Cradled within the arms of our cozy community lies a quaint, red brick church where one is able to find refuge from life's burdens, peace in the face of disaster, compassion in times of loneliness, and hope in times of utter defeat.
With and emphasis on family involvement, community outreach, and service to those in need, the First Baptist Church of Gramercy's history began over 60 years ago. Its mission has always remained steadfast- to share the good news of salvation through the Word of Jesus Christ. This goal is as relevant today as it was in 1949.
The physical building of the church changed four times, from Lutcher Theater, to the home of the Barfields, to the sanctuary built on Third Street across from the VFW, to its present location on North Airline Avenue in Gramercy.
The guidance of the Lord has led this little country church to see good times and bad, to weather storms and rebound with a growing membership in faith and love.
At one time there was not a single Southern Baptist church in St. James Parish, but then a couple of ladies who moved to the parish from other states wanted a Baptist church that they could attend. Their names were Mrs. Barefield and Miss Virgie Stringer. So, in 1949, the ladies began meeting in Mrs. Barfield's home located in Hester. They began what is now known as the First Baptist Church of Gramercy. Some of the early church services were also held in the old Lutcher/Gramercy theater and were led by Dr. Roy Beaman, a professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. The first actual church building was a small one located on Third Street in Lutcher. It was named Lutcher Baptist Church.
During the early years of the church, two events contributed to its growth. The first local converts were a result of an invitation for Bro. Sam Jones to speak to the Colonial Sugars workers who were on strike and meeting at a union hall in Gramercy. Also, during the late 1950's several Baptist families moved to the area because of employment at Kaiser Aluminum plant in Gramercy. The church enrollment increased when some of these families became members.
As the church grew, a larger building was built in 1956 at the present location of the church at 1046 North Airline Avenue in Gramercy. The church was then named First Baptist Church of Gramercy. The fellowship hall building was built about two years later. In 1980, the entire church worked together, under the leadership of Alfred Roper, to build a beautiful new church building for worship. It was dedicated to God on January 18, 1981.
In February of 1975, the church began a mission in Reserve, Louisiana. This church is now known as the First Baptist Church of Reserve. First Baptist Church of Gramercy also began a mission in Convent, Louisiana in 1984. The pastor was Bro. S.S. Davis. Later, the property in Convent was sold. The money from this sale was used by the LA Baptist Convention to purchase property in Gonzales, Louisiana for a seaman's ministry.
The first pastor's residence was a rented apartment in Lutcher. In 1954, a pastorium was build on the property next to the first church building in Lutcher. in 1959, the church purchased a house for the pastor which was located on Ezidore St. in Gramercy. The present pastorium, located at 549 North Millet Street in Gramercy was built in 1971.
The church has had several pastors through the years. The first pastor was Bro. Cosby Hall, who led the church for about a year. Other pastors were Bro. Stovall, Bro. Don Laird, Bro. Ballard, Bro. Woods, Bro. Rick Chappell, Bro. Charles Gibson, Bro. Jeff Pardue, Bro. Jacques Steib (interim). Bro. Sam Jones served three times as pastor (1952-1964, 1971-1985, and 1996-2008) for a total of 38 years. The most recent pastor, Bro. Josh Burnham served as pastor from 2009-2015. During the interim after Dr. Josh Burnham our church had two interim co-pastors, Bro. Glen Wagnon and Bro. Wayne Elliott until October 9, 2016 when Bro. Thomas Simmons was selected as our new pastor.