Our History

History of Craigs Baptist Church

Craigs Baptist Church has a long and meaningful history.  Originally dubbed the “Upper Spotsylvania Church”, Craigs Church was founded in 1767, and was the first Baptist church between the James and Rappahannock Rivers. It came to be known as “Craigs Church” after the first pastor, Lewis Craig, took office in 1770.

In the early days of Craigs Church, it was illegal to preach the gospel without a license from the Anglican church. Lewis Craig was once pulled from the pulpit by the county sheriff for preaching without a license. At various times, Lewis Craig was jailed in Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Bowling Green and Tappahannock.  It is said that while they were imprisoned in Fredericksburg, Lewis Craig and Nathaniel Saunders preached to crowds through the jail windows and many were converted through this ministry.

In 1781, Lewis Craig and a large number of church members – along with many others from the community – packed up their belongings and moved to Kentucky. Craig had heard about the excesses of the “frontier” and wanted to establish a church there to reach the frontier regions.  Thus began a movement that came to be known as “The Travelling Church”.  The Travelling Church was perhaps less an organized church and more of a travelling band of disciples – some church members and some simply pilgrims seeking a better life in Kentucky.

The exodus of church members and pastor that took place in 1781 took its toll on Craigs Church. For some time, the church had to give up their constitution as a church. In 1783, the church was re-constituted after visiting ministers, leading meetings and ministering to the members helped to increase the membership of the church.

Craigs Baptist Church moved to their current location and facilities in 1912.  The advent of the automobile, and the condition of the road to the original site made this move a necessity, as the original location was on a road that was impassible by automobile.  A special dedication service was held with many guest ministers, and in the afternoon an offering was taken that allowed the church to be dedicated debt-free.