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Ornate window transom, photo by Pete Rienhard

First Baptist Church in America, Stewardship Award

The extensive exterior restoration of First Baptist Church in America completed last year exemplifies the consummate stewardship demonstrated over the years by the church’s administration and congregation, currently led by Rev Dr. Dan Ivins. Since it was built in 1775, the First Baptist Church has had a dominant presence in the Providence community and on the city’s skyline. The structure is a nationally significant landmark both as an exemplar of the finest in Colonial American ecclesiastical design, and as an enduring symbol of religious freedom. Ensuring that this iconic house of worship will continue to withstand the test of time takes enormous amounts of care and dedication on the part of the building’s stewards; fortunately, there are people like historian Dr. Stanley Lemons who devote their time and energy to not only preserving the building but sharing its fascinating history with others.

The recent exterior restoration by E.F. O’Donnell and Sons was conducted under the guidance of architect Cornelis J. De Boer of Haynes/De Boer Associates. The restoration was chaired by church member Bill Miller and funded by the Mary Mason Campbell Fund. The ongoing fire code improvements have been partially funded by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. With its fresh coat of paint, new Benefit Street retaining wall, and repaired clock, the First Baptist Church stands as a testament to the commitment of the church administration and congregation to their historic home.