First Baptist Church was the first established church (est. 1879) in Marshfield (now Coos Bay) and has a long, active history of ministry in the community. The folks that established our church were anxious to bring the gospel to a town with over 200 inhabitants, a dozen saloons running full blast, and houses of prostitution dotting the waterfront. The first preachers came on horseback from the rural outposts of Sumner and Coquille to assist with organization and ministry.
The first church was built downtown in 1884 and served the congregation until it was razed in 1933. The second building was located downtown at Sixth and Central and served the congregation until 1965. Our current building is located in a residential neighborhood within a mile of downtown Coos Bay at Tenth and Lockhart. Many men and women of the church spent after-work hours on the building and a few of those folks survive today to tell us about the joy and comradery of those work parties. After fifty years of service this building, although well maintained, is undergoing renovations to replace flooring, restrooms, and kitchen appliances. Our trustees began the process in 2017 and hope to complete the work with additional fundraising in 2018.
The ethnic majority of our church is European American. We do have a sprinkling of Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic/Latino. Three quarters of our members live within five miles of the church.
The majority of our congregation is retired and the rest are primarily in skilled employment fields, some full-time and some part-time. Several are business owners in the community.
We have a broad range of ages in our church with 20% children and youth, 10% of young adults, 24% middle age, 26% seniors, and 20% elderly. A third of our households are married couples, some with children and others who are empty nesters. A third is widowed living alone, and the remaining one third are single, some with children and some living with parents.
Our average Sunday worship attendance is 75-95 participants. There is a strong sense of family in our church with a solid core of believers who have given a lifetime of service to Jesus Christ.
Our previous four pastors have served long tenures and each contributed to our story in their own way. None of our pastors left involuntarily or under pressure.
Rev. Everett Curry (1978-1986) Historian, visionary, developed our church constitution and governance, teacher, encourager
Rev. Thomas Colby (1986-1993) Wonderful Wednesday children’s program, hired a Director of Educational Ministry, delegated leadership, directed all to use their talents
Rev. Champ Singleterry (1994-2003) Hispanic ministry, two worship services, strong mission and denominational affiliation
Rev. Gary Rice (2004-2017) Alpha program, Eldership, compassionate pastoral care, visitation, loved children and encouraged the use of gifts and talents among us
Rev. James Alexander came to us in April of 2019.
Our church enjoys celebrations and potlucks:
January – Men’s Fellowship breakfast
February – Super Bowl meal and fundraiser for the Fellowship Fund
March – St. Patrick’s Day potluck
April – Maundy Thursday and Easter specials
June – Pentecost and recognition of graduates
July – 4th of July celebration
October – Missions Awareness Sunday with the international potluck, Mission Bake Sale
November – Church anniversary on Nov. 23
December – Christmas potluck, Candlelight service, church decorating, Christmas specials Monthly Ladies Luncheons
Alongside our pastor, our church has elders who are called and qualified and then approved by the congregation. Elders assist the Pastor in guarding and caring for the membership. The elders are responsible before God for the spiritual welfare of the church, devoted to prayer, and capable of teaching the Word of God. The governance of the congregation is through a board of deacons administered by a moderator and department heads that oversee the practical needs and ministries of the church.