Rev. Richard Henry Emerson was the one person most responsible for the organization of the Free Will Baptist Church in Sulphur, Oklahoma. Born in Texas in 1862 Brother Emerson came to Sulphur in 1917. He did not begin his preaching ministry until he was past 50 years of age, but continued to preach until his death in 1930. Records indicated that on February 27, 1921 a meeting was held to organize the Free Will Baptist Church of Christ. Rev. Emerson was elected as chairman and pastor. After official steps were implemented for formal organization, an invitation was extended for members. There were 13 charter members received that day.
The original church building was a white frame building located at our present site that underwent several name changes and building renovations over the years. Around 1949 the church name was changed to First Free Will Baptist Church. In 1950 a new 36 x 76 brick sanctuary was erected and the old building was remodeled into an educational building. In 1986 the church auditorium was renovated and the old educational building was replaced with the present one. Trying to meet the need of the growing congregation, the church built a 450 seat sanctuary and dedicated it on October 5, 2003, converting the old sanctuary into a fellowship hall. Realizing the need for more space for it’s youth ministry, the church dedicated it’s 7200 square foot Youth Building on August 26 of 2012. In October of 2018, the church began a major remodel of it’s Fellowship Hall (the old sanctuary). The remodeled Fellowship Hall will seat 160 comfortably, have a commercial kitchen and new audio/video equipment to host church events and services. The church hopes to add a worship space addition to the youth building in the coming years.
Since 1921, the church has had only twenty pastors; all but two have gone on to glory. We are proud of our heritage and look forward to God’s blessings in the future!