Corinthian Baptist Church
632 Saratoga in Newport
This article by Jim Reis was originally published in The Kentucky Post, 10 Feb 1997
Corinthian Baptist Church celebrated its 129th anniversary last July. Corinthian Baptist operated at Sixth and Columbia streets until 1892, when the church building was purchased by the George Wiedemann Brewery for $2000 for expansion of its brewery works. Church trustees used the money to buy the old First Presbyterian Church building, which was across the street at 520 Columbia. Partial records from that period indicate Rev J W Clark was hired as pastor in 1893 and that the congregation moved into its new building on June 4, 1893.
Rev C P M Bigbee became pastor on April 15, 1897. He remained as pastor until 1903. A Kentucky Post account on June 1, 1903, noted the farewell sermon of Rev Bigbee who was leaving to become a pastor of a church in Williamsburg KY. A Sunday School was organized on Dec 12, 1907. It apparently marked the first time women could be elected to some church offices. The church record, however, also notes women still were not allowed to make a motion or second on at church meetings.
Records for the next 50 years of the church appear lost, but a Kentucky Post account in June 1914 noted the church played a key role in events at Newport's Southgate Street School, which was the only Campbell County public school at the time for black students. The next major change at Corinthian came in 1956 when the Newport Board of Education went to Campbell County circuit court to force the sale of the church site at 520 Columbia for expansion of Arnold Elementary School. Church officials opposed the sale, but the court ruled in favor of the school district and on Dec 18, 1956, placed the site value at $23,500.
The congregation was forced to vacate the building immediately. Church services were held at the Newport Courthouse until a new church site was found. The site was Bailey's Grocery at the northwest corner of Seventh and Saratoga streets. The new church which is still in use, was built there in 1957. The current pastor, Rev W L Taylor, has been pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church for about 20 years and has about 150 members.
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