The council consisted of 11 men and women, ministers and laymen from Middletown Church and Holmdel Church (then called Second Middletown). The council unanimously approved the establishment of a Baptist church and designating August 7 as the date of formal recognition. The church was called the “First Baptist Church of Shrewsbury, located at Red Bank.”
The cornerstone for the first structure was laid on October 15, 1846 on a lot on the river side of West Front Street at approximately the location of Riverside Park today. The building was completed and dedicated on July 17, 1849. Baptisms were held in the river until 1876 when a baptistry was added to the building.
With church membership approaching 500, a new, larger site was sought and located “way out of town” on Maple Avenue. It was dedicated on April 17, 1893 and cost $33,000 to complete. The old edifice on West Front Street was sold to the Calvary Baptist Church and moved to Bridge Avenue.
A parsonage was built next to the church in 1911. That building now contains the church offices. The name of the church officially changed to “First Baptist Church of Red Bank, NJ” December 1, 1920. A large educational wing was added in 1951 to meet the demands of a growing church.
Every organization with a history as long as FBC has a famous (or infamous) story. We close with ours. It concerns the church’s extraordinary Pilcher pipe organ dedicated on October 16, 1932. It seems the temptation to abscond with the organ funds raised during the depth of the Great Depression was too great for the Treasurer, and he and the money both vanished. But as such situations often do, it also provided for the goodness of many to shine through, and the monies were soon raised once again.