Our History


1818

  • Two hundred and two years ago, Haddonfield was an historically Quaker village of less than fifty families.  Mrs. Letitia Evans asked Rev. John Sisty of Philadelphia to preach, with a view to the founding of a Baptist congregation. So, on August 17, 1817, he preached his first sermon in Haddonfield at the Grove Schoolhouse. The meetings continued with much success, and the Baptist Church was organized on June 11, 1818, with ten constituent members.  As early as September 1818, a collection was taken for the poor on the occasions of the Lord’s Supper, a practice which continues today as the monthly Fellowship Offering.  After a few months, the congregation decided that it was time to build the new Baptist Church its own meeting house. This was erected on the main street, a little distance from the center of the village. The first service was held there on November 29, 1818. The area behind the meeting house was used as a cemetery, and is indeed the site of the Baptist Cemetery today.



1837

  • The Church gave up members to start a Baptist Church in Moorestown, NJ. 

1838

  • The Church was twenty years old and had added two hundred members.



1839

  • Members of the Haddonfield congregation founded the church in Marlton, NJ.



1841

  • The Church again gave up members to start the Baptist Church in Medford, NJ.



1852

  • A new house of worship was built.  It had a steeple containing a bell which was a gift from John Sisty, the first pastor, who had maintained a strong connection to Haddonfield following his retirement.  Women of the church collected money for missions: the state convention, the publication society, foreign missions, and home missions.



1885

  • Ellisburg Chapel was established with the help of the Haddonfield congregation.



1886

  • As the formerly tiny village grew during the post-Civil War years, it was deemed desirable to move the Baptist Church to the center of town. A new church was built at the current site. Stone was taken from the façade of the second meeting house for the new structure and also the bell from the steeple. Beautiful stained glass windows were installed in the new sanctuary. The first service was held in the new building on January 3, 1886

 


1889

  • Just as Haddonfield grew, so did other nearby towns. The congregation released members to open the Baptist Church in Collingswood, NJ.
  • There is evidence of ecumenism as early as 1889. This practice has continued and flourished through the years, as evidenced by the modern-day Haddonfield Council of Churches.



1890

  • The John Sisty Memorial Chapel was built on the Cemetery grounds. (This building still stands, and the cemetery of course remains, administered by Betty Willingmyre.)



1891

  • Congregants of Haddonfield opened the Baptist Church in Magnolia, NJ. 
  • Hillman Chapel was established.



1893

  • Laurel Springs, NJ welcomed its Baptist Church thanks to members of the Haddonfield congregation. 



1896

  • The Church gave moral and financial support to the Mount Ephraim Baptist Church and also the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Haddonfield, which was recognized as an independent church.
  • Members from Haddonfield Baptist were released to begin congregations at Haddon Heights and Westmont Grace Church.



1900

  • The new century saw a surge in mission efforts.  A project to feed the starving in India was born.



1904

  • The Church went out on mission trip to Crow Indian tribe.



1906

  • Outreach continued with a project to aid victims of San Francisco Earthquake.
  • This was also the year of the first missions trip to China and Japan.

 


1909

  • The congregation continued its mission endeavors with another trip to China and Japan.

 


1913

  • The Church undertook a third missions trip trip to China and Japan.
  • In response to the increasing importance of music in worship and praise, our first volunteer choir began and continues today.



1918

  • Following the trials of the Great War and the 1918 influenza pandemic, ecumenism was important to the town’s ministers.



1921

  • White Cross work (foreign and home mission projects organized for Baptist women on a national level) began and continues today.



1923

  • The Church's Mission work continued with a project to aid earthquake victims in Japan.



1924

  • Mission work remained of great importance and a project to aid those starving in the Near East was born.

1926

  • Boy Scout Troop 64 was chartered and continues to be a blessing to the church and to the community.

1930

  • Haddonfield members visited the Navajo Tribe in Arizona on its mission to reach the lost for Christ.

1938

  • Another missions trip was accomplished.  This time to Southern India.

1943

  • During the Great Depression, the church kept up a program of welfare work in the community.

    This year found sixty church men in the armed forces.


1944

  • The exterior of the church building underwent extensive renovations .


1945

  • The ladies of the church organized into the Women’s Union. This consisted of a large group meeting at the church once a month and smaller “circles” meeting in individual homes once a month to work on home and foreign mission projects. In recent years, these meetings have evolved into prayer groups, friendship groups, Bible studies, and book circles.


1955

  • The Memorial Fund of the Haddonfield church was established .

  • The interior of the building saw major changes.

  • During this time period, the Bell Choir was formed.  The program has grown and expanded greatly over the years.

  • The children’s annual production of a pageant depicting the Christmas story has become a cherished tradition, as has the more recent outdoor “Live Nativity” program presented for the community.


1985

  • A unique Summer Enrichment Bible school program began.


1991

  • Rev Michael Feicht arrived as Pastor of First Baptist Haddonfield. He had a great calling for missions, his earlier background having been in the Peace Corps. The last quarter century has seen a great emphasis on mission projects and trips and disaster relief through the work of the Women’s Union, involvement in White Cross, participation in ABCUSA, ABCNJ, and ABC International Ministries. Many members are involved in numerous local missions and outreach programs. Rev. Feicht spearheaded mission projects and trips to Belarus, Rwanda, Egypt, Lebanon, India, China, Puerto Rico and West Virginia.


2010

  • The First Asian Baptist Church holds its services in the Skylight Room on our second floor. The church, led by Rev. David Ho Jin Yu, was originally established for Burmese religious refugees. We welcome them and hope to make their transition to life here easier. Rev. Yu is the director of Asian ministries for ABCUSA and the Asian Church hosted the national meeting of Asian Baptist Churches in 2016. Rev. Yu also organized 2018 and 2019 mission trips to South Korea.


2018

  • Rev Michael Feicht retired after 27 years of service to the First Baptist Church of Haddonfield.

  • Rev Nevin Werron started as Interim Pastor.


2020

  • Rev Nevin Werron retired as Interim Pastor and the search for a new pastor is taking place.

  • COVID-19, a global pandemic, caused the Church to make many changes throughout the year.

  • We are blessed to have Minister of Music, Will Powell, and Interim Organist, Robert Gardner.  Robert Gardner is the Bell Choir Director. Will and Bob are providing many inspirational musical offerings during the pandemic,via in-person, live-stream, and audio services, emails, and outdoor bell-ringing. Our usual concert schedule has been sidelined for the timebeing.

  • The congregation remains committed to the church throughout this crucial time period. We are striving to continue all of our ministries and missions. We maintain strong ties to Riverview Estates (Baptist Home) and Baptist Camp Lebanon, as well as to our sister churches Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Haddonfield and Runyombi Baptist Church in Rwanda. We are committed to the ABCUSA and ABCNJ, and also the Haddonfield Council of Churches.

  • Haddonfield Baptist continues to provide inspirational worship services every Sunday morning, with songs of praise and messages of hope. During non-pandemic times, there are both traditional and casual styles of worship; service opportunites are scheduled so that those who desire to serve can participate in church ministries.  At all times, the church’s purpose remains solid – to introduce others to a relationship with Christ.