First Baptist Church - Today
On April 26, 1953, the Newman Mission was organized and sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Gustine. Rev. Herman Bell was called as Mission Pastor. That first Sunday saw an enrollment of 44 in Sunday school. Rev. Bell served as pastor until March 28, 1954. On March 31, 1954, Rev. Ken Futch was called as pastor. Oneta Kirkendall was Pastor Ken's first baptism, which was held in the Gustine church.
The First Baptist Church was organized on June 27, 1954, with 29 charter members. Bro. Ken was ordained on that same day. He served as pastor until June 13, 1955, leaving to begin a teaching position at California Baptist College in Riverside, CA. Ken Futch was Pastor Doug's English teacher.
Rev. B. B. Thomas served the church for a month and on August 17, 1955, Rev. George Joslin was called as pastor after he and his wife had worked as summer missionaries in the Vacation Bible School here. The property on 'R' Street was purchased in 1956, for $2,000.00. Bro. George resigned May 1, 1957.
Rev. Elbert Davis was called as pastor on June 19, 1957. He and his wife LaVerne served until September 3, 1958.
The church called Rev. Bob Graham to be pastor on October 26, 1958. The loan for constructing the new building was obtained in October 1959. Following the morning worship services on December 6, 1959 the Ground Breaking Services were held. The first baptismal service of the church was held following the morning worship service, with 10 being baptized. On Sunday evening that same day, following the observance of the Lord's Supper, 5 more people were baptized. Bro. Graham personally laid all the bricks for the new building. The first service held in the new building was on July 24, 1960, with Bro. Graham preaching his final sermon.
Rev. Gary Christopherson was called as pastor on October 2, 1960. On March 12, 1961 the new building was dedicated to the Lord's service with Dr. James McClendon of Golden Gate Seminary preaching the sermon. Bro. Gary and Marian served until January 21, 1962.
Rev. Ronald Smith was called on February 14, 1962. Under his leadership the Sunday school classrooms were added in the auditorium, completing the first unit of a planned three unit program. Bro. Smith served as pastor until April 15, 1964.
On May 27, 1964, Rev. Fred Taylor was called to be our new pastor. Bro. Taylor and Mary Caroline served until August 4, 1965.
On December 12, 1965, Dr. James Salmon was called to be pastor. He and his wife, Lou, served until February 19, 1969.
Rev. A. J. Vos was called as pastor on May 7, 1969. Bro. Vos and Pat served here until June 5, 1974.
On September 22, 1974, Rev. Don Shannon Sr. was called as pastor. Bro. Shannon arrived from Alaska and shortly after was ordained at Memorial Baptist Church in Seaside, CA. Bro. Shannon was the church's first full-time pastor.
On December 3, 1975, Andy Nevarez and Don Shannon Jr. were licensed to preach by the church. The church celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 1979, with Dr. Don Jackson, Director of Central Valley Baptist Association, preaching the message. Bro. Shannon resigned August 30, 1979. Prior to his leaving, the church called his son Don Shannon Jr. as Minister of Youth and Music. Don Shannon Jr. was ordained by the church January 18, 1981, with his father returning to preach the message.
The church called Rev. David Wheeler on March 25, 1980. David and Joyce resigned on July 15, 1985. During his ministry, Rev. Marshall White was called as an Associate Pastor on March 9, 1983, and later that year started a Laotian Ministry with his wife Katherine.
On September 15, 1985, the church called Dr. Arthur Norton as Interim Pastor. He served the church until September 21, 1986.
The church called Rev. Ivan Lane to be pastor on November 12, 1986. On January 18, 1987, he was ordained by the church. In May 1988 the city of Newman celebrated its 100th birthday, as did the Women's Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention. Our church actively celebrated both of these events. The walls inside the church were removed to provide for larger classrooms and seating for the worship service. Early 1990, plans were started for the addition of a worship auditorium, classrooms, and restrooms, with a vote on October 24, 1990 to proceed with the plans. Today's Covenant, Tomorrow’s Foundation theme was adopted with a banquet held on March 17, 1991 to explain the program, which included financing the new building. During the morning worship service of June 30, 1991, Calvin Menefee, Randy Ridenhour, and Eugene Boone were licensed by the church. Later that afternoon, ground breaking took place, followed by a potluck dinner. Pastor Ivan and the men of the church did most of the work on the new building with the help of Ken Williams, a contractor and member of the church. The dedication of the new church was held March 29, 1992, with Bro. Chet Reid bringing the message. On July 19, 1992, the church ordained Virgil Fenters Senior. Rev. Marshall and Katherine White left the church to return to Oregon to be with family. Bro. Ivan and Cheryl served the church until December 31, 1999.
On April 2, 2000, Rev. Jerry Roberts was called as Interim Pastor, and served until March 18, 2001.
The church called Douglas Farmer on June 3, 2001. Ruth Carey, the church's first secretary started October 2002. On May 1, 2003, Rev. Tim Rempel was called as our Associate Pastor. Tim was ordained by the church on November 23, 2003. Johnny Kinimaka was called to be our Minister of Youth on January 4, 2004 and was licensed by the church in March 2004. In September of 2005, Associate Pastor Tim Rempel was called as Senior Pastor to First Baptist, Delhi. Pastor Tim Weimer was called as our Associate Pastor in November 2005. Larry Clarke was added to our staff as Associate Youth Minister in October 2009. The family of the Lord has continued to grow and we look forward to serving Him together.
We thank the many men and women who came with their covenant and laid the foundation of their faith to begin a work whereby men, women and children have come and will continue to come and know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives.
Donna Beall Ollie Borba
Leroy Carter Pat Odom Forbus
Madelyn Futch Rev. Ken Futch
Reba Gilstrap Hazel Goodman
Orville Goodman John Harmon
Estelle Hayhurst Lum Hayhurst
Ava Hooks Herman Hooks, Jr.
Barbara Howey Donald Howey
Nellie Howey Frank Hudson
Janet Hudson Virginia Jordan
Oneta Kirkendall Chester Moore Jr.
Chester Moore Sr. Donald Moore
Hazel Moore Marylee Moore
Ann Carter Odom Polly Sequeira
"...and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these, and to everyone who joins the work, and labors at it... such men deserve recognition."
1 Corinthians 16: 15-16