History of Galveston First Baptist Church

This history is still in progress and one has additioinal information you feel would be helpfull send to prhoads@williamsbu.edu

ONe of the oldest Baptist churches in Texas

Our Story


. Founded in 1840, First Galveston has a storied history and bright future of impacting Galveston Island. We believe that our core values and our unique understanding of ourselves as people set the stage for First Baptist to lead a gospel centered charge into the future. 

We Are…   

A church for real people. We pride ourselves in being a place of authentic community where everyone can know and be known by one another, and that everyone has a place to belong. 

We Used to Be…

Individuals who were completely broken, but now we are grateful for the amazing grace that allows us to unite to God and one another.

We Serve… 

We serve a good and perfect God, and we believe that our mission as First Galveston is to

"Live out God's word into His world."

First Baptist Church Galveston

A History

If you have ever read of a struggling church full of fights and splitting and find yourself wondering how it could happen. It’s as old as the Bible.  Miriam and Aaron trying to overthrow Moses because they wanted to mastermind the Children of Israel.

Whatever you believe about the Bible it is a book of reality.  It does not whitewash the early church and make the disciples into shining saints.  Elisha got discouraged and hid in a cave, David committed adultery, Thomas doubted, Peter denied Jesus and the church at Corinth was a crazy mix of spirituality excess and non-Biblical practices. In other words, a church very much like most churches in the United States today.

Paul invests 18 months in Corinth and then moved on. But after he leaves, Paul gets a letter that says "We are having a few problems: believers are choosing sides about the best spiritual leader, we are arguing about what to eat and who can eat it, church members taking each other to court, some are getting drunk at the Lord’s supper, oh yes and we don’t agree on spiritual gifts, dating, and the resurrection."

And yet Paul says 1 Corinthians 1:4, NLT “I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.”

The church at Galveston is in many ways like the church at Corinth except Corinth never had hurricanes.

  • First a word of appreciation

    MUCH of this history is based on 175 anniversary history written by Dr Ben Raimer in 2015 for which First Baptist Church is eternally grateful.  Also  information found in Ken Cam’s  article  in the Baptist Standard on the founding of the Avenue L Baptist Church and by an article by Rick Cousins in Teh Daily News Spril 25 about Primera Iglesia Bautista

  • First Baptist Church of Galveston is born

    In January of 1840 Rev. Dr. Huckins, 33, a missionary sent from the United States was on his way to Houston when he got off the ship in Galveston. The capture of Santa Anna and the signing of the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war with Mexico, had happened only 4 years before. It would not be until February 28, 1845, that the U.S. Congress would narrowly passed a bill authorizing the U.S.  to annex the Republic of Texas.  Thus, Huckins was in effect a “foreign missionary.”

    Sunday morning, following his arrival, he preached at the newly organized Presbyterian Church. The services overflowed the 200-seat church that morning, Following the last service a large crowd gathered around Rev. Dr. Huckins asking him to remain in Galveston and organize a Baptist church. Huckins agreed to stay. A meeting was set for Thursday evening, January 30th at the home of Tom Borden, the brother of Gail Borden. Eleven people showed up – six men and five women. Six had their letters with them, and three came on statement. Gail Borden and his wife, Penelope, came by profession of faith.  

    The newly formed church had services the following Sunday. On a very cold Tuesday afternoon February 4th, a large crowd gathered at the beach to see Gail and Penelope Borden baptized.  On the 9th of February, the church met in the courthouse and nine Black people joined. Eight were slaves of the church members and the 9th was a free person.  Galveston Baptist Church was the only church in the city at that time to accept Blacks.

  • Huckins leaves to help found Baylor University

    In 1841, Sam Houston, who lived in Baytown with his wife Marg’aret began his second term as President of the Republic of Texas.   On March 27, 1841 Marg'aret Houston and her mother, Nancy Lee came forward and joined the First Baptist Church of Galveston, Tx.    


