In 2000, we commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Baptist witness in the Salisbury area. The founder of the Baptist work here 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 location 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, where you can find that come of his ancestors still hold membership among us.
He served as the pastor of the Salisbury congregation for an amazing 58 years until his death in 1858. He is buried in the pioneers Cemetery, just across the river where the original church building stood. The Baptist work in Salisbury began in 1800.
SBC in the Past
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 for many years. It was around 1879 that as second structure was built in close proximity to where the pioneer cemetery is located. A few years later, with Salisbury settling more on the other side of the river, the third church was built, located close to where the structure now sits. This became more familiarly know as the church hall after our present church was built in 1901. The hall was used for overflow Sunday School space, staging Sunday School concerts and other community events. In times of urgent need school classes were conducted there.
Part of 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 there were three services with very eloquent preaching and large attendance. The music provided by a 16 voice choir.
The church was erected and furnished at the reported cost of about three thousand dollars. Offering and pledges on dedication Sunday amounted to more than five hundred.
The church building underwent renovation 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 self-contained Sunday School classroom as a modern kitchen provided.
As the community of Salisbury grew, so did the congregation along with it’s Sunday School and youth programs so in 1973 an addition in the form of a church center was constructed, providing many classrooms in the basement area.
An expansion program in 1982 saw a 48sq.ft. extension to the original sanctuary. This allowed the seating capacity of the sanctuary to approximately double.
Throughout the 1990’s various youth programs were maintained about due to the decision to hire our first youth pastor in 1988 which provided the additional leadership needed. As we entered the 21st century our fellowship had reason to celebrate, as the year 2000 mark 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 week 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.
Originally known as the First United Baptist Church of Salisbury, throughout the history of the church our name changed to better reflect the changes in title of our convention. Being called First Baptist Church of Salisbury, dropping “United” from the formal name, to most recently in 2005 becoming Salisbury Baptist Church Inc. Holding Salisbury Baptist Church as our current name, within the last few years in the reworking of church vision and branding, we’ve become known simply as SBC within our church family, and even more recently the people of the community grabbing hold of that new title.
It was in October of 2004, that a new addition was officially opened providing us with a modern gymnasium and kitchen facilities as well as our current administrative offices. Then in 2016 complete renovation of the main platform renovation, that in addition to the replacement of the church pews with modern chairs, just before Christmas 2017, has really brought a significant change to our church sanctuary. Praise be to God for His work in and through this family of believers over the years.
Today, SBC remains a pillar in the community and the surrounding area. SBC serves as a hub for community activities, ministry groups, and a host to many major music events every year.