First Baptist to get facelift
Pastor Michael Robinson inherited more than the oldest black Baptist church in High Point when he became pastor at First Baptist Church in 2010. He also inherited the structural problem in the sanctuary.
“The sanctuary is in very bad condition and has been prior to me becoming pastor,” Robinson said. “The east wall is leaning and I immediately moved service to the fellowship hall downstairs.”
First Baptist, originally named High Point Baptist Church, was opened in 1871 and was the first black Baptist church within 25 miles of High Point. The church was first located on Perry Street and was erected on Washington Street in 1907. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Although the church was remodeled in the 1950s, the east wall is part of the original construction.
Robinson said that he consulted structural engineers that did a report and offered temporary solutions but he insisted that the church needed a permanent fix.
“I went to city hall and met with the city manager, the assistant city manager and the inspector and gave them the report and invited them out to look at the sanctuary,” Robinson said. “The city then put a sign on the door condemning the sanctuary, not the entire church.”
“The city is not tearing down First Baptist,” he said.
However, the sanctuary of the church is coming down and the church will “take advantage of all the land we own on Washington Street.”
In addition to architects and structural engineers, Robinson said that High Point University administrators Nido Qubein, Don Scarborough and Ron Guerra have been instrumental to getting the church the attention it needs.
“We plan to build a senior center because our seniors haven’t received as much attention as they should, and we are going to bring back a sanctuary to fit 800 parishoners,” Robinson said.
He also said a gym for the young members will be put on the property.
“We have a very dynamic vision,” he said. “We are still alive, still kicking and having service every Sunday.”