First Waughtown recognized with Church of the Year Award

Rev. Dennis Bishop, the senior pastor of First Waughtown Baptist Church, stands with Deanna Taylor as he holds up the Church of the Year Award on June 1 at The Chronicle’s 2019 Community Service Awards.

First Waughtown recognized with Church of the Year Award
June 06
01:15 2019

Waughtown Baptist Church for the Colored Race was organized by Rev. J. Pinkney with the assistance of Rev. George W. Holland of First Baptist Church. A loyal and devoted group of worshippers met in various locations until trustees Addison Jeffers, Julius Crews and Walter Clark purchased a tract of land on Waughtown Street – a brush arbor that served as the church’s first home.

Around 1903, Rev. Joyce envisioned a “bigger and better” Waughtown Baptist Church and led an aggressive capital campaign to finance a more stable meeting place. A second lot on Waughtown Street was purchased in 1907, and the congregation quickly grew into one of the largest within the Rowan Baptist Association.

On December 2, 1912, trustees Earl Hines, Jeff Traynham and Jesse Williams were authorized to sell the property on Waughtown Street and purchase a parcel of land on Moravia Street across from the Colored Baptist Orphanage where Rev. Joyce served as a trustee. The connection became a great benefit to the children’s home. In 1913, Waughtown Baptist Church opened its doors at its new location, offering the orphanage use of its facility. 

After four pastors over a 70-year span, Rev. Dennis Bishop became pastor in May 1983. 

In April of 1989, the congregation voted to change its name from Waughtown Baptist Church to First Waughtown Baptist Church to differentiate itself from the Waughtown Baptist on Waughtown Street. During Pastor Bishop’s tenure, the church established membership with the American Baptist Churches, obtained non-profit status as a corporation in September of 1993, and built the $1.9 million D. W. Bishop Full Life Center, where worship services are held today. 

After receiving the award on Saturday night, Bishop said, “I am grateful that they nominated us and they awarded us. We are just trying to do everything we can for everybody we can. I receive this award on behalf of all the pastors and churches, that were not only nominated, but throughout this whole city. 

First Waughtown is located at 838 Moravia St. For more information, please call 336-784-7386 or visit

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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