In the early winter of 1892, God put into the heart and mind of the Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Rev. Thomas J. Cross, the need of a mission or Sunday School in the lower part of the city.
On Sunday, December 4, 1892, Pastor Cross' ambition was realized. A Mission Sunday School of the First Baptist Church was organized at the home of Joshua H. Brown, 6 North Mississippi Avenue, by Pastor Cross.
The records show that on Thursday evening, April 13th, 1893, a building which had been purchased from the Ascension P.E. Church, by Dr. A.W. Bailey and presented by him to the Mission, was formally opened and dedicated.
On April 1, 1894, the first Preacher was called to the Mission, Mr. Edward O. Wilson, s student from the South Jersey Institute, who occupied the pulpit on Sunday, while attending the Institute.
On January 9th, 1900, the Mission, with the authority and consent of the parent church, took action and organized itself into an independent Baptist Church and adopted the name of Bethany Baptist Church. The Pastor, Rev. S. K. Braun, called the meeting to order.
Monday, April 30th, 1900, a Council of Baptist Churches of the Camden Association, recommended that the Bethany Baptist Church be recognized as an independent Baptist church.
On February 5th, 1901, at a business meeting of the Church, it was decided to purchase a lot on Atlantic Avenue, between Brighton and Morris Avenues, the lot upon which the present church is erected.
March 31st, 1901, Rev. S. K. Braun resigned after several years of faithful service.
April 18th, 1901, it was decided to move the church building to the newly acquired lot.
Rev. H.C. Downing was called to pastor on May 10th, 1901 and served for 1 year.
May 2, 1902, Rev. Edward E. Tyson was called and resigned after 4 years.
For several months the Church was without a pastor, students supplied the pulpit on Sundays and the work held together by the few faithful.
Sometime during the early part of 1909, Rev. J. Herbert Bunyea was called to supply the pulpit on Sundays and on July 16th, 1909, he was called to become the pastor. At this same meeting it was unanimously decided to change the name of the Church from Bethany Baptist to Chelsea Baptist Church.
Pastor Bunyea resigned in January 1910, having done his part in helping onward the movement.
Rev. Robert Morris Rabb was elected Pastor on October 12th, 1910, and resigned on September 24, 1911.
On October 26th, 1910, Church action was taken to proceed to re-incorporate under the new name which been previously chosen, "Chelsea Baptist Church". Construction work began in the spring of 1911 and the cornerstone was laid on June 11, 1911.
During the summer and fall, services were held in the old chapel which had been moved to the rear of the lot.
On Sunday, November 25th, 1911, the opening services of the new building were conducted. Rev. Thomas J. Cross was a speaker and was pastor elect of the Chelsea Baptist Church. He accepted and began his ministry at once and preached his first sermon on December 2, 1911 through September 1, 1929.
In October, 1916, a contract was signed for the new building of the Church.
The building is a worthy monument to Architect Vivan B. Smithm Builder- Frank J. Pedrick and the members of the Trustee Board.
Sunday, June 24th, 1917, will be held in memory of the Church as the greatest day of its history, for on this day, we entered our new "Church Home", a place that is truly a house of "Worship and Work".
Chelsea Baptist Church History
Chelsea's Past and Present Pastors
Rev. Thomas J. Cross- Dec. 2, 1911 - Sept 1, 1929
IRev. David Ottis Fuller - Oct. 22, 1929 -Oct. 31, 1934
Rev. Clarence E. Mason- Dec. 31, 1934 - Oct. 1, 1946
Rev. Douglas C. Christen - Nov. 10, 1946 - Sept 5, 1948
Rev. Cyril G. Collison -Feb. 9, 1949 - Nov. 9, 1958
IRev. Earl L. Leiby - Jan. 1, 1959 - July 10, 1962
Rev. James E. Wescott- Interim Pastor - 1965-1970
Rev. Earl L. Leiby - Dec. 1, 1970 - May 1, 1973
Rev. Daniel M. Cassell - Nov. 3, 1973 -Sept 13, 2009
Rev. Thomas B. Weer - Jan. 3, 2010 - Present
(Rev. Thomas Weer - 1981-1986- Assistant Pastor