    In June of 1842, the Baptist Home Missionary Society withdrew their support from Rev. Dr.Huckins due to his lenient position toward slavery. In 1846, just after the Republic of Texas was annexed by the U.S. and Texas became the 28th state, the building of a permanent church building began. It was dedicated Sunday, September 12, 1847. The first House of Worship, was a small wooden structure on 22nd Street between Avenue H and Avenue I. The building costs were about $4,800. It had 60 pews, a gallery across the back and an outer baptistery, which was filled with water from a nearby well. 


    Two weeks later Huckins resigned his duties as pastor to devote himself full-time to raising funds for the fledgling Baylor University. Huckins along with Robert Baylor and William Milton Tryon are considered the founders of Baylor University.

    On Jan 1, 1948, the church called John Hillyer as pastor but by September he resigned due to not getting paid. On March 9, 1849, Robert Taliaferro was called as the third pastor.  He was pastor for over a year.  However, the church was again unable to pay most of the salary they had promised so he left to become a missionary to the Choctaw Native Americans in churches in central Texas.


    Gail Borden, one of the church deacons had become a successful entrepreneur and inventor and relocated from Galveston to New York. The loss of Borden’s financial support was a near fatal blow to the church.


     Borden is best known for revolutionizing the dairy industry by developing the first successful commercial method of condensing milk. With this invention, dairy products could be preserved for long periods of time and could be shipped across hundreds of miles.

  • Avenue L Baptist Church founded

    On July 1, 1853, Pastor Huckins returned to Galveston to become pastor of the floundering congregation. His strong leadership resulted in rapid membership growth, and improvement in the church’s financial condition, as well as a period of expansion. .


    Huckins then aided black Baptists in the growing city to organize their own church, the Colored Baptist Church of Galveston, This congregation met in the courthouse several years; it was a safe place where slaves could gather to worship and learn to read and write. In 1855, it changed its name to African Baptist Church, but the Civil War began to disrupt services often.


    After emancipation and the war’s end Gail Borden Jr. and other Baptist brothers bought and deeded land to the African Baptist Church, Israel Campbell and a fellow pastorIn 1867, Campbell reorganized the straggling membership into a new congregation, called First Regular Missionary Baptist Church, and relocated it to 26th Street and Avenue L. This was the first entirely independent black Baptist church organized in Texas following the 1863 emancipation. It soon grew under Campbell’s leadership to more than 500 members.


    Covid was not the first epidemic to close the church.   An epidemic of Yellow Fever struck Galveston in 1858 and 1859, so public meetings were suspended.


    On June 1, 1860, James Stribling was called to pastor the church.  He was pastor during the civil War.  At that time the church consisted of 80 members: 30 White and 50 Black.  Dr. William Howard from Manchester, England became pastor in January 1867.


    In 1867, the church completed a large parsonage on a lot it had purchased in the early 1860s.  The pastor, on the other hand, was away much of the time serving in various Texas Baptist Convention roles.  Financial issues began to plague the congregation. The pastor resigned five times and recanted each time. The church was split as the congregation took sides on the issue of the pastor’s absence and the financial problems that developed.

    On December 30,1875, there was a heated church meeting that ended with about 50 of the 125 active church members obtaining their membership letters and forming to Second Baptist Church of Galveston.  Rev. Howard, continuing his convention work, again resigned in 1879.  This time his resignation letter was accepted.

  • Pastors at first and second Baptist resign

    In 1879 William Bailey was called to replace Pastor Howard.  Bailey encountered a congregation split apart and was never permitted by the deacons to lead the church.  Dr. Bailey along with Dr. Hayden, the pastor of the Second Baptist Church agreed they should both resign their positions and that the two churches should be reunited and choose a new pastor.  After much political intrigue by the deacon bodies, there was a resolution to reunite the churches. Dr Hayden filled the pulpit until a new pastor could arrive.  On October 27, 1881, Dr. Albert Theodore Spalding from Atlanta, Georgia, became the pastor of the re-united First Baptist Church in Galveston.  During his time a cornerstone was laid for a new church on April 15, 1882.  The impressive amphitheater, modeled after Spurgeon’s church in London had a seating capacity of 700 at a cost of $4,000, which was over budget.  

