First Baptist Church, Charlottetown

Title

First Baptist Church, Charlottetown

Church Name

First Baptist Church

Church Association

Prince Edward Island Association

Province

Prince Edward Island

County

Queens County

Address

235 Prince Street, Charlottetown, PEI

Status

Active

Date

Originally Built 1845, Current Building 1959

Historical Information

During the summer of 1836, Charlottetown druggist Thomas DesBrisay, led eight other baptized residents, all committed to membership, in bringing the Baptist denomination to Charlottetown with the formation of its first Baptist Church. Rev. George MacDonald, a preacher visiting from Nova Scotia, conducted the inauguration service with all nine members in attendance. Thomas DesBrisay, the motivator of the founding, was inducted as the first deacon. Nine years later, a Charlottetown Baptist “Mission House” was constructed on the north west corner of Euston and Prince Streets, and was officially opened in August of 1845. In 1853 the small chapel was moved to a new location on lower Great George Street, near the waterfront, in an attempt to “be more central and reach more wayward souls.” In this location, a decade later and under the leadership of the church’s longest serving pastor, Rev. John Davis, Baptist membership in the city had grown by almost 400%.

By the mid-1870s Charlottetown Baptists had outgrown their small chapel and Rev. D. G. McDonald stirred the membership to build one of the finest church structures in the city on the southeast corner of Prince and Fitzroy Streets. The large octagonal church became a notable feature on the city skyline, was opened in 1879, and served Baptists for nine years until it was destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1888. A new church was opened on the same site in 1891 and provided the membership with a sanctuary and meeting rooms for sixty-eight years until the current church building was opened on the opposite corner in 1959.

The 1959 facility is atypical for its time in terms of style. A common stylistic form from this period is the mid-century-modern design, which is the style of this church. The most distinctive feature of this church is the sanctuary entrance with an entranceway and copper steeple that is separated from the main body of the church. There are many features of this church that clearly show the period in which it was built, such as the pitch of the roof, the style of the window on the gable end facing the road, and the stained-glass windows that are just below the eaves on the front façade.

This church has attempted to hold on to the built heritage from all of its church buildings and demonstrates how Baptist built heritage can be retained while the congregation moves into a new building. Some of the most significant features from the previous buildings that this congregation has kept are the large, ornate, stained-glass windows that depict scenes from the Bible, original pews, and the original pulpit.

Information provided by the First Baptist Church, Charlottetown.

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Citation

“First Baptist Church, Charlottetown,” Atlantic Baptist Built Heritage Project , accessed April 14, 2024, https://atlanticbaptistheritage.omeka.net/items/show/286.

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