The History of Immanuel Baptist Church



Immanuel Baptist Church was officially organized in 1887, having been a mission of First Baptist Church for an unusually long 15 years. For the first 67 years as a full-fledged church, Immanuel's facilities were located at 17th and West End Avenues, one short mile from downtown and its founding church. By the 1950s the neighborhoods that once were the membership source for Immanuel had transitioned to commercial holdings. 

After pondering a decision to move for 31 years, Immanuel voted to relocate to its present location at 222 Belle Meade Boulevard. A large private residence and approximately seven acres of land at the corner of Belle Meade Boulevard and Honeywood Drive were purchased for $54,000. From 1951 to 1954, Sunday services were held both in Belle Meade and at the downtown site. Finally on December 19, 1954, the first of the new facilities was dedicated—an educational wing and sanctuary—and the church came together in one place for worship and study. The two-year construction on the current sanctuary was concluded in 1969.

Above and behind the baptistry is a beautiful stained-glass window nearly 24 feet high. Blue, in 14 different shades, is the dominant color. The colors are darkest at the bottom, gradually becoming lighter toward the top of the window. A cross can be discerned in the center of the window, especially when the sun is shining, thus providing the only permanent symbol of the Christian faith in the sanctuary. The window, with its resurrection motif, is a fitting backdrop for a believer's baptism and an attractive focal point of the sanctuary. It was designed and constructed in Chartres, France.

In September 2014, our community of faith adopted a vision statement that expresses our highest aspirations: "God is calling Immanuel Baptist Church to practice the radical, compassionate discipleship taught by Jesus Christ." In June 2015, our community of faith adopted a mission statement that describes how we will live into that vision statement: “The mission of Immanuel Baptist Church is to share the good news of Jesus Christ, to deepen our love for God and others, to fully engage our neighbor, and to wholeheartedly serve those on the margins of society." 

(adapted from A History of Immanuel Baptist Church, 1887-1986 by Dr. Gaye L. McGlothlen)