  • Building with seven steeples

    Fall 1895 Dr. William Harris, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Greenville, Alabama,

    was extended a call to become their new pastor, and he officially assumed his duties in

    January 1896.  When Harris came to Galveston, First Baptist Church it was described as the largest church, with the finest church building, and the best parsonage in all of Texas.  The congregation's second building featured seven steeples. Designed by architect Nathaniel Tobey, Jr., it was a mixture of Gothic and Eastern Orthodox styles. It was destroyed in the 1900 storm, and the original log cabin sanctuary was crushed by the falling church building.

  • Isaac's Storm

    On September 7, 1900, the Galveston Daily News noted the presence of a small but severe hurricane in the Gulf. The local government meteorologist, Isaac Cline, was a member of First Baptist Church and taught a Bible Study class. Cline was worried about the storm but took comfort in his belief no storm would ever seriously damage the city.


    September 8, 1900, began innocently in Galveston, Texas. The hurricane made landfall around 8:00 p.m., a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds pf 145 miles per hour.  Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history.  Erik Larson’s book, Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, tells the story of this massive storm.


    The church was destroyed, along with over one third of the structures on the island.  Among the over 6,000 people dead were 44 church members. The buildings of the Second and Third Baptist Churches were also destroyed.  Rabbi Henry Cohen allowed the church to use the Jewish Synagogue, located across the street from where First Baptist Church had stood.  The Synagogue was almost undamaged in the storm. Dr. Harris accepted the invitation.


    In part of a letter to other Baptist churches asking for aid Dr Harris wrote:


    In all this wreck and ruin our Baptist people suffered terribly. One can hardly imagine destitution more pitiable than that of the four Negro Baptist churches of Galveston.

    Their buildings were wrecked and they are without money or influence . . . . . The Third Baptist Church is extinct. Its pastor, Rev . G . W. Lane , and his entire family, were swept out of the world. Others of the membership were lost in the storm, and the remaining ones, save one lone woman, have left Galveston in search of work. The Second Baptist Church lost their building and many of their members. Our church lost its building.


  • A bright red carpet

    In 1901, the 19 survivors of the Second Baptist moved their memberships to First Baptist, and the following Sunday, the four survivors from Third Baptist Church also joined First Baptist. One of the stained-glass windows in the present-day chapel commemorates the loss of 2nd and 3rd Baptist.  Among the new members was Mr. C.W. Bulgar, a deacon and an architect.  He immediately set about designing a new building. In 1902, the cornerstone was laid for the new building and the first services were held in May 1903, but without any furnishings since the church did not have the money for furniture. Gambrell of Dallas preached the dedication service on January 8, 1905, when the building was finally furnished.


     On June 4, 1905, Dr. Luther Little became the church’s pastor. It is uncertain what went wrong with Dr. Little’s ministry at First Baptist.  It appears he aligned with a faction within the church and also spent much time away from his duties, holding meetings and attending conventions in other cities In fact, church minutes reflect that he missed most business meetings and was gone from Galveston more than he was in town. Finally, the church requested Dr. Little’s resignation due to his excessive absences, and he left the church on November 1, 1907.

    Little’s contribution to the church seems to be the addition of bright red wall-to-wall carpet in the auditorium. The carpet would remain controversial for the next 50 years. He also left a debt of $3,000 for the carpet for the next pastor to deal with.


  • Dr.Edward Stubblefield

    On January 26, 1908, Dr. Edward Stubblefield accepted the church’s call and remained as pastor for the next 10 years. Stubblefield refused to let himself be taken in by any of the church politics and quickly became known' as 'the “People’s Pastor." Dr. Stubblefield was so highly regarded by the congregation they refused to accept his resignation in 1918. During his pastorate a new organ, built in Burlington, Vermont, was added to the church in 1911 and there were also renovations to Huckins’ Hall. Andrew Carnegie, of the Carnegie Foundation, contributed $1,250 of the $4,000 raised for the new organ.

