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First Baptist Church Of Freehold

81 West Main Street

On November 28, 1834 , 92 members of the Upper Freehold Baptist Church  were dismissed to form the Freehold Baptist Church .

Reverend James M. Challis was the pastor of Upper Freehold Church for twenty-eight years and was the pastor of our church for its first year.

His early territory covered Middletown , Holmdel and the Upper Freehold Church - with stops in Freehold, usually for a midweek service. This journey was made on horseback with overnight stays at parishioners' homes along the way.

The Upper Freehold Baptist Church is known today as the Yellow Meeting House , and was built in 1737. They have church services there once a year, on the last Sunday of July. This Church is located on Yellow Meeting House Road , near Imlaystown. The Imlaystown Baptist Church arranges the services and serves a luncheon on the grounds.

The church we worship today is the third Baptist Church , in the Freehold area. The first was on Barkalow Avenue , at the corner of the Baptist Cemetery , first known as the Union Cemetery . It was a very crude building and was built sometime between 1762 and 1778. The location of this first church building is marked by a memorial monument, which was dedicated on November 28, 1959 - our 125 th anniversary.

When Reverend Challis came to serve the Freehold area, he found the church in a very feeble and disorganized state, the building almost in ruins. Under his leadership, over a period of twelve years, the church grew to a membership of well over one-hundred.

It was decided upon to build a new church in the Village of Freehold , which was our second church.

When this church was opened for use, there were 157 members on the roll. At that time, the population for Freehold was 630 people, and there were 120 houses. This church, where the parsonage is today, was dedicated on February 4, 1847 .

On November 14, 1889 , the cornerstone for the present church was laid - with appropriate ceremonies - as the " Old Church ," after 42 years, was inadequate for the size of the growing congregation.

Before the present church was constructed, it was necessary to demolish the former Main Street Church and then move the parsonage to its present site, as it stood on the corner of West Main Street and Manalapan Avenue , where we are today.

Mr. John B. Gordon, a member of the congregation, was granted the contract, he being the lowest of three bidders with a $14,000 bid. They stained glass windows were not included in this figure; they were financed separately, by various families and groups, as memorial windows

The total cost of the building, including the seats, the lights (which were gas), the architect's fees, and the windows was $17,150.

The present church was dedicated on October 21, 1890 .

Quite a few changes have been made to the physical structure over the years. The Young Men's Room , now known as the conference room, was added in 1896. The spiral stairways leading to the choir loft were enclosed in 1957 to enable the choir loft to be expanded and the organ console moved forward.

In 1950, Lower Fellowship Hall was constructed, largely by members of the congregation. The Christian Education Building was dedicated on September 28, 1958 .

In the early 1990's, the Sanctuary was completely refurnished and painted. New carpeting was installed and the pews were refinished. The pipe organ was also renovated and enlarged.

In the 170 years that Baptist Churches have served the Freehold area and its environs, we have had quite a few pastors - some served as little as one year. Rev. D. S. Parmlee, served for thirteen. Rev. William L. Frederickson is our twenty-sixth pastor and has been with us for over nineteen years.