The Baptist Church of Pownal Village was originally a framed edifice built in
the 1840s. That church burned, and was replaced with a stone structure with
stained glass windows in 1911.
William Miller, an evangelist visiting Bennington, advised the congregation
that the world would all end on October 22,1843, when the Second Coming would
take place. Everyone was advised to dispose of worldly goods and prepare for the
event. In some places, people put on white robes and spent the day waiting on
rooftops, haystacks and hilltops.
Pastor Miller's prophecy had little effect except that the Pownal Baptists
decided to build their new church the same year he believed the world would come
to an end. Many thought that the church was built more out of a spirit of
competition with the Methodist. An early newspaper account showed that an
annual meeting was attended by both the Baptist and the Methodist. Coincidentally
the Pownal Methodists built their new church the following year, 1844.
The Baptist Church was the home of the Pownal Library for about 80 years
until the Solomon Wright Library was built in 1966.
The church was called on once again in 1950, when the Oak Hill School was
condemned. To fill a community need, two classrooms were moved to the basement
of the church; and the Pownal Center one-room school was also utilized while
repairs were made.
Repairs and bracing of side porch walls and steps were completed in 1951 by
William E. Dailey and the Pownal Baptist Church Association.
Bertha Rhodes served as Sunday School teacher and superintendent for
many years, and Williams College students from neighboring Williamstown, MA,
conducted Vacation Bible School. Joan (Rathbun) Cannell has been the church
organist and soloist since 1957.
Jerry Frey is the present pastor of the church, which is now known as Faith