  •  42, moving pictures and dancing

    On March 6, 1921, the Reverend Edwin Adams became the pastor. He called a special meeting of the membership the following evening and asked that people give up "42", a popular domino game, the moving pictures and dancing for at least three months.  The exact reason for the hiatus seemed to be a kind of fasting but some felt he wanted a permanent band on such activities.  This proposed restriction on the game of 42 continued to be adhered to by some at the church well into the 1940s. 


    The reaction was explosive, and the next business meeting was even more so. Most people refused to vote in support of the issues. After the meeting, little was said thereafter of the pastor’s requests, but despite the reaction, growth in the ensuing months was phenomenal. Within six months church membership grew from 850 to 1000, and Sunday School enrollment was over 634 with an average attendance of 325.  By 1923 membership was 1,209. In February 1923, the church became Texas’ first church to broadcast its services to the community by radio. By January 1924 the church’s membership had grown to over 1,400. Just when it appeared that things could not get any better, the pastor announced that he had had a "vision “and felt that he should resign as pastor, and he did just that on May 31, 1925. Later, it would be revealed by Deacon Judge Wigley that the real reason for Adams departure was an ongoing conflict with. the Minister of Education, W.J. Lites, who had been employed by the church.   Due to this the church adopted a policy that all church staff should be hired, and fired, by the pastor.

  • Dr. Harold & Gertrude Fickett

    In November of 1925 Thomas Harvey tok over as pastor but resigned in 1929 due to failing health.   Harold Fickett took over in April and 1929 servedfor 25 yearrs.  Dr Fickett was born in Alveston and his father had been a deacon in First Baptist Church and it was there that Haold Fickett made a profession of faith in 1902.  Harold was married to Gertrude McCleary of Calvert, Texas while studying at Columbia University.  The had one son Harold Fickett jr. who eventually became the pastor the First Baptist of Van Nuys California with a membership of 14,000 and was at its time the largest Baptist church west of the Mississippi

  • Marwitz Castle - education buildling

    The Herman Marwitz House, Galveston Texas. Photo by Allen Stross, 1967. Also known as the "Marwitz Castle" or the "Old Castle". Located at 801 22nd Street, it was built between 1890 and 1894. Designed in the Queen Anne style by Marwitz's nephew, the architect Alfred Muller, Construction of the house nearly wiped-out Marwitz's checkbook, despite his position as president of the Street Railway Company and the Galveston Savings Bank. After completion, he decided that rather than live there, he would lease it out to the Goldbeck College of Music. Marwitz died in 1899, and by the time of the 1900 Storm, the residence served as a women's boardinghouse. The owner of the building in 1931 threatened to sell it to the city’s most notorious “madam” who was obtaining a loan for the purpose.  A brothel adjacent to First Baptist Church did not sit well with Mr., Wigley who wrote a check as down payment without consulting Fickett or the deacons.  No one complained Its use eventually devolved to a house of prostitution before being bought by the First Baptist Church in 1931. It was demolished in 1969.


    And the church needed the space for growth. In April 1931 Sunday school attendance reached 700 and new seats were placed in the auditorium to increase capacity. With such rapidly expanding Sunday school classes, the church voted to build a new educational building.

    In the middle of the construction project, President Roosevelt declared the "National Bank Holiday" which prevented the church from accessing its funds. Fortunately, local contractors were willing to work on credit and the facility was completed on time. The new building helped the church record a new high attendance of 1,580 on Easter Sunday, 1933.Dr. Fickett is Pastor 1940  the John Sealy House was acquired at the centennial of the church.

