Welcome to the First Baptist Church of South Orange!
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God…; for God is love.”
- 1 John 4:7–8 (KJV)
It has remained my heartfelt privilege to serve the congregation of First Baptist Church of South Orange. As the years have come and gone, we have experienced many changes in both our church and community. However, one thing about our ministry has remained the same; the steadfast reality of the unconditional love of God for all God’s people. Our dedication and sense of conviction that no matter where we find ourselves, no matter our personal narratives, and regardless of our struggles, failures, or successes, the giving and receiving of the love of God is and forever will be our strength as a ministry. For over 121 years, living out God’s love has afforded us the joy of ministering to the brokenhearted, sharing bread with the poor, receiving the downtrodden into our family, and welcoming all strangers as our neighbor. Nothing has derailed us from demonstrating the love of God to people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Not hate. Not politics. Not religion. Nothing has derailed our focus and mandate to love others as God has loved us.
I am proud to serve such an awesome congregation. Those rejected, labeled, abandoned, and given up on by society are welcomed by you. Thank you for helping make a difference in the lives of so many around the world. There is still much work for us to do. May we continue to be witnesses of the intense love God has for each soul matched only by intensity of God’s love for us as a society. First Baptist, we go beyond the popular practice of an introverted approach to ministry. Instead, we stand alongside our community to help raise an awareness and a voice against ills that promote all forms of discrimination and which promote hate as we stand on principles of God’s love for us all.
We are a people who chase after the presence of God through our worship, our witness, and our welcome. I am grateful God has blessed me in this season to serve as pastor to the wonderful people of First Baptist Church of South Orange. Yours is a faith grounded in love for others. Although never intrusive, your witness over the years has added to our number. You are a vessel through which others have come to experience new life. Because of you, First Baptist is a place of belonging for anyone seeking refuge, or just feeling the need to be loved.
To all my friends I have yet to meet, I you are seeking a safe place to belong don’t hesitate to join us one Sunday. I am sure you will experience a spirit of welcome expressed though our worship and the Word of God. We at First Baptist continue to invest our time and our resources in assuring our ministry reflects God’s love in Christ to “whosoever comes.” The labor of love by the good folks here at First Baptist is the core character you will find when you come. We all are recipients of God’s love towards us. I thank the Lord because I am a witness of that steadfast love in my own life. As a living witness of that love, I can testify it’s a love that it endures forever.
Reverend Dr. Terry Richardson, Sr. Pastor