I have been with you, as your interim pastor, for one month now. I have enjoyed being with you in worship and experiencing your strengths as a congregation and as individuals. I have enjoyed getting to know many of you individually and in groups. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you would like an opportunity to connect with me.
Thank you to everyone for your generous and warm welcome.
First, let me share a little about myself. I retired after 40+ years of ministry with 4 American Baptist churches in New York State in December, 2015. My wife and I continue to live in Fayetteville where we own our home. After 1 1⁄2 years of visiting other churches and listening to other people preach, traveling and exploring other interests, I felt energy to preach again and work with a church. When I was asked if I might consider being an interim pastor in Hamilton, it felt like a right fit and a call from God.
Over the last year, my wife, Rosey and I have become involved in a church in the Syracuse area. While I serve as your interim pastor, Rosey continues to be involved in the church in Syracuse. On Sunday, July 2nd, Rosey joined me in worship at FBC, as did my oldest son Ben (a Colgate grad) and his wife Maya who were visiting us from Baltimore. My younger son, Nate and his wife Danielle live and work in Boston.
The church leaders and I have agreed that I will be considered 3⁄4 time as your pastor. I will be in Hamilton two weekdays each week and Sunday mornings. I will prepare for worship and preaching from home. Our goals for my ministry are to be available to respond to pastoral care needs, maintain solid worship and preaching, and work with the congregation and leadership to be ready to call and begin work with a settled pastor.
During these summer months, my goal is to get to know you as individuals and to better understand the story of First Baptist. What are the strengths and opportunities you have as a church? What are the challenges you are facing as a congregation?
Monday, August 14 thru Friday, August 18, I will attend the second week of training with the Interim Ministry Network in Baltimore. I will explore methods that have been helpful to other churches in gaining clarity about both the present and God’s future.
This fall, we will work together to better understand FBC’s current reality and discover paths toward the future.
I am excited about the work ahead of us. Some of the work will be difficult, some of it will be fun, some of it will be both. Always, the work will be energizing and life-giving when we recognize the plans God has for our future.
Your energized and hopeful Pastor,
First Baptist Church
27 Broad Street, Hamilton, NY 13346 315-824-2780
American Baptist Churches USA American Baptist Churches of New York State
We invite you to come and join us
as we Grow with God in the Heart of Community.
A Message from Pastor Leon Oaks-Lee (2017)
From "Announcer," the Church's Newsletter
A Message from Pastor Wesley Smith (Retired)
Dear Friends of First Baptist Church
I think you would agree that each of us feels privileged to be given the opportunity to be a part of something that has a positive impact on others. It is my belief that God is giving us such an opportunity through our ministry theme: "Growing with God in the Heart of Community."
Since 1796, God, through First Baptist Church, has been calling and raising up committed disciples to go out and serve in the name of Jesus Christ. Several have gone out with the Gospel to other lands, particularly to India. Others, including Harry Emmerson Fosdick have heard the call to full-time pastoral ministry from the sanctuary of our historic Church.
Today, at First Baptist, individuals are growing with God via our dynamic community of faith though Sunday worship, excellence in music, Children and Adult Sunday School, Adult mid-week Faith Builders, Youth Group, Christian Women's Fellowship, Prayer-Chain Ministry, and Vacation Bible School . . . to name some of our growth opportunities.
The members of First Baptist are always seeking to expand our outreach. A leading congregation in mission-giving in Central New York, First Baptist seeks to be a Church for others. Currently 13 community groups utilize our building. All of our programs are open to the community. Our members volunteer in the following ways: Food Distribution at Madison Baptist Church, Friendship Inn, and Hamilton Food Cupboard, Worn Again Clothing Assistance, Deacon's Fund Emergency Response, and the "One Great Hour of Sharing" Disaster Relief Fund.
First Baptist Church continues to this day to be a beacon of hope to all of God's children in this community and beyond.
Welcome to First Baptist Church, Hamilton.
See you Sunday!
- Pastor Wesley Smith