Brief Historical Sketch
As Baptists we have commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Baptist witness in the Salisbury area. The founder of the Baptist work was Rev. Joseph Crandall, who was born in Tiverton, Rhode Island in 1772. He came with his family as a small boy to Chester, Nova Scotia. As a young man he commenced preaching in several communities in Nova Scotia and later in New Brunswick. After he was ordained in Sackville, he preached in numerous locations along the Saint John River valley as far as Woodstock.
Many Baptist churches in New Brunswick can claim Rev Crandall as their founder, including our own. He served as the pastor of the Baptist congregation in Salisbury for an amazing 58 years until his death in early 1858. He is buried in the pioneers Cemetery.
The Baptist work in Salisbury began in 1800. The first church building was a log cabin located on the Salisbury back road. This served as the house of worship for the people from a large radius. Around 1879 a second structure was built in close proximity to where the pioneer cemetery is located. A few years later when Salisbury was more settled on the other side of the river, the third church was built. It was located between our present church structure and the land we recently purchased from the St. Judes Roman Catholic Church. This became more familiarly known as the church hall after our present church was built in 1901. The hall was used for overflow Sunday school space, for staging Sunday school concerts and other community events. In times of urgent need school classes were conducted there.
The present church (original section) was dedicated in a special service on the 2nd of June 1901. In a newspaper account of that day, it was reported that three services were held with very eloquent preaching and large attendance. The music was provided by a 16 voice choir. The church was erected and furnished at a reported cost of about three thousand dollars. Offerings and pledges on Dedication Sunday mounted to more than five hundred. The church building underwent renovations in later years. In 1950 a basement was built and an oil furnace installed. In 1955 a new baptistery was constructed with a beautiful background painting by Henri Lanctin Jr. In 1958 the basement underwent further improvement with the self contained Sunday school classrooms and a modern kitchen being provided.
As the community grew so did our congregation, Sunday school and youth programs. In the 1973 an addition in the form of a church center was constructed. It provided many classrooms in the basement area.
The expansion program in 1982 saw a 48 foot square extension to the original portion of the sanctuary. This allowed the seating capacity of the sanctuary to be approximately doubled.
Through the 1990’s various youth programs were maintained. In 1988 we hired our first youth pastor to provide additional leadership. As we entered the 21st century our fellowship had reason to celebrate. The year 2000 marked the 200 years of Christian witness and outreach in this community. A Bicentennial committee was established in advance to plan and oversee a year of celebration marking the occasion. The highlight was a special weekend in June when we hosted an anniversary dinner with Claude Taylor, a native of nearby North River, as a guest speaker. Then on our anniversary Sunday, Dr. Robert Wilson from Acadia Divinity College was the guest speaker.
Recent changes include the change of the name of our church to reflect the change in the title of our convention. We are now called the First Baptist church of Salisbury having dropped the word “United” from the formal name. In 2006, we incorporated to become Salisbury Baptist Church Inc.
The most recent change was realized in October 2004 when the new addition was officially opened providing a modern gymnasium and kitchen facilities as well as administrative offices.
In September 2012, we called Rev. Timothy MacKinnon, who continues to serve as our Senior Pastor.
Thank you our God.