The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church at 1100 Park Avenue in Bridgeport was built in 1911 as B’nai Israel Synagogue. First organized in 1855 and incorporated in 1859 as an Orthodox synagogue by Jews from Germany, B’nai Israel is oldest Jewish congregation in Bridgeport and the third oldest in Connecticut. By the time the Park Avenue Temple was built in 1911, the congregation had moved from Orthodox to Reform Judaism. The building was designed by Leonard Asheim with a Craftsman-style interior featuring natural wood finishes. In 1958, the congregation moved to a new building, at 2710 Park Avenue.
The church was organized on May 5th, 1859, at the residence of John L. Burbank, on South Main street. Mr. and Mrs. Burbank were deeply interested in their church, and their home was bequeathed by them for a Baptist parsonage, nearly forty years after the church was organized within its walls. [. . .] The Rev. L. D. Gowen was chosen pastor at this meeting and the first services were held in Smith’s Hall, which is now Tilly’s carriage factory, on May 22, 1859. [. . .] A temporary place of worship called the Baptist Tabernacle was completed shortly before Mr. Fagan’s advent as pastor of the church [in 1861]. That building is now occupied by William Podmore, on North Main street, on the site of the present church edifice [built in 1885], on West avenue. [. . .]
The 1885 church building burned on February 2, 1936. Instead of rebuilding on the same West Avenue site, which had become a business area, parishioners decided to rebuild at 105 East Avenue and the church’s name was changed from the South Norwalk Baptist Church to the Community Baptist Church. The cornerstone was laid April 11, 1937 and the first service was offered October 17, 1937.
The Shailer family of Haddam comprised a large portion of the membership of the Baptist Church that formed in 1792 and built a church on the south side of what was then called the Middlesex Turnpike in 1822. A new and larger church was built across the street in 1833, at what is now 1338 Saybrook Road in Haddam. The church closed its doors in 1907 and has since been used for other purposes, including a pottery studio and residence.
Some embers of a former strife blazed up again when in 1838 some Baptists from Wallingford proposed to establish a church of that faith in Branford. There was opposition as soon as they sought a site for a building. For a time they worshipped in private houses. Their first public baptism was held in the river near Neck Bridge in 1838, and naturally attracted a crowd. Finally the town fathers kindly consented to let the new brethren build on the site of the old whipping post on the green, and there they did in 1840. The building was improved in 1866, and still serves the people.
The village of North Stonington in the Town of North Stonington was developed in the nineteenth century as a mill village and was called Milltown. Inspired by the evangelism Jabez S. Swan, first pastor of the Huntington Street Baptist Church in New London, a group of Milltown residents gathered at the home of Samuel Chapman to form a Baptist church on December 25, 1828. It was the Third Baptist Church in North Stonington, following the First Baptist Church (formed in 1743) and the Second Baptist Church (formed in 1765). The Third Baptist Church initially held its services in private homes and in the District #2 Schoolhouse. Its membership grew and a church, called the Milltown Baptist Meeting House, was built in 1833 at what is now 29 Main Street on land donated by Mrs. Stephen Avery, widow of Stephen Avery. North Stonington’s Fourth Baptist Church, also known as the Laurel Glen Chapel, was dismantled in 1940 and attached to the rear of the Third Baptist Church.
The Second Baptist Church of Suffield was established in 1805 by members of the First Baptist Church. The original wooden church was replaced by a brick Greek Revival edifice in 1840, located at 100 North Main Street. The church was designed by local architect Henry Sykes, who had trained under Chauncey Shepherd of Springfield and Ithiel Town of New Haven. Additions were made to the church in 1953 and 1959.
The Baptist Church in Lyme was established in 1752 and the first meeting house was built in 1754 on Meetinghouse Hill. By the later eighteenth century, membership in the church had grown to point that Baptists outnumbered Congregationalists in the parish. Repairs were made to the meeting house in 1788 and in 1804 the building was plastered for the first time. Originally known as the Lyme Baptist Church, the name was changed around 1810 to the “First Baptist Church of Lyme” after a second Baptist Church was formed in town. In 1839, when the area containing the church became part of the new town of East Lyme, the church became the First Baptist Church of East Lyme. A separate Baptist church in Niantic (part of East Lyme) was formed in 1842. By that time, demographic changes had resulted in the meeting house no longer being as centrally located as it had once been. With new churches established in Niantic and Old Lyme, the First Baptist Church moved to the village of Flanders in East Lyme, completing enough of the new meeting house to make the transfer from Meetinghouse Hill to Flanders in the spring of 1843. The old meeting house was taken down and sold for lumber to help pay for construction of the new building. A parsonage was built next door in 1879. The church has been known as the Flanders Baptist and Community Church since 1929.