When does First Baptist have worship services?
FBC Bennington has worship services at 9:30 AM each Sunday morning. The service features traditional hymns, accompanied by a wonderful pipe organ, and the usual elements common to Protestant worship. As Baptists, we observe communion each First Sunday of the month, and we invite all baptized Christians to the Table. Several times a week, our worship services are rebroadcast on local cable (COMCAST, channel 15, aka CAT-TV, check listings).
What sort of Baptist church is First Baptist?
First Baptist is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches/USA, a mainline Protestant denomination with longtime participation in the wider ecumenical movement. American Baptists fit into just about every theological spectrum imaginable. The denomination is considered one of the most racially and ethnically diverse denominations in the United States.
As a congregational movement, each church is autonomous, hence the diversity of what you will find among our churches. Part of the "spiritual DNA" of most churches, however, is a love of the Bible, a strong commitment to religious freedom, and a strong sense of mission, whether in the locality or around the world.
How do I become a member of your church?
For a person wishing to begin life as a Christian, the pastor spends some time with you helping you understand basic understandings of what it means to follow Jesus. When one is ready to confess Jesus as Lord, you are baptized by immersion. (Baptists get their name from their historic affirmation of baptism by fully immersing the believer under water. Baptists believe that this is the New Testament's understanding of baptism.) Upon baptism, you are welcomed into the fellowship of the congregation. The church pledges to care for you and help you grow in your spiritual journey.
For a person who is already a Baptist or a baptized Christian from another tradition, we welcome you upon profession of Christian experience. No rebaptism is required. A time of learning about the church and what it means to be a member will be offered.
When do you have communion? If I am not a Baptist, may I partake with you?
Most Baptists observe communion (aka eucharist, aka the Lord's Supper) monthly. At FBC Bennington, we have communion as part of our worship on the first Sunday of each month. Our communion celebration is open to any baptized Christian.
Who are some persons that are Baptist?
Baptists claim a wide variety of persons. Historically, US Presidents Warren G. Harding, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton are Baptists. We claim Roger Williams, the "first Baptist in America" and founder of Rhode Island and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early Baptists were influential in the development of the separation between church and state. Baptists are as divergent as Harvard Divinity School's Harvey Cox to Carl FH Henry, founding editor of Christianity Today. American Baptists were the first US church to elect a woman as President of a denomination: Helen Barrett Montgomery--in 1925! We claim great theologians, preachers, social activists, and missionaries.
Indeed, American Baptists celebrate their rich heritage of saints, and First Baptist Bennington endeavours to help a few more good women and men to be good examples of what it means to be American Baptist.
Can I get married at your church?
The church's sanctuary and the chapel are available to persons wishing to be married. Please contact the church office for details: (802) 442-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What sort of educational offerings do you offer?
We provide religious education on Sunday mornings as well as Bible studies and other events for adult education are offered. Please contact the church office for more details about the upcoming schedule (or consult the newsletter).
REFLECTIONS ON AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES/USA
taken from the June 2006 Newsletter of the ABC Vermont/New Hampshire newsletter
For Reflection—by Rev. Dr. Z. Allen Abbott, ABC/VNH Executive Minister
Five years ago, then-ABC Associate General Secretary Dr. Fred Thompson inspired new members of the General Board with a sermon reminding them of our legacy. He cited the following facts.
**"American" Baptists (that’s the only kind there were in the 18th century) were the most important influence in the attaching of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
**More than any other denomination, we pioneered black education in the South after the Civil War. We invested about $300,000,000 when that was REAL money!
**By 1911, we had helped established 1100 bilingual churches, most of which eventually established their own ethnic denomination.
**We were the first denomination to begin doing campus ministry.
**It was one of our churches that began the first Vacation Bible School.
**We were the first denomination to elect a woman President, Helen Barrett Montgomery in 1922.
**Prior to 1920 over 50% of the Protestant churches west of the Mississippi were constructed with some borrowed funds from our Home Mission Board.
**At the time of the Second World War we stood with the Japanese Americans as they were put in detention camps, when that was not a popular thing to do.
**ABC pastor Walter Rauschenbusch was called the father of the Social Gospel because he was the prime mover in child labor legislation.
**Our denomination has been present at the beginning of each phase of the ecumenical movement and continues to be most supportive.
**Ours is the most effective mission program on earth. More people are won to Christ per dollar spent, per missionary sent than any other group doing mission work anywhere. That is because we pioneered indigenous leadership everywhere.
**We are the only major denomination where there is no majority of any ethnic or racial group.
Since that sermon (from 2001), American Baptists can celebrate the developing success of NEW LIFE 2010.
**Ours is the fastest-growing denomination in North America for three years running.
**Nearly 400,000 new Christians joined ABC churches since launching NEW LIFE 2010.
**Approximately 400 new ABC churches now dot the national landscape.
**The ABC social outreach response grows ever stronger in the wake of recent national disasters.
**Many ABC congregations are in renewal.
Dr. Thompson concluded his message with words still relevant to us today. “That is an illustrious history. Without the witness of American Baptists the world and this nation would suffer. God has used us in incredible ways in the past. In these in-between times the recalling of these things ought to give us faith that God will lead us into the future.”