For 125 years First Baptist Cornelia has shown the love of Jesus Christ to Habersham County, its surrounding communities and beyond through teaching, preaching and missions outreach.
In the summer of 1887, 18 charter members met near today's North Main Street at a school called Kimsey Academy to consider the prospect of forming a Baptist congregation in the young community of Cornelia, formerly known as Tom Paine's Post Office and Rabun Gap Junction.
In 1896 the Baptist congregation began worshiping at the Methodist Church building located on what is now Summit Street. The two congregations shared in a Union Sunday School program and shared their pastor, the Rev. H.P. Fitch.
In 1898 the first church building for the Baptist congregation was completed on the site near present-day City Hall on Larkin Street. At that time the congregation also organized a graded Sunday School program under the leadership of the Rev. A.E. Booth. This building was later sold to the city of Cornelia for use as its City Hall.
In 1914 the congregation began to use the name First Baptist Church and a second meeting house was built with a striking round, dome top. Subsequent parcels of property were purchased, expanding the church grounds to one and one-half city blocks. In 1953, the church facilities expanded to include an education building. In 1969, the current sanctuary, fellowship hall and additional education space was completed and dedicated. The old “round” church building was torn down in this process. In 2000, the Family Ministry Center was completed. This handsome addition houses a gym and walking track, classrooms and banquet facility. Since 1887, 32 pastors have ministered at First Baptist Cornelia. Today, Dr. Eric T. Spivey is leading the congregation into a visionary “Walking By Faith” initiative.
In 1987 the church celebrated it's 100th anniversary. As part of the centennial celebration, Church Historian Glenda Moore wrote these words, “As First Baptist looks back over a century of service, her mission has always been, and continues to be, to serve God in this community and to the ends of the earth. As the Church serves as a light upon the hill, so may the lives of its members serve as examples of God's love to all they meet.”
Today this statement still rings true. While you don't get to be 125-years-old without some struggle, First Baptist Church continues to be a “light on the hill,” equipping its members to live out their faith in their homes, their community and their professional lives to impact the world for the glory of God and His son Jesus Christ.