First Baptist Church of Leavenworth was started as a mission of Wenatchee Valley Baptist Church in the fall of 1954. The Wenatchee Church became interested in the Leavenworth community because residents from Leavenworth began to attend the services of the church in Wenatchee. The initial contact was by the Clifford Dunn family.
In the fall of 1954, Rev. Cecil Sims held a revival meeting in the IOOF Lodge hall in Leavenworth. Enough interested was manifested that resulted in the Wenatchee church conducting regular services in Leavenworth on Sunday afternoon.
By the summer of 1955, the congregation called Rev. Grady Young from Texas as pastor and the church was established as New Hope Baptist Church. Rev. Young led the work to grow and buy the property on which the church is now located. It was purchased from the railroad company who had vacated a right of way.
Following Pastor Young’s ministry, the church was led by…
- Harold Stevenson
- Travis Lawrence
- Everett North
- Wilby Casey
- Ken Bryant
- Orland Beard – Orland owned an orchard in Dryden and earned most of his living from that and from his wife’s teaching .
- John Holcomb
- Ed Wyatt – Ed served as an interim pastor even though he was retirement age, while the church searched for another “permanent” pastor)
- Harold Jarnigan
- Paul Henry
- Michael Brownell
Every pastor was a full time minister except Orland Beard and Paul Henry. Pastor Henry retired in February 2005 and at that time started full time leadership with the church. Most of the pastor’s wives worked either as teachers or had other jobs that provided part of the family income. Meeting the church’s financial needs was a struggle for many of its 51 years and the sacrifices that folks made and the adjustments that the church body made to survive as a fellowship seemed to draw the membership closer to each other.
Early family participants were the Dunn, Satterfield, Griffith, Thomas, Suttles, Compton, Whaley, and Farrimond.
The church building and property has been completely upgraded and remodeled under the leadership of the current pastor, Paul Henry. It was under Pastor Henry’s leadership that the name was changed to the First Baptist Church of Leavenworth. In October 2014, Pastor Paul Henry retired turning the leadership over to our current Pastor Michael Brownell.