THE HISTORY AND LONGEVITY OF
THIRD BAPTIST CHURCH
AND PRESENTLY
LIGHTHOUSE INDEPENDENT BAPTIST CHURCH

TO GOD BE THE GLORY . . .
AUGUST 23, 1809 to PRESENT

 

When William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1682, there was but one Baptist in the State, a little girl by the name of Mary Davies who had come from Wales. By 1698, several Baptist churches had been organized, with First Baptist Church of Philadelphia formed that year at the corner of Second and Chestnut Streets. In February 1805, William Staughton of Burlington, New Jersey became pastor of the First Baptist Church; later to become founder of the Third Baptist Church.

Dr. Staughton was born in Coventry, England on January 4, 1770, was converted to Christ at age 17, and came to America in 1793. He preached 4 times every Sunday, the first of these services at 6 AM under an old Beech tree near Old Swede's Church in Beasely's shipyard on the Delaware River. He also preached on Tuesday evenings at Mrs. Bright's on Lombard Street, between Second and Third, and often in Carson's schoolhouse on Gaskill Street near Fourth.


On August 7, 1809 at a regular business meeting of the First Baptist Church, a letter was read from 30 members living in South Philadelphia to desire dismissal to form a new church, to become Third Baptist Church. Part of that letter was as follows, "We would not have anyone of our brethren harbor a thought that our request arises from any disaffection on our parts, nor from a wish to leave the church of which we are members, from any other consideration than the advancement of the Redeemer's interest."

 
The First Meeting Place - Second & Catherine

The first meetings were held in the home of Isaac Bacon, with 3 services, 10 AM, 3 PM, and "at early candlelight." The first Pastor of the newly organized Third Baptist Church was the John P. Peckworth. Two years later on February 23, 1811, the building at Second and Catherine was dedicated by 126 members of this young Church. Furnishings for this church were comprised of plain board benches, sanded floors, and candles for illumination with a wood stove hired for 6 months during cold weather. During his ministry, Pastor Peckworth baptized 237 persons in the Schuylkill & Delaware Rivers and received 46 into membership by transfer of letter.
 
First Building - Current Location

During the pastorate of Adam Chambers (1896-1903), property at the corner of Broad and Ritner streets was purchased: a building erected and dedicated Thanksgiving Day, 1896. With the coming of Groves Drew in 1903, 100 persons confessed Christ as Saviour in 5 months.
 
Sadly, on August 1, 1964, fire completely destroyed the church building, causing over $400,000 damage, with the congregation meeting in several locations, until December 8, 1968, the Cornerstone Ceremony took place for the rebuilding of Third Baptist Church! Architects Harold Wagoner and John Anderson, working with the contractor P. Agnes, oversaw the construction. Ground was broken on August 5, 1968 and the Church's Service of Dedication took place on September 14, 1969.
 
Second Building - Current Location

In October 1993, a merger took place between Third Baptist Church and Open Door Baptist Church, uniting the two congregations into one, with the retaining of Third Baptist Church and dissolving of Open Door Baptist Church. Due to the recommendation of Pastor Joseph Riggs of Third Baptist Church, a meeting was conducted on September 19, 1993, with Pastor Roger Hickernell of Open Door Baptist Church speaking concerning this merger. With both congregations voting, the merger was approved and on October 10, 1993, a "Marriage Ceremony" was preached by Pastor Hickernell at Third Baptist Church, with the two united congregations declaring "I Do!" to the acceptance of each other as fellow believers and fellow servants together for the cause of Christ!

Later on July 5, 1998, after the preaching of a message entitled, "A Name Identifies With An Identity", the congregation of Third Baptist Church approved the name change of Third Baptist Church to Lighthouse Independent Baptist Church. Lighthouse continues to shine forth the Light of the world, JESUS CHRIST, after 205+ years of God-blessed existence! TO GOD BE THE GLORY! GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE, AND IS STILL DOING, UNTIL HIS COMING AGAIN!
 
A Typical Sunday Morning!
 
FORMER AND PRESENT PASTORS

JOHN P. PECKWORTH: 1809-1822


WILLIAM E. ASHTON: 1823-1835

PHILANDER GILLETTE: 1836

C. B. KEYES:1837-1839

GEORGE B. HIGGINS: 1839-1841

EDWARD COVELL: 1841-1843

GREENLEAF S. WEBB: 1843-1846

GEORGE S. MILES: 1846-1851

STEPHEN REMINGTON: 1852-1854

JAMES LATHAM: 1854-1855

JARED H. PETERS: 1855-1877

WILLIAM H. SHERMER: 1877-1890

A. B. BOWSER: 1890-1892

C. S. POWELSON, 1893-1894

F. B. GRUEL: 1895

ADAM CHAMBERS: 1896-1903

GROVES W. DREW: 1903-1938

MELVIN M. FORNEY: 1939-1955

A. SCOTT HUTCHISON: 1955-1962

*BRUCE MILLS: 1962

JAMES L. LOWE: 1962-1967

F. DEL SANDERS: 1968-1974

*DR. WILLIAM HOPEWELL: 1974-1975

JOHN B. MURDOCH: 1975-1983

TERRY L. HARRIS: 1984-1985

*WILLIAM H. NEFF: 1985-1986

JOSEPH D. RIGGS: 1986-1993

ROGER W. HICKERNELL: 1993-2005

*PULPIT SUPPLY: 2006-2007

WILLIAM J . KERR: JANUARY 2008 - JANUARY 2016

CHRISTIAN PENNACHIETTI SR.: FEBRUARY 2016 - PRESENT


* INTERIM PASTOR