Newfane's historic First Baptist Church was organized in 1829 — five years after the Town of Newfane was incorporated. In many ways, the church and town have grown up together. We share the same beginnings, starting with the early pioneer days on the Niagara Frontier and continuing until the present Age of Space in the 21st Century. Our 186-year-old church, with its landmark cobblestone building, has been the spiritual home to generations from Newfane and surrounding communities for so long that no one today can remember when our house of worship did not exist, when the peel of the church bell did not call us to Sunday services, or when the sun's rays did not cast their rainbow of color through our stained -glass windows.
Below are some events in our history.
May 27, 1829 — First Baptist Church is founded as the First Baptist Church and Society of Newfane. The first church meeting is held on June 6, 1829 with the Rev. Jehiel Wisner as pastor. Early meetings and worship services are held at the home of congregation member James Van Horn in Burt. His stately 1823 brick house, now known as the Van Horn Mansion, also is where the Town of Newfane was incorporated.
Nov. 2, 1843 — The church's new house of worship - one of only a handful of cobblestone churches in the nation - is completed and dedicated.
April 1845 — First Baptist Church goes on record opposing slavery. It is 16 years before the outbreak of the Civil War that was fought to end the breakaway of Southern states from the Union and to abolish slavery.
1861-1865 — More than a dozen men from the church serve in the Civil War, including a number who are killed.
February 1907 — Extensive renovation and remodeling of the church is completed. The project includes construction of the present bell tower, installation of stained glass windows in the sanctuary and creation of today's seating configuration for the congregation.
1922 — Memorial Hall, to honor Newfane men who served in World War I, is constructed at the rear of the church. For 25 years, the hall is home court for Newfane scholastic basketball games and numerous church, public and club activities. It continues to host church and non-church community functions.
1930 — A used pipe organ is purchased for $1,500 from the Seventh-Day Baptist Church of Alfred, N.Y. Though no longer in use, the huge organ pipes are a prominent backdrop behind the lighted hanging cross at the front of the sanctuary.
2004 — The church building, which has witnessed so much local and national history over the years, is accepted for listing on the New York and National Registers of Historic Places. The honor notes the building's "significance in American history and culture."
May 27, 2015 — The First Baptist Church of Newfane celebrates its 186th anniversary as a religious institution preaching the Gospel and teaching the lessons of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But no matter the length of our past or depth of our roots in the community, we do not wish to dwell in the past. It is the present and future where we intend to thrive. And as always, we reach out to everyone.