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202 East Lewis Street
Livingston, Montana 59047
(406) 222-1603

fbclmt@bridgeband.com

 

The story of First Baptist Church

The origin of the First Baptist Church of Livingston was unique. Dissatisfied with any other form of worship that did not stand for baptism by immersion, freedom of speech and separation of church and state, five women, believing in God, established a Sabbath school on July 26, 1888.

With this success, Rev. Spencer, General Missionary of the Rocky Mountain District organized the church August 26, 1888. The church was received into the state association on June 13, 1889.

The next step was a proper meeting place. The Northern Pacific Railroad officials were anxious to have Christian families settle this new land. So, for $15 in legal fees, and the request that a building of not less than $1,500.00 in value be built within the year, four city lots at the corner of B & Lewis Streets were donated.

In 1919, the church was closed from October 9 through December 18 due to the influenza outbreak.

In 1921, the constitution was amended. The pastor at that time, Rev. Frank Butler, pointed out that the church had actually not been following the constitution.

The church became self-supporting in April of 1924, thirty-six years after the Sabbath Day School was started.

During the pastorate of H. R. Norwood, the church experienced a time of rapid growth. "Because the church was overcrowded, ten classes of the S.S. meeting in the parsonage, two in the 1OOF Hall on Main Street, and the church building crowded at the worship service, we were again forced to think 'BUILDING'." The original church building was torn down in 1936, and reconstruction began on a new, modern church building with 39 rooms and a baptistry. The basement was dug out with a team of horses. Many men were laid off from the Northern Pacific Shop at the time, so volunteer laborers were plentiful.

Before the new building was completed the as yet unfinished, new church building was put into use. The funeral for Lemuel Batten, Sr., the wedding of Clifford Neal and Vivian Crabtree (a cousin of Bee Lees), and the baptism of Elmer N. Lindquist were held.

Through the faithful tithing of the membership during these unsettled and stressful financial times, along with donations, dinners, cookbook sales, drama by the young people, and a $0.50 charge for lunch meetings of the Women's Missionary Society, a mortgage burning was held six years later.

In 1981, the protective glass covers for the seven stained glass windows were installed.

In 1991, the wheelchair lift was installed through the B Street entrance that originally led downstairs to the kitchen from the street.

After 115 years, the bell (purchased from a church in Bozeman, Montana for $100.00) still rings loud and clear proclaiming the faithfulness and steadfastness of the membership to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in Livingston.