First Baptist Church of Poughkeepsie


A Short History of The First Baptist Church of Poughkeepsie.

The year was 1807 when a group of Christians formed a new church in Poughkeepsie.  Its name was The First Baptist Church of Christ.

 A plot of land was donated to them on Mill Street where a one-story wooden building was constructed.   The congregation grew and moved to Lafayette Street until a new house of worship could be built.  The year was 1872 and membership was 353. 

Plans for a new building were accepted in 1874 and the cornerstone was laid in 1875 for a new gothic-style building on Mill Street complete with bell tower, stained glass windows, and black walnut interior.  The church flourished during the coming years.  Soon repairs and maintenance expenses added up and dissention occurred between the pastor and the congregation.  The pastor and about 125 members left to form the Tabernacle Baptist Church.   Those who remained at Mill Street became known as The First Baptist Church of Poughkeepsie to avoid confusion.  The Mill Street site went through ups and downs for about 30 years.  There was even a thought of joining with the Congregationalists across the street. 

In the mid 1940's Reverend Earl and Rose Spencer joined as pastor and wife.  About the same time IBM Poughkeepsie opened.  These two events were a great boost to the church.  New programs were started, new decorating inside took place, and IBM brought people to church.  By the 50's and 60's every corner was filled.  A new education building was constructed in 1956.  In 1962, Kurt and Lois Klingbiel became pastor and wife.  Church maintenance began to deplete funds.  In 1966 FBC sponsored the Community Baptist Church in Wappingers Falls.  Eighteen members left to form the new church.

From the end of the 1970's to the turn of the century much decline fell upon Poughkeepsie.  IBM moved many away.  With fewer people and more bills, what was First Baptist to do?  For a number of years the church rented out space to other churches, housed AA meetings, and had a full time daycare facility to offset bills.  Even the parsonage was rented out.

After the year 2000,  many discussions were held as to what to do, sell or stay?  It was decided to stay.  By 2012, the topic of selling was revisited when we had a buyer.  By 2013 the building was sold.  At  least the building would be used as a place of worship.  The members wished to stay in Poughkeepsie.  After several locations were researched, a little wooden church on the corner of Forbus and South Cherry Streets seemed a good fit.  Under the leadership of Reverend Christopher Boyd, members old and young moved out of the building of 175 years over Mother's Day weekend.  One of our founding fathers was John Forbus.  The street to which we sit is named in his honor.  Isn't it fitting that we have relocated on his street?  The congregation is pleased with its new home, and welcomes guests of all ages.