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Our History

In May 1975, the Watts Chapel congregation returned to its new sanctuary, rebuilt at a cost of approximately $130,000. New pews, carpeting, separate lounges for the men and women, a new public address system, a baptismal pool, and cement walkways were part of the significant upgrade.

In September 1976, Watts commemorated its centennial year with the Dedication of the Church and the Laying of the Cornerstone. The number of ministries continued to grow and the church membership increased at a tremendous rate. Sunday morning Worship services were held every week. A church bus and van were purchased and an outside bulletin board was built in front of the church. The Senior Choir, the Male Chorus, the Young Adult Choir and the F.B. Weaver Gospel Choir provided musical ministry and the Young Adult Missionary Circle was organized.

In 1977, the first Church Library opened. The Rosettes Choir, originally a community choir that had included members from St. John A.M.E. Church, became another Watts Chapel choir.  

From 1978 through 1988, Watts Chapel received tremendous blessings. In 1978, the church opened its first nursery. Reverend Mrs. Frances Matthews and Reverend Henry Strickland were ordained in 1981. Other ministers licensed or ordained during this period included Reverend Henry Edmonds, Reverend Terry Thomas, Reverend Bennie Bryant, and Reverend Chester Debnam, Jr. In 1983, a new Christian Education Building was built. New auxiliaries were organized including the Laymen’s League and the Hospitality, Recreation, Helping Hand, and Tutorial Ministries. The Deaconess Board was reorganized and the first Christian Education Forum was held. A Boy Scout Troop and a Cub Scout Pack were organized. A Youth Committee was organized, primarily for the purpose of teaching young people to preside during youth service on third Sundays. The first church newsletter was published in 1984. In 1986, the second Christian Education Building Wing was completed and named for the pastor, Reverend Dr. Frank B. Weaver. The first Evangelistic Service was held on July 17, 1988, with Dr. Gregory Headen, the President of Shaw Divinity School, as the speaker. Watts’ first Evangelistic Radio Ministry began that same year.

The church continued to prosper throughout the next decade. On Sunday, May 19, 1991, the Dedication of the Christian Education Building and Improved Grounds and Facilities, the Burning of the Sanctuary Mortgage, and the 115th Church Anniversary were all celebrated in one glorious service of praise and thanksgiving. In October 1992, the church hired its first full-time secretary. A handicap-accessible van was purchased in 1993. This van was primarily used to transport the elderly and disabled to church, but also to doctor appointments, and for occasional shopping. In 1994, two classrooms, an audiovisual room, and a new baptismal pool were added. The choir loft was enlarged. In 1995, Watts Chapel purchased approximately 48 acres of land with plans to build a new sanctuary. In February 1998, Watts observed its first Race Relations Day. A new 800-seat sanctuary wing with several classrooms, a media center, and large male and female bathrooms was built in 1999. Boy Scout Troop 253 was reactivated. Reverend C. Wayne Glenn was ordained in a special service.

The year 2000 brought the Dedication of the New Sanctuary Building. For the first time ever, Watts Chapel hosted the General Baptist State Convention. Also, Watts activated Cub Scout Pack 253 and Girl Scout Troop 797.

On August 31, 2001, Reverend Dr. Frank B. Weaver retired from Watts Chapel Baptist Church after 34 years of faithful and dedicated service.

On September 9, 2001, Watts Chapel celebrated its 125th Church Anniversary and Homecoming Service. This was a time of great praise and thanksgiving to God for the growth and progress in the life of our church.