SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Praise reached the rafters on Sunday as the congregation at the First Bryan Baptist Church celebrated their 232nd anniversary.
“It’s the oldest African-American Baptist church in North America,” said Reverend Christopher J. Pittman. Reverend Pittman is the pastor at First Bryan Baptist Church. "It has grown from a wooden building by a river to this edifice here.”
The church was founded in 1788. The land it sits on was purchased 5 years later by Andrew Bryan, a slave who bought his freedom and became the pastor of the church.
“We’ve also had some churches to come out of her," Pittman said. "A matter of fact, they call this the mother church because so many churches and pastors have come out of First Bryan.” The church says it even has ties back to countries in Africa.
Both church members and ministers say that Sunday’s service gives them great pride and hope for the future.
“I’ve been [coming here] almost 60 years and it gives me great pride that the church is still here and that continues to keep us that we continue to be a consistent body of believers,” said Reverand Pearl Smalls, an associate minister at the church.
Learn more about First Bryan Baptist Church here.