The Historic First Baptist Church of Williamsburg (originally named African Baptist Church), established in 1776 by both free and enslaved blacks, has gained prominent national and international recognition as home to one of America's oldest continuous congregations organized by African Americans. HIstory traces its origin to brush arbor meetings held in 1776 at a nearby plantation. Although some other churches had white beginnings, they did not remain continuous. The church continues to ring the historic "Let Freedom Ring Bell" from 1886. This very bell was rang in September of 2016, by the former President Barack Obama, at the Grand Opening Ceremony of the National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, DC. On Sunday, October 14, 2018, the Historic First Baptist Church of Williamsburg will celebrate its extraordinary founding and continuance of existence for 242 years. The Church's Anniversary celebrations with be held during the 11:00 a.m. Worship service and a special 3:00 p.m. Worship service where all are invited to attend.
The Historic First Baptist Church of Williamsburg is also honored to be recognized and placed on both the National and State Registers of History. On Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 1 p.m., a special program unveiling the State Historic Marker will take place at the church. The Pastor Reginald F. Davis, the congregation, along with several special state and national guests are expected to be in attendance. First Baptist Church of Williamsburg has built a strong legacy since its establishment in 1776. The desire of its members and supporters is that this legacy will continue to grow with the youth and honor African American history throughout the 21st century for the spiritual edification of the Hampton Roads communities, the nation and for many generations to come.
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