March Newsletter

Pioneer Faith

On March 29, 1869, a group of hardy pioneers gathered together to organize a Baptist church in the newly minted town of Atlantic, Iowa. There were nine constituent members: Perry Disbrow, Clarissa Disbrow, Hannah Disbrow, T.C. Livingston, Simon Smith, Lucy A. Smith, Alice Cavenaugh, E.A. Armentrout, and Fannie Lea. Perry Disbrow was chosen to serve as the sole deacon of the church, and T.C. Livingston was chosen as clerk. The tiny congregation was guided by a Baptist missionary named the Rev. C.C. Baird.

Those determined Baptists gathered again on April 24. Rev. Baird called the meeting to order with prayer. The Council of the Iowa Baptist Association—which had been formed in 1839—had ascertained the reason for organizing a church in Atlantic, and they had examined the Atlantic group’s Articles of Faith and Covenant. After their deliberation, the Council was ready to recognize this gathering as a fully organized church. And so, the First Regular Missionary Baptist Church of Atlantic, Iowa, was born.

It is amazing to contemplate the courage of those pioneers as they acted in faith. They didn’t know whether their efforts would pan out or flame out. But I believe they were driven by hope. They looked ahead to an unknown future, just like Abraham and the saints who had gone before them, and continued walking by faith.

Ollie Schwedemann, in his centennial history of our congregation, reflected on the founding of our church and our town. A city “is not built of brick and stone,” he observed. “It is built of the ideals, the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrow, the toil, privations and sacrifices of its inhabitants. It is an embodiment of the type of citizens that dominate it. Pioneer trails did not lead through paths of ease. In seeking for the principles which actuated these achievements of the past one hundred years, they seem to stand out distinctly in the annals of the past; an unswerving faith; an unfailing loyalty; belief in the town, in its possibilities and opportunities, and the courage to act on that belief; and persistence to meet and overcome obstacles. These are the qualities which breathe into ideals the breath of life and imbue them with energy and power” (pp. 7-8).

To which I add, “Amen.” And such has been the history of this church. Forged out of the ideals and faithfulness of those who have come before us, First Baptist Church continues to walk face forward, scanning the horizon for the unshakable hope we have in Jesus Christ our Savior.

So happy birthday, First Baptist Church! And to many more!

Pastor Ray

Prayer Chain

We are revamping the way we alert people to pray. There are two groups of people: those who wish to be contacted by text message and those who wish to be called. When a request comes in, Pastor Ray (or whoever is available) will send out a group text message with the details. Then he will call the first person on the call list; that person will pass the message long down the line. REMEMBER: When you receive a prayer request, write down the request right away! Don’t wait till you hang up; you may be interrupted or forget. Pray RIGHT AWAY. Prayer chain requests are urgent. A brief word of prayer when you receive the call will start the prayer coverage immediately and will help you remember to continue to pray later. Also, if you are calling on the chain, call RIGHT AWAY. If the person you are to call is not available, leave a message and the call the next person on the list. If you would like your name added, removed, or moved to a different spot, let Vicki Brown know.

If you have a prayer request, please alert Pastor Ray (250-1607) or leave a message at the church office (243-4651).

Happy Birthday, FBC!

Happy birthday to us. This year FBC is celebrating 150 years of worshiping and serving Jesus Christ. On Sunday, March 31, our congregation will gather at 10:30 for a special worship service, including a visit from the Rev. Gary Martin, our associate region minister. Following worship, we will have a special potluck lunch, including birthday cake. Please bring something to share. This celebration is intended for the whole community, so please invite friends, family, and former members to celebrate with us.

Daylight Saving Time

Don’t forget to “spring forward”! Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday, March 10. If you forget, you’ll be strolling in to the sanctuary just as we’re finishing up!

The Lenten Journey

Many Christians around the world observe Lent, a 40-day period of preparation before Easter. This year FBC has been invited to participate in a traveling, ecumenical Lenten celebration with other churches in Atlantic. Please prayerfully consider participating in the larger Christian community in our town. Every week, a meal will be served by the host church at 6:00; then the gathered group will share in a worship service at 7:00. Here is the schedule:

March 13

  • Host: First United Methodist
  • Preacher: Fr. Chinna Devaraj

March 20

  • Host: First United Presbyterian
  • Preacher: Dean McPherson

March 27

  • Host: Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic
  • Preacher: Rachelle McCalla

April 3

  • Host: St. Paul’s Lutheran
  • Preacher: Ray McCalla

April 10

  • Host: First Baptist
  • Preacher: Grant Van Lishout

Maundy Thursday

We will gather in our sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. on Maundy Thursday for a special service of Communion and remembering Jesus’ last supper. The Presbyterian-Baptist handbell choir will also be playing during the service. If you would like to play in the handbell choir, please contact Pastor Ray.

Sunday School

Join us for Sunday school every Sunday morning at 9:30. There is no shortage of fellowship and coffee! During April we will start a study on heaven (based on Randy Alcorn’s work). Don’t miss out! Oh, and by the way, sometimes we even have donuts!

Diaconate Meeting

The deacons will gather after worship on Sunday, March 10.

American Baptist Women

ABWM will gather on Wednesday, March 20, at 1:30 p.m.


(Baptist-United Methodist-Presbyterian Youth)

BUMPY will not meet like usual during Lent. Instead, youth are encouraged to attend the ecumenical gatherings with their families.

Camp is Coming!

Summer camp has the potential to impact a young person’s life and eternity! Dayton Oaks Camp, one of our ABC camps in Iowa, is offering some terrific camps this summer. Visit to learn more and to register. FBC also offers scholarships to help cover the cost of attending.

Welcome to Our Newest Members!

On February 10, Sharen and Lynnette Herrick were welcomed by our deacons as members of First Baptist Church. Please welcome them into our fellowship! And if you would like to join our fellowship officially, please visit with Pastor Ray or one of our deacons.

The Cass County Choral Society

CCCS is gearing up for a spring-summer show. The production will be Thursday and Friday, June 6 and 7, at 7:00 p.m. at the Atlantic Middle School. If you would like to sing, rehearsals are Sunday afternoons from 2:00-3:00 at Heritage House, beginning March 3 (NOTE: We will not meet on Easter or Memorial Day weekend.). Visit for updates.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Our church has gained some new attenders, and that’s terrific! If you or someone you know would like to receive this newsletter or be included in our birthday and wedding anniversary list, please let us know: You can also always read our newsletter online:

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