Five Mile Baptist Church is thought to be the longest surviving work in Allegany, NY. In 1823, its first religious service was held at the home of James Strong. It was conducted by Baptist Benjamin Cole, who came to America as a soldier in Lord Howe’s army and later defected as a colonist. In 1848, Robert Wilber and James Hitchcock deeded land to build a church building. At that time, the congregation was a combination of the Christian and Baptist denominations. In 1857, the two officially joined together as the Union Church and in 1859 built a wooden edifice to meet in. The church building was evenly split between the Allegany and Humphrey border with members sitting on their respective sides.
Over the years the church became predominantly Baptist in its doctrine and practice. In 1872 it re-organized as a Regular Baptist Church and officially became known as the First Baptist Church of the Five Mile. Reverend W. P. Oman served as its first pastor. The church building burned down in 1920 and was rebuilt on the original foundation that same year. The rebuilt church is located on Church Rd. and can be seen today as a private residence next to the Five Mile Cemetery, which is still in active use.
In 1974, the church purchased property at the corner of Five Mile Rd and Morgan Hollow. Construction of a new building was completed in 1978. As a fitting ending to this brief history summary, the property that the Five Mile Baptist Church building presently sits on was originally owned by James Strong. Almost two centuries later, the church sits where it originally began in 1823.
The most amazing feature about the church’s history is that after 195 years the gospel, the good news of the saving work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is still being preached. Jesus Christ willing gave His life on the cross as the only acceptable payment to God for our sins. While some things may change over the years, the Bible is God’s Word to mankind, and its truth can never be changed to accommodate popular thought about God.
Today, Five Mile Baptist church is recognized as a conservative, independent, Baptist church. We hold to historic orthodoxy with a commitment to the defense of gospel doctrines essential to true Christianity, and our church is governed by its members, not an association or hierarchy, with the Bible as its final authority.
While the term “Baptist” can mean different things to different people, both positively and negatively, we consider ourselves Baptist because we hold to those truths of Scripture that have historically defined the Baptist denomination.
- Authority of the Bible: The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
- Autonomy of the local church: Each local church governs itself.
- Priesthood of the believer: Every Christian has the privilege of coming directly to God through His Son,Jesus Christ.
- Soul liberty: Every person has the freedom to study the Bible and to come to settled conclusions about the truth that it teaches, without being coerced.
- Two ordinances – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper symbolize truths concerning God’s saving grace, and the church is responsible for the administration of these ordinances.
- Saved, baptized church membership: Membership is limited to those who give a genuine testimony of personal faith in the saving work of Christ and have identified with Him in baptism by immersion.
- Two offices: The Bible demands that the church recognize two offices: pastor and deacon.
- Separation of church and state: God established both the church and the civil government while mandating that neither should control the other.
WHY WE EXIST
Five Mile Baptist Church exists to glorify God by making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ from all people groups, through the preaching, teaching, and sharing of God’s Word (both corporately and individually), through the power of the Spirit, and under the authority of the local church, all within the context of God’s sovereignty, and with the goal of establishing reproducing churches everywhere.
TRUTHS THAT GUIDE WHAT WE DO
- God’s glory: overarching desire that defines everything we do
- Discipleship: making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ
- Evangelism: the outreaching work of discipleship in which we proclaim the gospel to the world
- Unity: the desired result of studying the Word of God together and understanding its truths
- Prayer: our vital resource in acknowledging our dependence on God for everything
- Love: the atmosphere in which everything is to be done