A fixture in the Waxahachie community for more than a century and a half, First Baptist Church will celebrate moving to new facilities Sunday, March 3, with a full day of worship, Bible study, food, games, ribbon cutting and a gospel music concert.
The day’s activities at the new location on the U. S. Highway 287 Bypass between FM 813 and Broadhead Road begin at 9 a.m. with a classic worship service, followed by Bible study at 10:15 and a contemporary worship service at 11:15.
Food and ice cream trucks will dispense a variety of goodies from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and a variety of games for all ages and inflatables for the younger people will be available.
Celebration of moving into the new building will be marked at 5 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Special guests will include representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Madison Construction Company, Citizens National Bank, Waxahachie City Council, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Dallas Baptist University, Baptist General Convention of Texas and Ellis Baptist Association.
Capping the celebration at 6 p.m. will be a concert by the Foto Sisters, “a nationally acclaimed trio of amazingly talented siblings with a heart for ministry and service through music,” said Chett Haynes, minister of music at FBC.
“You will be inspired, encouraged and uplifted by these incredible sisters,” he said. “Join us for this delightful multigenerational event.”
First Baptist Church was launched by 12 people on March 17, 1861, and has been a center of worship in the Waxahachie community for almost 158 years, growing and outgrowing several buildings along the way, most of them at 318 N. Rogers Street near the downtown area of the city.
The church moved to the new location in mid-December and has experienced steady growth.
“It has been exciting each week to see new faces God has brought our way,” said Pastor David Ritsema, the 12th minister to lead the church. He came to FBC from Austin in 2013. “Every week since we have moved to the new campus, God has led new members to join our church. We have added more than 40 new members this year. Praise the Lord!”
An increasing number of children are using the state-of-the-art facilities in the new children’s area, directed by Children’s Minister Lauren Young and a host of volunteers, and a steadily growing stream of young people are engaging in Bible study, worship and activities led by Youth Minister Jeff Ross.
Through the years, FBC ministers and members have placed strong emphasis on worship and evangelism and missions. The church has been instrumental in starting many new churches in Ellis Baptist Associations and in Texas and around the world, including Guatemala and Estonia.
FBC was one of the sponsors of the Cowboy Church of Ellis County.
Ritsema noted that the Missions Team currently is focusing on making a difference in the lives of needy children in the community.
“Through our partnerships locally, in Texas, and internationally, a portion of every dollar given by our members is helping make a difference. This kind of ministry is what James, the brother of Jesus, called ‘pure religion’ in James 1:17.”