"I love the house where You live, O Lord" Psalm 26:8
The Elizabeth Baptist Church was organized in 1791, and since that time the goal was to point the community to the saving love of Jesus Christ. The church was started by a small group of believers in a town that was just getting established itself. The church was a log building and was the first religious society in the Elizabeth community.
In 1842 we were known as the Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ and we were a branch of the Salem Baptist Church located seven miles east of Elizabeth. At that time, we became affiliated with the Pittsburgh Association, and were organized with 68 members.
During the Civil War era, the church was at times without a pastor and members dwindled. About this time the congregation bought a small building on Second Street. From 1867 to 1878 the membership doubled under Rev. J. K. Cramer’s pastorate. Over the next ten year period, the church had several additional pastors. A split occurred in 1882 and 28 members left and organized a church in a nearby community. Then the church needed strong Christian leadership and in 1889 they asked Rev. Cramer to again serve the church. The membership grew and then needed a larger house of worship. The old church was torn down to make way for a new stately church of brick. The Elizabeth Planing Mill built the new church for a cost of $5,690. It was dedicated for worship on July 24, 1892. The new church thrived and expanded steadily during the long successful pastorate of Rev. Cramer. This pastor was on the job from the time it was started until it was finished. And the church thrived over the years.
In 1923 Miss Anna Wall donated a plot of ground to be used for the building of the parsonage. It was built by the Elizabeth Planing Mill for a cost of $9,306 including the garage and some house furnishings. In 1942 the church celebrated 100 years of ministry in the community of Elizabeth.
In May 1961 the church was becoming more difficult to accommodate the growing congregation, costly restorations were needed, and the church was hemmed in by the Elizabeth Bridge and the railroad tracks. In June of 1962, the congregation took a leap of faith and voted to purchase the present property where our current church now sits for $25,400. Lots of hard work from the members went into this project. They sacrificed their time and finances, and with God’s help, were able to make this present building a reality. The total cost of the building and furnishings was $250,000 with a $140,000 mortgage. Our old church building on Second Avenue was sold for $6,000. We kept all the personal property including light fixtures, tables, chairs, pews, stove, etc.
The ground breaking began in 1964 and the dedication of our new church building was on September 26, 1965. On May 23, 1985, after 20 years in our new building, the final mortgage payment of $3,524 was made.
Our Bicentennial Celebration was held on October 17–20, 1991 celebrating 200 years of faith and ministry in this community. Our 50th Building Anniversary was celebrated on September 20, 2015. Eight ministers have pastored in our present church building. A total of 35 ministers have served the church over a period of 225 years.
What started as a small congregation worshipping in a log cabin in 1791, to our beautiful building today, is proof that God has shown his faithfulness to His people and to this community. The Elizabeth Baptist Church has been a church home to many dedicated hardworking, Bible believing people who do the work of the Lord. We praise God for His love and steadfast support.