Welcome to First Baptist Church

A Progressive, Welcoming and Affirming Baptist Church

An LGBT Friendly Church

Christian Family Education for all Ages

Office Hours: Monday - Thursday, 10 AM - 1 PM

The Community Read at First Baptist -- Starting October 23, 2016

First Baptist Church is joining the New Jim Crow Community Read! During adult education this Fall, Leslie Schultz and Louise Mudrak will facilitate Adult Education classes focusing on the book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. We will meet on October 23, 30, November 6, 20, 27, and December 4, immediately following the worship service at 11:15 am. Our time together will include prayer, consideration of related scripture, discussion of the book, exercises, and discernment about FBC's interest and role in changing our current system of mass incarceration, and the healing and support of those who have lived in that system.

These classes are open to the public, so please feel free to invite folks who you think would be interested to join us. Although we bring a Christian perspective to this, people from all spiritual and faith traditions are welcome, and will be encouraged to share their own faith perspectives. Please consider joining us for this series.

We are excited to gather together to discern, once again, those words from Micah 6:8 -- What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. We will have free books to distribute each Sunday through October 23; books also are available at the Multicultural Resource Center (at Tompkins County Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY) or can be borrowed from the Tompkins County Public Library.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander, is the definitive academic/legal account of the contemporary system of mass incarceration. In Alexander's words, mass incarceration is a "stunningly comprehensive and well disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow" -- the system of legalized segregation, discrimination and violence that operated from the late 1800s Reconstruction Period to the mid 1960s Civil Rights Era. That system has largely faded from public consciousness, but Alexander's book demonstrates how, in the current era of colorblindness, mass incarceration constitutes a New Jim Crow, creating a racialized second class citizenry around the label "criminal." Mass incarceration, like earlier systems of racial control (slavery and Jim Crow), will change only as the result of mass social movements for racial justice.

Since March, the Community Read has brought together more than 30 community organizations to develop a plan to study, and ultimately take action, to confront mass incarceration, one of the United States' most urgent and devastating social crises. The Community Book Read project, which will last from September 2016 to April 2017, will consist of free films and community events based on chapter themes as well as Book Groups -- one of which will be this activity at First Baptist. More information about the Community Read is available at the Multicultural Resource Center website.

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~ Who We Are ~ `

First Baptist Church of Ithaca is located in the center of the vibrant city of Ithaca, NY (a city of more than 30,000 people). Although in a city location off of Dewitt Park, our members come from both downtown and rural locations more than 25 miles from the church. Those members are willing to travel the distance because of the uniqueness and values found at First Baptist of Ithaca. We are an old established church. Our identity is marked by our shared values for social justice and diversity. Our church is a member of the American Baptist Churches USA, in the Rochester-Genesee Region. We belong to the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB).

We strongly believe that everyone is invited to the table and made to feel welcome there. We don’t just talk the talk. Our church reaches out to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)community and is respectful and considerate in language and actions towards one another. This is important to us. We value diversity and warmly welcome people of any culture, race, or economic background into our church. Our present population includes retirees, single parent families, blended families, foster/adoptive families, and college students. We are seeking to increase our membership with young and old alike.

Like good Ithacans, we pride ourselves in our environmental consciousness and activism. The church has solar panels to offset our energy use. We compost and recycle. We bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store. We use biodegradable materials and are attempting to eliminate landfill waste. We emphasize fair trade products. We have an earth-awareness Sunday once a month and we have a "green" page in our monthly newsletter. At our monthly dish-to-pass lunch (second Sunday) one can find at the table vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes alongside some traditional favorites. Many of us drive hybrid cars, bike, walk, or use public transportation. We garden organically and participate in community-supported agriculture. We also participate as a church in environmental groups such as the Interfaith Climate Action Network (ICAN) and environmental activities in our community.

Our strengths are many but a few especially stand out:

We are a richly musical family. We are blessed by our organist and our choir director who are both very talented and very creative in their musical approach and repertoire. Our congregation includes members who teach music, play in community bands, and sing in community choruses. First Baptist proudly has its own Christian folk band who often play some of their original pieces. The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers and The Ithaca Gay Men’s Chorus periodically provide special music for us on Sunday, as do student musicians from the local colleges and local artists.

Another unique strength is that in our modestly-sized congregation, there are a half-dozen retired clergy who choose First Baptist as their home church but serve in other organizations. These individuals graciously offer themselves for pastoral duties such as visitation and organizational leadership.

First Baptist plays an important role in our community. Our members participate in advocacy groups such as SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and the Tompkins County Workers' Center. We regularly make lunches for the local homeless shelter and volunteer at a food pantry. Given our central location, our building host to many groups such as a Sufi meditation group, a mindfulness meditation group, the Sacred Harp Singers, and a post-traumatic stress disorder group.

We are an active congregation that wishes to grow and has so much to offer.

Sunday Worship     10:00 AM
Coffee/Fellowship 11:15 AM
Church Classes       11:30 AM

No Adult Education on the second Sunday of each month due to our community breakfast.
Worship services are family-friendly and nursery care is also available.


What does the Lord require of you?
To do Justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
~Micah 6:8~