Early History

In the fall of 1903, about fifty Baptists resided in the Elmer area who were "without the blessed influence” of a church home. A number of Baptists  began congregating to hold “divine services” on each Sabbath with the first meeting being held on October 18, 1903.

On April 17, 1904, under the direction of Rev. W. W. Bullock of Bridgeton, the fellowship declared themselves a “regular Baptist Church” which would “carry out the purposes of said organization for the glory of God; the salvation of the lost and the preaching of the gospel in all lands.” At a motion by Dr. W. C. Lummis, one of the original twenty seven members received by baptism or experience, the name of the church became the First Baptist Church of Elmer, New Jersey.

After conferring with the Advisory Committee of the West New Jersey Baptist Association in Atlantic City in May, delegates from each church in the WNJBA were invited to Garrison’s Hall, opposite the railroad station, to recognize First Baptist of Elmer as an independent church. Weekly cottage prayer meetings were established from the church’s conception, and increased interest in the church was attributed to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The first regular business meeting of the congregation was held May 1, 1904. Later that month, on May 29, Brother Bullock baptized Emma Wiltsee, Mrs. Lizzie Wiltsee and Lester McAllister at the Elmer Lake, a service witnessed by 500-600 people.

Rev. W. S. Skinner of Woodstown answered the call to pastor the new church at a salary of $500 per year. In the fall of 1904, the ladies organized the Baptist Workers to raise money for a lot and church building. John Cobb became pastor in March, 1905 and the church was incorporated on May 9, 1905.

Elmer Times, May 12, 1905

Elmer Times, May 19, 1905

Ground was broken in December of the same year and within four months, meetings were being held in the new building, which was dedicated May 27, 1906.

Later History

For the first forty years of its existence, the church struggled financially and attendance reached a dangerously low ebb on several occasions. This trend changed until C. LeRoy Shumaker became pastor in 1949.

The State Street parsonage was put up for sale, and the David Miller property next to the church on Broad Street was purchased for $6300.

A decision was made towards the end of 1949 to discontinue the making of pledges at each anniversary service, and by faith, give what was necessary to meet church expenses. It was then that the second Sunday of each month was designated as Missions Sunday, that offering being set aside for missions – an amount totaling about $40 in 1949.

After finding that several churches in the Association denied the deity of Christ, a resolution was adopted, withdrawing Elmer Baptist from that organization in February, 1953.

The church building was damaged by hurricane Dianne in 1955, and soon after that, a  basement educational wing was added.

In 1962, the present buildings were reconditioned and an office for the Pastor added to the parsonage.

A Building Committee was appointed in 1969 to plan extensive changes in the physical plant. The sanctuary was extended to seat 312 instead of 165. Beneath the new sanctuary, a fellowship hall, kitchen, furnace room, storage area and additional Sunday School classroom were added. An educational wing over the existing basement was built with five large classrooms. A foyer across the rear of the sanctuary, hot water baseboard heating system; refurbishing of the nursery and air conditioning of the sanctuary completed the project. During construction, which ran just over $93,000, services were held in the Elmer School.

In 2002, 31 acres were purchased for the purpose of building a new church plant.

Pastors of FBC-Elmer

  1. John F. Cobb (1904)

  2. S. H. Copeland 1909)

  3. H. R. Lamb (1910)

  4. E. E. Hall (1912)

  5. George W. Owen (1914)

  6. Philip S. Miller (1920)

  7. Ollie M. Moore (1926)

  8. Authur Foster (1927)

  9. Stanley L. Nodder (1928)

  10. Gustaf L. Linstead (1931)

  11. Robert E. Crawford (1935)

  12. John Brookins (1938)

  13. Carmault Jackson (1940)

  14. C. LeRoy Shumaker (1949)

  15. Gordon Sanders (1961)

  16. George L. Nichols Jr. (1965)

  17. Richard Clark (1967)

  18. Frank Jones (1969)

  19. Paul Hornung (1973)

  20. Richard Jones (1999)