North Baptist, 1889
In 1888, a group of twenty-nine Christians met to discuss the possibility of doing
mission work on the north side of the city of Rochester. On January 24, 1889, the
first service of North Baptist Church was held at a building known as the Clifford
Mission, located on Clifford Avenue near Joseph Avenue.
The church flourished, and after just one year at the Clifford Avenue building,
the congregation had outgrown the facilities. A parcel of land at the corner of
Avenue A and North Clinton Avenue was purchased for $4,476 in 1890, and in December
of that year, North Baptist Church moved into the new Clinton Avenue building in
an unfinished condition, but at least with ample room. The new church facility was
constructed at a cost of $5,300.
North Baptist, 1890
Following the move of North Baptist Church to Clinton Avenue and Avenue A, God’s
work continued to grow at a rapid pace. On May 1, 1939, services were held to mark
the church’s 50th anniversary. The current membership was 262; during the 50 years
of existence, 964 names had appeared on the church membership list.
On December 31, 1944, the congregation gathered to burn the mortgage and began seeking
available locations for a new church building, as once again the church was outgrowing
its current facility. In May 1946, the building committee reported that property
at St. Paul Street and Ridge Road was for sale and seemed to be a desirable location.
In October 1946, the church property at Clinton Avenue and Avenue A was sold for
$25,000. In February 1947, the church purchased the property at St. Paul and Ridge
Road for the same sum - $25,000.
On the new property on St. Paul were two large brick buildings – a spacious house,
and a building which had been used as a stable and carriage house. The men of the
church tore out the horse stalls and old interior of the carriage house and replaced
them with flooring, a platform, a baptistry and a choir loft. Above the pulpit,
Walt Brownell painted the church motto, “Christ Shall Be Magnified”, as he had also
done in the former church on Clinton Avenue.
On December 14, 1947, the last service was held at the Clinton Avenue site. One
week later, the congregation held its first service in the beautiful former carriage
house (our current Youth Ministries Building). The house on the property was used
for Sunday School classes.
Construction Begins, 1961
After just four years at the St. Paul location, the church had again outgrown its
facilities and was bursting at the seams. By June 1954, it became necessary to hold
two morning services because the church could no longer seat everyone in the small
chapel. It was apparent that, once again, a new building was needed for the growing
In January 1955, the church had the opportunity to purchase an adjacent parcel of
land (approximately seven acres) from the City of Rochester for only $3800. Although
several other organizations were vying for the property, the city chose to sell
it to North Baptist Church. The church knew that the land would provide much-needed
parking space when the new building was completed.
Cornerstone Ceremony, 1961
In June 1955, the church determined to construct a new building which, without Sunday
School rooms, would cover 10,000 square feet. After six years of praying, planning
and giving, on Wednesday, April 26, 1961, a bulldozer moved into the area to remove
the trees in preparation for the new building. The original layout was designed
to seat about 450 in the worship center and cost approximately $235,000.
Fourteen months later, the first services were held in the new sanctuary (our current
worship center). It was wonderful to once again have the entire congregation together
for the worship service. Just four years later, on June 1966, the mortgage was burned,
and a new building fund was started for an educational building.
On October 15, 1969, the congregation voted to construct the educational building.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on June 14, 1970. The completion of the educational
wing led the church to establish a Christian school. The school opened in September
1973, for grades K through 5, with four teachers and 29 students. Today the school
continues for grades Pre-K through 6, with 17 teachers and aides and 114 students
enrolled for the 2007-2008 school year.
In 1989, North Baptist Church celebrated its Centennial year. It was a year-long
celebration of the ministry that had been started with just those 29 believers,
who simply wanted to create a missions work in the North side of Rochester.
Throughout our history, God has used building expansion projects as spiritual growth opportunities for our church. In 2010, we added a significant addition, including a worship center, nurseries and classrooms. Through it all, the goal remains the same - 'to magnify God by making and developing increasingly devoted followers of Christ.'