art. But Bullard’s love of the church is not without objectivity. FBC Wilson and Baptist history-lovers everywhere are in debt to Roger Bullard.

– Walter B. Shurden, Minister at Large, Mercer University

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A word of warning: do not drop The Life and Times of First Baptist Church, Wilson, North Carolina 1860-2010. Coming in just shy of 500 pages, it could do serious harm to unprotected toes, fragile furniture or small animals. But do not let its mighty heft deter you, for is worth every page and pound.

Roger Bullard, a retired professor of religion and philosophy at Barton College, has accomplished a feat most writers of church history would be foolhardy to attempt: he has breathed vibrant life into long forgotten people and the musty records that marked their passing. The stories of those church men and women who led, pushed, cajoled, prayed and battled – remember, these are real Baptists we’re talking about – are told in the context of the world and times in which they lived.

There was the Civil War preacher who promised freedom to his slave if he would kill three Yankees. More than once fire trucks interrupted funerals, which must have been seen either as a symbolic confirmation of the dear departed’s suspected destination or a test to see which mourners would first collapse in giggles and guffaws. We’re there when young Baptist boys march off to numerous wars and old-before-their-time Baptists veterans come struggling home. We’re at weddings and revivals and church suppers and we now know who made that delicious country-style steak we so enjoyed and remembered. We see a tobacco town become a city and a small congregation become its rock-solid foundation.

A church worth its mortar and nails does not exist apart from the world outside its sanctuary. And Wilson’s stately First Baptist Church on Nash Street has never shied from its responsibility to be for, and of, the world around it. It endured the shame of segregation and the pain of integration. It has aided the poor and helped the rich find meaningful things to do with all that excess money. It felt the fury of Hurricane Hazel and went to help when Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast. And, important to me at least, it planted the seed that became the Five Points Missionary Baptist Church where I spent most of my youthful Sunday mornings, where I was a Boy Scout and where, on a spring Saturday evening between basic training and my first Army assignment, I was married.

Bullard is a serious but thankfully not pompous historian as well as a witty and charming story teller. His book may be intimidating at first glance, but it doesn’t take long to find yourself on a welcome and long overdue visit back to your old hometown. He has well recorded the history of a fine church. Just as importantly, he has recorded the history of a fine people and the town they built. We should all be in their debt.

– Dennis Rogers, Baptist

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