It was only three years after slavery was abolished in the United States that the First Baptist Church, 508 Apple St., Burlington, was formed. This weekend, First Baptist will celebrate 150 years of ministry.

The Revs. Harry Cowan and Lewis Gibson established the church in 1868. Today, it still has descendants of another founding member, Spencer Thomas.

The Rev. Walter Hodge was installed as the first pastor in 1868. With growth, First Baptist birthed a number of other churches that are still active: First Baptist Church of Graham, Browns Summit Baptist Church, Locust Grove Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Gibsonville, and in Rockingham County, Elm Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Jones Chapel Church.

The church has had 20 pastors since its beginning. The longest-serving was the late Dr. Richard Wayne Styles, who served for 37½ years, 1973–2010. The current pastor, Dr. Dray Bland, preached his first sermon Aug. 25, 2013, and was installed as pastor Oct. 13, 2013.

The church plans a Sesquicentennial Gala at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel in Greensboro. The musical guest will be recording artist Bishop Marvin Sapp, as well as Caleb Serrano, 8. Sunday will be Homecoming at the church, with Dr. Warren Stewart, lead pastor at First Institutional Baptist Church, Phoenix.