In 1848, two plantation families formed a community church in Fannin, Mississippi. The original name was Pelahatchie Baptist Church, after a nearby creek. The families signed a church covenant with 16 articles of faith.
On May 7, 175 years later, First Church Fannin celebrated its founding.
The program included Congregational Minister Steve Abercrombie presenting the history of the church with slides showing photographs of the first church, the red brick chapel, and the present facility. Pastor Ron Bird, who has served the church for 20 years, reflected on his ministry there and the progress the church has experienced.
During the celebration, the church unveiled a historic marker which shares the history of the church. The marker dedication in front of the chapel was accompanied by the ringing of the original church bell and Amazing Grace being played by a bagpipe.
There were 1,100 people in attendance including Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, whose father is a member of the church.
Each member was given a memory book and the opportunity to view church records, photos and a pew from 1855 carved for the church by farm workers.
The original white wood church and steeple were built in 1855 on the present site at the intersection of County Road 471 and Church Road. The church helped organize Rankin Association in 1893.
The church built what is now known as the red brick chapel in 1947, using the floors and bell from the first building. Stained glass windows depicting the life of Christ were added.
Changes through the years
In 1870, the church gave their original name to a new church in Pelahatchie and renamed itself Fannin Baptist Church. In 1998, the church became First Baptist Church and celebrated its 150th anniversary.
The church moved into a $1.7 sanctuary in 2020 that seats 1,000 to accommodate the growing Fannin community.
The church’s cemetery and the chapel were designated as Mississippi Historic Landmarks in 2022 by Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The first burial was an unknown person with the grave dated 1843.
For more information on First Church, Fannin, visit https://www.fbcfannin.org/.