    In May of that same year, Dr. Fickett, who was legendary in Texas by this time, preached the Commencement Sermon for Baylor University and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity. On January 28, 1940, the Centennial Anniversary of the First Baptist Church in Galveston was celebrated. First Baptist Church Galveston had hit the hundred-year mark.  Fickett was not only a community and state leader by a national leader  of the Southern Baptist convention was well

    An opinionated preacher, Dr. Fickett never missed an opportunity to use the pulpit to express his views on politics and government and other important issues. And during World War II it was Dr. Fickett’s sermons that rallied and encouraged Galveston’s citizens. During WWII Fickett listed on a plaque the men and women serving in the war.  By the end of the war 10 men and 1 woman has given their life to defending the nation.  

    Toward the end of Dr Fickett's ministry, the church formed a building committee to explore the construction of a new church. When plans were brought before the church for final approval, the committee thought the construction costs would be around $500,000. But final bids came in; the cost was more about $750,000 to $ 1,000,000. Dr. Fickett, who held a biblical view of debt and could not be a party to the church going into debt, decided to retire. Dr. Harold Lord Fickett retired January 1, 

  • Primera Iglesia Bautista

    The First Mexican Baptist Mission began as a vision of Alice Stovall, wife of Principal Sam Stovall of Alamo Elementary School, and a member of First Baptist Church. She wanted to provide a place for the Mexican migrant workers and their children to worship.  She and two other ladies from FBC, Olivia Villamil and Josephine O'Balle took it upon themselves to start the class for these children. They were given a room on the 3rd floor of the Sealy House. The work grew and led to the start of services for the Mexican migrant workers and their families.  It moved downstairs to a larger area and became the first and oldest Mexican Baptist Mission in Texas.  By 1944 the Mexican Mission had grown to 50 or 60 adults.  They acquired a piece of donated land on Broadway. At the time it was not in the city limits and was used as a dump for rock and demolition scrap. They cleared the land by hand and prepared it for buildings. The first buildings were two donated barracks from Camp Wallace.  By 1944 the mission became Primera Iglesia Bautista, the oldest hispanic church in Galveston.   Lewis Oliver was the architect of their first building.  Members from FBC Galveston were in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony.  They continued to use the First Baptist Galveston facilities for weddings and baby showers when more space was needed. The two churches shared information about their activities in the weekly newsletter, The Herald, that was mailed out to members of FBC. Like FBC, Primera Iglesia Bautista suffered losses during the major hurricanes Rita and Ike.  In 2010 they dedicated the newly repaired building after Hurricane Ike and celebrated their 66th year.  Now they are preparing for their 75th anniversary in 2024.  

  • John Salzman

    John Salzman assumed leadership of Galveston church in 1955 and was known for his outstanding ministerial team.  In August 1956, with the purchase of the remaining two lots the church completed its acquisition of the entire city block that it currently occupies. Next, the church formed an Advance Planning Committee to formulate the development of a new church complex. On September 2, 1956, ground was broken, and construction begun on the current House of Worship. This $700,000 structure was completed and dedicated on June 1, 1958, with 1,226 people attending Sunday School.  The church had rallied in an extraordinary effort to meet the goal of building the new church, but shortly after its completion a period of lethargy seemed to settle over the membership. By the summer of 1960, Sunday school attendance had dropped to 950. By 1962, Dr. Salzman felt his ministry at First Baptist Church was completed and resigned to assume the position of pastor of First Baptist Church, Tucson,

    Grayson Glass began his pastorate of First Baptist Church of Galveston on May 2, 1966. Glass served as pastor at First Baptist Galveston until December 15, 1978. During that time the church constructed a new educational building on the northwest side of the block and Marwitz Castle on the northeast corner of the block was torn down.

    After almost a year of interim pastors, the church call Dr. James D. Springfield as pastor for First Baptist Church. October 6, 1979, Choir and Sunday school programs grew at a remarkable rate, with the church recording a high attendance of over 800 one year.

    The tradition of the "Hanging of the Green" in the church sanctuary during December began at this time, as well as the Dickens on the Strand Hand Bell Choir which was featured on the PBS channel’s "The Bells of Christmas," the largest hand bell choir in America. During this time as well, the Crawford Family donated a beautiful stained-glass window in the memory of Dr. Harold Fickett.  Dr Springfield resigned Feb 8, 1982.

