2000's - Growing and Acting on Faith

The Church welcomed Dr. Jeff Porter to the pulpit in 1996.  The Baptist men’s group launched “Operation Inasmuch” in October 1997 using the talents of church members to build ramps, make carpentry repairs, cleanup yards and weatherize homes in the area.  In June 1999, a group made their first trip to Venezuela to partner with and assist the Luz y Verdad (Light and Truth) Baptist Church in Maiquetia to construct a new building.  Additional trips have been made routinely.  The prison ministry expanded to purchase Christmas gifts for inmates to give to their children and money was raised to build a religious service center on the prison campus.   On October 22, 2000, the church voted to establish two back-to-back Sunday Schools to meet the growing needs of children and young adults.  In 2001, the church began a major restoration of the sanctuary, adding new carpet, refurbishing woodwork and chairs, replacing balcony and choir seats, installing a sound system and having a mural painted in the baptistery by Peggy Lee Mead.  A new organ was purchased and dedicated during this time.  In 2002 the church voted to pave the remaining gravel parking lots, to remove two trees in front of the building, to purchase a “lift” to provide better access for handicapped to enter the sanctuary and landscape grounds in preparation for the Church’s 150th anniversary.  On March 20, 2002, Peggy Berryhill developed and launched the church’s first website.

 Randy D. Carter was called as minister in August 2003.  Amy Hardee, one of our most vocal advocates for foreign and home missions, was ordained into the ministry on September 28, 2003.  The historic sanctuary brick was re-mortared and sealed to keep out moisture and the grounds re-landscaped for the church’s 150th anniversary celebration held November 15-16, 2003.  Four former pastors participated in the celebration.  They were Bruce Cresson, Thomas Denton, Brightie White and Jeff Porter. During the past eight years outreach ministries have expanded to include feeding the hungry, refugee relieve, habitat for humanity, Gateway apartment ministry  and bible classes for after-school elementary students.  The church sponsors a Memorial Day and a Halloween trunk and treat fellowship for the community each year. In 2011, a Hispanic congregation will begin holding weekly worship and bible study meetings at the church.  Because of growth in membership, the church now conducts two Sunday Schools in addition to two morning worship services.  In April 2007, the deacons appointed a space assessment team to study current and future needs.  The team recommended that the church hire the architectural firm of Tise-Kiester to develop a facility and land use master plan for the church.  Handicap accessibility was deemed a priority for both existing and new space.  A master plan for a three phase expansion was presented to the church on April 19, 2008.  The church approved the master plan in concept and the team’s recommendation to appoint a building committee to develop construction drawings and a capital campaign committee to secure funds to begin phase one renovations and construction. 

Because of a major economic downturn, the church delayed appointing the committees until the end of 2009. Cargill Associates were hired to help the capital campaign committee conduct a pre-campaign feasibility study.  Based on the feasibility study presented by Cargill to the church on April 6, 2010, the building committee continued to develop with Tise-Kiester a base-line renovation and construction project for a cost not to exceed $1.5 million dollars.  The building and capital campaign committees presented their findings and recommendations to the church in conference on May 2, 2010. The church approved hiring Cargill associates to help conduct a capital campaign during the fall and to provide funds for Tise-Kiester to develop systematic drawings to renovate the sanctuary and educational building and to construct a new addition with an elevator and two new classrooms.  A capital campaign was conducted from September to November 2010. The campaign’s logo depicts the open doors of our church with the inscription “A place for every generation.”  To date the capital campaign has received three-year commitments and additional contributions from church members of over $600,000.  The cost for the renovation and construction that began in October 2011 was $1.43 million.  To provide more educational space in the renovated facilities, the church’s offices and library were relocated to the parsonage which was vacated by the Carter family in September 2009.  The parsonage is now referred to as the Annex.

C. T. Wilson Construction Company is hired as the builder and renovations and the addition of an elevator tower began in November 2011.  The renovation is done in phases to allow the congregation to continue worshiping and holding Sunday School and mid-week services.  Some Sunday School classes meet in the Annex while others meet in off-campus facilities.  The basement, sanctuary and educational wings built in the 1950s and 1970s undergo major renovation with new plumbing, duct work, ceilings and lighting.  The work is completed in September with dedication services held on Sunday, September 16, 2012.  Betty Ann Dickerson, chair of the Building Committee, expressed her appreciation to the congregation, Tise-Kiester, architects, and C.T. Wilson, builder. 

From Aaron Jones Jr., the first pastor, to Randy D. Carter, the present one, a hundred and fifty-eight years have passed in the life of a congregation dedicated to worshipping and serving God. It would be impossible in this brief resume to mention all the devoted members who have made their contributions to the church, however large or small they may have been. We do, as church members today, express our appreciation and high regard for all the pioneer members who served the First Baptist Church of Hillsborough in its early struggles, as well as those who through the years and down to the present date have labored and sacrificed to provide us a solid foundation to grow in worship, discipleship, fellowship and missions.  May we the current generation of believers do the same for the generations to come.