Our History

The Beginning Steps

Wednesday evening, October 8, 1941 a group of interested persons met at Oran Roberts School for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church. Mr. A.M. Collins made a motion "that those who have letters from any Baptist Church constitute themselves into a Baptist Church." The motion was seconded and passed.

Articles of Faith and a Church Covenant were adopted, and the Rev. H.H. Stagg was elected pastor. A motion was also passed recommending that the Church apply for admission to Union Baptist Association.

There were 123 persons who constituted the charter membership of the new church and their names were attached to the minutes of the organizational meeting. The meeting was adjourned with prayer by Pastor Rev. H.H. Stagg.

Name and Future Location

At the Church Conference of October 29, 1941 a motion was made and passed that a lot on Greenbriar at Southgate be purchased. A committee was also appointed to investigate financing of a building and to prepare preliminary plans for design of a building. The committee seeking a name for the church presented three suggestions and the name Rice Temple Baptist Church was selected.

The First Building

During the first three years of existence the new church met at the Roberts Elementary School for worship services and Sunday School classes. The members desired to build a church building on the lot that had been purchased, however it was during World War II and building materials were either not available or were in short supply. Funds were also in short supply and the members pledged to buy bricks (blocks) at 50 cents each and also volunteered to do the construction labor.

There was very little steel available and used oil well drilling pipe was obtained to use as the vertical support posts. Large wooden beams were needed for the horizontal supports and new beams were not available. A few months before plans for the new building were completed, a tropical storm destroyed a county park pavilion near Galveston Bay. The materials from this destroyed structure were made available and the church was able to buy a sufficient number of wooden beams to construct the building. Much of the other wood used in the building was also used and perhaps came from the same source. The building was first occupied and dedicated on Sunday, August 6, 1944.

Sanctuary

Church growth had been steady and although an additional Educational Classroom Building had been added, there was a pressing need for a larger worship facility. The currently existing Sanctuary was completed and dedicated in 1954. After the new Sanctuary was completed, the first floor of the original building was remodeled to include permanent interior walls to create classroom space instead of relying on the folding partitions which were used during the years of dual use (worship service and classes). Also in 1954 a one story connecting building was added between the original building and the back of the new Sanctuary, which was the new location of the church offices. The new Sanctuary was air conditioned and at this time air conditioning was also added to the previously existing buildings.

Next Addition

Mr. George Smart (the Choir Director), who was also a professional architect, was asked to design an addition to the existing facilities. This addition, completed in 1963, included the Parlor, a kitchen and fellowship hall, and second floor classrooms above the fellowship hall. This was the last large addition to the facilities, however since that time several major renovations have been made to all of the existing buildings, including the interior of the Sanctuary.

Future Expansion

The church has acquired several adjoining properties and has been successful in getting the deed restrictions modified to permit future expansion of the church facilities.