  • Hurricane Alicia

     After an interim period, the church called Dr. James McGlothin to be pastor. He preached his first sermon on August 29, 1982. Within a year, Galveston was struck by hurricane Alicia which did considerable damage to the church. Major sections of the roof were damaged and subsequent rains did extensive damage to the interior of the church and to the organ.

    The church rallied once again to overcome the ravages of Mother Nature and used the opportunity to do some renovations to the church’s interior. Louis Oliver supervised restoration of the church’s roof and the church’s interior saw the addition of brass chandeliers, a new audio system, modern theater lighting.

    The contemporary vs traditional service first arrived upon the scene in the early to mid-seventies.  Sometimes referred to as praise music, it apparently evolved out of the Jesus People movement and use of the acoustic guitar of the early seventies.  The entire battle was sometimes referred to as the “worship wars “in the 1980s and 90s.  Traditional music was portrayed as old, dry, boring and as being sung with no one paying attention any longer to the lyrics.  Contemporary music was seen as reflecting the time, more professional and causing the singer to think about the words as opposed to reciting a liturgy.


    Many regular, long-standing members relocated to other churches in the community that reflected their views of either the traditional worship style or the contemporary worship style. During this time Dr. Bobby Smith resigned in 1996.  

  • List Item

    First Baptist entered a voluntary interim ministry sponsored by the Texas Baptist Convention. After the process ended, Ben Henderson was called as Interim Pastor. The church then entered a self-directed process of introspection, prayer and reorganization.


    At its low point, the church had 75-100 people in worship and Sunday School, but during the new interim pastor’s leadership, membership grew, and attitudes changed.


     A planning process actively involved 50 to 60 church members, resulting in:

     • reaffirmation of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message,

    • reorganization of the church’s governance structure,

    • the reaffirmation of the theology of the "priesthood of the believer" and

    • the determination to heal breaches within the fellowship.


    In January 1998 a Pastor Search Committee was selected; it reviewed over 145 resumes.

    Finally, the Search Committee brought to the church a recommendation during the summer of 1998 that Henderson be confirmed as the Pastor. The church voted unanimously to accept that recommendation.  His call as pastor of the church clearly set a new course for the congregation.


    The church added a day care and children’s ministry, the membership grew and there was an increase in ministry to young families all of which contributed to great expectations for the church.  All hopes were confused when Pastor Henderson abruptly announced his resignation in the fall of 2000 and immediately moved.


    Peter Jory was called to pastor the church from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Although he lacked pastoral experience, and his only experience was in youth ministry the church felt his connection with the young married adult ministry was critical for the church’s continued growth. However, it became clear to the church after a time that Pete’s "call" was to church planting and collegiate ministry. In answer to that call, he announced his plans to relocate to central Louisiana to pursue work as a church planter.  

  • Period of Growth

    First Baptist again found itself facing another interim period as the church re-evaluated its purpose and direction. Dr. Grayson Glass, who had served as pastor during the 1960’s and 1970’s, became the interim pastor in 2004 and resumed a vigorous community outreach program. He also renewed an emphasis on Bible study.   Church attendance, finance, and programs flourished as did spiritual growth. The church selected Deacon N. Jacob Samuel to serve as church administrator, and short-term and long-term plans were developed to address issues related to the church’s finances and facilities.


    The following year, 2005, was a year of repairs, renovation, and restoration of the facilities. The "White Building" which had stood on the northeast corner of the block in disrepair for decades, was razed and the church underwent much needed repairs including restoration of the columns, repair of windows in the sanctuary, renovation of the educational building, additional furnishings, renovation of the church’s nursery suite, and installation of a new air conditioning system for the buildings during the summer of that year.


