Our Heritage

The First Baptist Church of Ardmore, Indian Territory was organized April 21, 1889. Charter members were Rev. J.R. Masters, pastor, Mr. and Mrs. George Bruce, Mr. and Mrs. G.K. Leeman, John Striklin, and Charlie Hill. They organized and met for a time in King College which was located across the alley from the old YWCA Building. Later the group met in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, then located on the southwest corner of the block occupied by the present county courthouse. Soon afterward, a frame building was built on West Broadway Street. Other early-day pastors were Rev. J.H. Slaughter, Rev. C. Stubblefield, Rev. J.F. Young, and Rev. J.L. Keller.

At the same time, another group of individuals had organized Central Baptist Church and erected a brick building at the corner of Broadway Street and C Street NW. Pastors who served this congregation in these early years were Rev. Downing Murphy, Rev. William Crawford and Rev. J.T. Bagwell.

Under the leadership of Rev. Bagwell, pastor of Central Baptist Church, and Rev. Keller, pastor of First Baptist Church, the two churches united and became known as Broadway Baptist Church. Rev. W.A. McKinney served as pastor until he resigned to become superintendent of Oklahoma Baptist University. Dr. David H. Cooper of Detroit, Michigan became pastor and served until his death in 1918. An interim pastor, Dr. A.L. Aulick, led the church until Dr. R. L. Davidson accepted the pastorate. The church grew under Dr. Davidson's leadership and the need for space became pressing. The church bought the site on which the present main church building is located.

Dr. Lee Rector followed Dr. Davidson as pastor. Under Dr. Rector's leadership. the present main church building was constructed in 1927. Also, during this time, the church name was changed to First Missionary Baptist Church. Later, Dr. Rector left the church and organized First Orthodox Baptist Church of Ardmore, where he remained until his death.

Dr. H.E. Dana of Southwestern Baptist Seminary was called as pastor in 1931. He was a great spiritual leader, and the church grew rapidly. A debt of $75,000 was almost liquidated when he resigned to become president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kansas. From 1936-1940, Dr. C.E. Wilbanks served as pastor. Dr. Ira Peak began his ministry in 1940 and Dr. Karl H. Moore became pastor in 1946.

Dr. Richard T. Hopper came from Central Baptist Church of Lawton, Oklahoma on Easter Sunday, 1957. Under his leadership, many additions were made to church facilities. In 1960, an office building on First Avenue SW was purchased to be used as the Youth Annex. Extensive remodeling was done the same year to the main building. In 1969, the Adult Annex was built, and in 1977, the Brady Chapel was erected, by a gift from Mrs. Jimmy Brady Rose and her daughters, in memory of her parents.

In 1978, a renovation of the main church building was completed in 1981and a two-story cabin was constructed at Falls Creek Baptist Assembly. In 1982, the Youth Annex was renovated. Dr. Hopper resigned in April 1988, having served for 31 years.

Dr. Alton Fannin became pastor September 4, 1988. In 1989, the church celebrated its 100th anniversary. The church grew rapidly in the next few years and on August 5, 1990, the church moved into a new 18,000 square foot adult education complex. 1995 and 1996 were bust and exciting years in terms of expanding and remodeling. Then an office building on West Main Street was bought and renovated for use as the Youth Building. This allowed the former Youth Annex to be utilized as the Children's Building.

Construction of a two-story, 23,000 square foot Fellowship Hall and Adult Annex started in July 1999 and was first used Sunday, August 20, 2000. The first floor of the Fellowship Hall seats more than 400 for dining and is served by a commercial grade kitchen. The second floor provides Sunday School space for 200 adults.

A new church ministry began in March 2002. A vacant store located on East Main Street was rented to operate as a downtown mission. Worship services are held Saturday evenings and both food and clothing are distributed. This ministry has been relocated to the Special Ministries Building which is adjacent to other church facilities. It has become a vital ministry to reach and serve those less fortunate.

In April 2008, FUSION, a contemporary worship service began.  Services are held on Sunday mornings in Fellowship Hall. Todd Davison serves as the Fusion Pastor. This ministry is exciting and continues to grow.

Use of a new 225 space, off-street parking lot began in August 2010. Located across the street from church facilities, it has enhanced future growth. We are grateful God has chosen Dr. Fannin to shepherd and lead us both in spiritual and physical growth for 22 years. God has continually anointed Dr. Fannin's ministry, and with him as our pastor it is our prayer that He will continue to bless and build His Church.

Our heritage is rich, our God is great, and we give thanks for all who have gone before us and helped bring us to this time and place.