Emerald Isle Baptist Church opens wide its door and, in the name of Jesus, bids you “Welcome.” We are thankful God led you to us.
Denomination Affiliation – We are a cooperative church with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Church Membership – You are invited to consider membership in our church. New Christians are received upon their profession of faith in Christ and become candidates for baptism by immersion. Members of other churches are received by transfer of their membership. Watchcare members are invited to join here and keep your home church membership as well. If you wish to join our church family, please talk with our pastor and come forward during our final hymn.
Our History - Emerald Isle Baptist Church was started in 1992 as a mission church. Under the leadership of Keith Hamilton, Director of Missions for the Atlantic Baptist Association, a search began for a location to house the new church for worship service. An oceanfront building near the Islander Motel was available and the first service was held there on April 12, 1992. Dr. Curt Finch was engaged as the pastor and Sharyn Oakley was employed as the music leader. Service attendance averaged around 70 people per Sunday. Although the setting was very untraditional, oceanfront on the beach in a resort area with full view of the active beach, those attending felt very welcome.
Start-up funds for the building rent, purchase of chairs and salaries were provided by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Locally, Cape Carteret Baptist Church made a monetary contribution to the church from a fund started by Mrs. Blanche Stephens as well as lending some of its members for the first few months. In September of 1992, an organizational meeting was held and the congregation voted to continue holding worship services and named the ministry Emerald Isle Baptist Church. Initially, 37 people joined the church as watchcare members. Becky Stewart became the church pianist. Debbie and Kelly Finch kept the nursery. Some of the first children to attend were Grayson Parker, Kaitlin Johns, and Julian Johns.
In January of 1995, when it looked like the oceanfront building was going to be sold or developed, it was decided to relocate the church services to the Emerald Isle Town Hall. At this new location, chairs had to be set up and taken down for each service. Missy Bell was employed as the music leader. A children’s church was started at this time and held in the Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Center located across the parking lot. Worship attendance continued to grow with an average attendance approaching 150 people. Women on Mission began to meet once a month at the home of Mrs. Jean Dollar. The Ministry Council met at the Emerald Isle Books store.
It was realized that the church was now at a crossroads and some tough decisions needed to be made. Would we continue to be a church that focused solely on Sunday morning worship or would we step out in faith and build a church of our own? During this time, the ministry committee learned that the First Baptist Church of New Bern was looking for a mission church to support. In April of 1996, a meeting was held at the local Rucker-Johns restaurant with leaders from both the New Bern church and Emerald Isle church. At this meeting, Dr. Tom Denton, pastor of New Bern First Baptist, confidently convinced those present that property could be bought and a permanent church built at Emerald Isle. The New Bern congregation contributed monies, persons and prayers to help achieve this goal. A dream of an established church built on Emerald Isle, prayed for by Mrs. Blanche Stephens and members of the Emerald Isle Baptist congregation was about to be fulfilled.
In 1996, property purchased in front of the Emerald Plantation Shopping Center. This one acre lot was purchased for $165,000 and the sanctuary was built for little over $200,000. The first worship was held in the new sanctuary in November 1997. Emerald Isle Baptist Church continued to grow in its new sanctuary with the average attendance reaching 180 per Sunday and with a combined total of almost 600 for the two services held on Easter Sunday. Church offerings grew from $22,000. in 1993 to over $122,000. in 1998.
During 1998, Dr. Henry Dollar became the associate pastor and Tracy Duncan became the music director. In May of that year, the church formally constituted with 87 charter members. Toward the end a children’s building was completed to house the childrens’ church at a cost of $42,000. In 1999 Jeff and Missy Murphy were employed to lead the music program and Dr. Colon Jackson was called to serve as co-pastor with Dr. Curt Finch. The church began to support many ministries including Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Habitat for Humanity, White Oak Ecumenical Outreach and hurricane relief throughout the state convention.
The church was blessed with a growing congregation and in 2000 began construction on an education building and fellowship hall at a cost of almost $300,000. The new additions allowed for monthly fellowship dinners and Sunday School classes to being. The offerings had now reached $175,000 and average attendance grew to over 200. In the spring of 2001, the church voted to call Rev. Bill Greene as the full-time associate pastor to concentrate on education and youth ministries. Deanie Griffin was employed as the church pianist.
Then in 2002, Dr. Curt Finch asked the church to begin looking for a full-time pastor to fulfill the church’s growing needs. He concluded his pastorate in April of 2003. Dorla Pake was employed as the church’s secretary. Dr. Marion Lark was asked to serve as interim pastor for a short period while the search for a full-time pastor was conducted. In June of 2003, Rev. Freddie Braswell was called to be the first full-time pastor of Emerald Isle Baptist Church. In the fall of that year, Wanda Braswell was asked to lead the church’s music ministry and was employed as the music director. Lisa Provatas became the church pianist and Kelly Maroules began serving as youth director. Attendance and offerings continued to grow and new ministries have been added. Under the leadership of Wanda Braswell, the adult choir has more than doubled in size and with the worship music both have become strong contributors to the Sunday services. An adult bell choir and the children’s choir have also enhanced the music program. Other contributors are Amanda Stanley who was employed at youth director in 2007 and the newly employed Katherine Wade as children’s education director in 2008.
In 2008, our church once again began construction to enlarge and enhance the work areas of the church as well as the fellowship of the congregation. We celebrated completion of our expansion with a Homecoming and Dedication service on September 28, 2008. Emerald Isle Baptist Church has become a valuable asset to the community and a vital contributor to the work of our Lord through local missions, Bible study and the sharing of the gospel.