Dr. Ray and Sherry Meador

Rita & Ike

In August 2005 Dr. Ray Meador was named Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church.  Dr. Meador and his wife Sherry moved to Galveston in September, just in time for Hurricane Rita, in fact, the very weekend. The church buildings sustained damage from high winds and water from Hurricane Rita and required major repairs. As the church recovered from the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, it also underwent substantial healing under the leadership of Dr. Ray and Sherry’s ministry which focused on mending the very spirit of the church itself through a person-by-person restoration process. Ministries were revitalized and underwent a growth process. New deacons were added to the ministry program and children’s programs expanded.


On September 12, 2008, a new challenge was unleashed on the City of Galveston. Hurricane Ike struck. A Category II storm, Ike left the church buildings virtually unscathed as the storm center fell on Crystal Beach across the gulf.  However rising waters of the historic storm surge had drastic results. Over 80% of the city’s houses were flooded, downtown Galveston’s historic churches had substantial damage, including all of First Baptist property.


The church building damage was due to the 8 to 12 inches of water which destroyed carpets, pews, walls, and equipment. I f you enter the alley side door to the sanctuary there is a marker showing the water levels of the various storms. The education building and the Fickett Chapel received several feet of water that resulted in destruction on the first floor. The church met for services the following week at Carnes Funeral Home in Texas City. The church leadership began to make plans to aid the community in recovery. In three weeks, volunteers had cleaned enough debris out of the church that a group of 30 people were able to gather in the Fickett Chapel for worship. For 24 months the church met in the educational building even when there was no electricity. Volunteers from all over the state focused on Galveston’s recovery and friends of the Meador’s helped by using their influence to provide volunteers and financial assistance for the church’s recovery.


Almost all of the church’s FEMA Flood Recovery assistance was spent on just "drying out" the church; furnishings such as pews and equipment had to be discarded. Pastor Meador directed the church’s attention toward the needs of its members and of the rest of the island’s residents.

After Ike

Meeting Basic needs

The church quickly became a haven for those left without a place to worship. Other congregations were welcomed to share space, A shower and laundry ministry housed in trailers on the church parking lot provided facilities where approximately 10,000 showers were taken and 7.500 loads of laundry were washed, also on sight was a temporary medical clinic, Mercy Clinic, for those in need of medical services and   a place for individuals to obtain food, clothing, furniture, and some of life’s necessities.


These outreach ministries led by the pastor, with the assistance of countless volunteers from the congregation and from across the United States, resulted in a major change in ministry. The church’s membership grew over the months following Hurricane Ike because of the church’s emphasis on community needs. The church’s 172 year was highlighted by the ordination of eight new deacons, a tripling of the congregation's size from 2005, a completely restored church, along with a renewed outreach ministry. The Church became home base for Mission Galveston as well as for the Christian Women’s Job Corps and other church groups. Expansion continued with the addition of Angie Freyer as Director of Children’s Services and in July Rev. Nathan Mahand, as Minister for Outreach and education.

Baptist Church in Galveston Sept. 12—two years after Hurricane Ike struck Galveston Island.

While many of the faces are the same, Pastor Ray Meador said it was a different church.

  • bath and laundry service

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  • Basic

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  • Medical care

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Period of Transition and change

Secondary Title

After returning to help First Baptist Church  following Ike Ray Meadors again  left and re-retired.

  • Dr. John H. Turner

    In October of 2018.  Dr. John Turner took over as pastor.  However, the church and he did not mesh well and he left in August of 2018.  It was also during this period that Elders were elected to guide the administration of t he church.

  • List Item

    Eric Hodge was led to First Baptist Church as senior pastor in September of 2020.  He and his wife Regina came from Mount Olive Baptist Church in Crossett, Ark., where he was pastor.   His wife Regina took over the job of children’s ministry director at First Baptist Galveston .

  • AC problems

    The church needed to replace the AC system and  began that work in 2023.  Due to a number of difficulties the work has not been completed.  Due to  a lack of Air Conditioning in the Sanctuary the church moved the services and all activities to the Educational building in June of that year.  As of the time of this writing (2024/1/25) we are still meeting in the Educational building.