We turn 200 years old in 2022!
In 1822, six men and nine women established the First Baptist Church of Dunstable (later to become Nashua). Services were held in public meeting houses, schools, and homes, led by itinerant preachers until 1833, when a church building was erected on Main Street, north of the Nashua River, and a regular pastor was obtained. In three years, membership had grown to 350.
In 1848, the church was destroyed by fire, but a new building was erected and dedicated in 1850.
In 1884, a mission church was built in the Crown Hill district of Nashua known at first as the Crown Hill Chapel and later as the Crown Hill Baptist Church. This was destroyed by fire in 1930, and was not rebuilt. Almost all of its members joined the First Baptist Church.
In 1980, the church moved to its present location at 121 Manchester Street.
First Baptist has always been active in speaking out on issues affecting the community or nation. In 1964, the church body supported a recommendation on racial equality. In 1982, when the organization “The Council for Civil Rights of New Hampshire” was looking for a place to host a tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., First Baptist of Nashua was the only church in the state that offered to open its doors to host the event. Ever since, for the past 35 plus years, First Baptist Church has proudly hosted this annual celebration.
New Hampshire was one of the last states to officially declare Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. The First Baptist Church celebration was especially joyous January 18, 1999, the year that the state officially declared Martin Luther King Civil Rights Day a holiday.
First Baptist has sponsored refugees and helped resettle them locally as well as provided opportunities for international students to study in this country.
Additionally, First Baptist is LGBTQ friendly and proudly hosts The New Hampshire Gay Men's Chorus several times a year.
A central feature of the modern sanctuary is an antique stained glass window. The window was removed from a building on the corner of Main and East Pearl Streets. That building was originally built in 1847 by the Third Orthodox Congregational Society and later purchased by the Universalist Society in 1881.
After the Universalist congregation joined the Unitarian church on Lowell Street, the window was boarded up and almost forgotten. The building housed many businesses over the year, including the Nashua Trust Company. The historic window was discovered by a church member, the late Stanley Brooks, who worked at Crosby Bakery. Stanley thought that the window would be perfect for our new building erected in 1980. A generous gift by Frank and Marvis Mellen allowed the window to be removed, refurbished, and installed in its present location. The beautiful window is no longer forgotten by anyone who has been in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church.
Music is an important part of the worship experience at the First Baptist Church of Nashua.
We are fortunate to have a mechanical-action organ built in 1902 by the Hutchings-Votey Organ Company of Boston for The Church of Our Savior in East Boston. In 1980, the organ was completely rebuilt by Philip Beaudry of Lowell, Massachusetts for placement in our sanctuary.