By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
First Baptist celebrates 100 years of faith
Members of the First Baptist Church stand in front of the first church built in 1909. There are 37 members. - photo by Photo Contributed
From generation to generation, the First Baptist Church in Turlock has carried people through the past 100 years in three different buildings and under 16 different pastors.  
The First Baptist Church was opened in 1909 by three men who wanted a place to gather people in the Turlock area to spread the word of God. Five months after they founded the church, there were a total of 36 members.  Today there is a total of 175 members.  
First Baptist has many events planned to celebrate their 100 years together as a church. Usually, there is just one birthday party but not for the First Baptist Church. It is a year-long celebration.  
“The church has been here a long time, almost as long as Turlock has been here,” said pastor Richard Reichert. “There is a lot of history here and it motivates us to continue to be God’s church.”    
About 75 years ago, First Baptist member Lois Davis joined the church without even knowing it. Her mom was going to the church when Davis was still growing in her stomach. She has been a member ever since, making her the longest member attending the church.    
The pastor still talks about how she was born in the church and never left.  
“I didn’t want to leave the Arc,” Davis said, referring to the church. “Those animals were too nice.”
Davis is an example of the church’s year-long theme of “Generation to Generation” celebrating 100 years. Her family started attending the church four generations ago. It started with her great aunt and uncle, then her mother joined, and herself and now her son.  
In May, the church held a celebration dinner and featured First Baptist’s history.
“Each event is fun, but the sit down dinner gave us a chance to look at the past and our heritage then look forward to our legacy and move on from there,” Reichert said.  
Today, they are hosting an all church picnic with a barbecue lunch, a waterslide, games and prizes. First Baptist is also launching the new ministry year at the picnic. The day will start off with the regular morning service and be followed with food and games. They plan on closing down Laurel Street for their big celebration.  
First Baptist’s celebration year will be wrapped up at the annual Christmas parade in Turlock where they plan on entering a float acknowledging their 100 year anniversary.  
Typically, a church is known for a special service they offer or a special program, but the First Baptist Church is known as the healing church, Reichert said. People that are emotionally damaged gravitate toward the church to be healed, he said.
Recently, First Baptist expanded their outreach to the homeless community. They are the home of the Turlock Gospel Mission, a faith-based organization that provides daily meals and winter housing for local homeless families.
To contact Maegan Martens e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.