As early as November 1849, a number of Baptists led by Rev. John Cook organized themselves into a church or society but having no "under-shepherd to lead and instruct" them, they soon disbanded. This early organization is mentioned in the first Sacramento City directory published in 1851. After completing the organization of First Baptist Church of San Francisco and First Baptist Church of San Jose (now called Church on the Hill), the Rev. O.C. Wheeler organized The First Baptist Church of Sacramento.
On September 14, 1850, the First Baptist Church of Sacramento was organized with 16 members. The meeting took place in Sacramento Judge E. J. Willis' home on H Street between Sixth and seventh Street.
A very commendable action of our church is deserving of mention in our History. "Prejudice on account of pro-slavery and anti-slavery was running high in California; some of the more hot-headed members of the church openly declared they would not fellowship with anyone who held views antagonistic to their own on the subject." The action of the church in response was so consistently Christian and effective that it is worthy to mention to the praise of the church. On September 2, 1856, a Resolution was declared and passed:
"Resolved: That this church will fellowship any brother or sister in Christ without regard to the place of birth,
whether they were born in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West; in the countries of the Old World, or Isles of the Ocean, and be it further Resolved: That in the calling, retaining or settlement of pastors for this church, no geographical divisions whatever shall guide or influence us In the selection of men who are called to proclaim the glorious Gospel of the Son of God."
In 2016, the church elected its 29th pastor, Rev. Lamar J. Pringle – the church's first African American pastor. He led the congregation until 2020 when he stepped aside to allow R. Joshua Whitton (Josh) to take the lead as senior pastor. Josh, a native of Pensacola, Fla., moved to Sacramento in 2017 and became the Collective's pastor in December 2020.
While much has changed in the church's 170 history, one thing remains true: this body is a forward-thinking group who remain focused on creating spaces of belonging for everyone.
PASTOR & EXEC. DIRECTOR
Josh was born in Pensacola, Florida and moved to Sacramento in 2017 while consulting for a global data analytics firm.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of West Florida, a Master of Arts in education from University of Phoenix, a Master of Arts in English and strategic writing from Liberty University, and is completing a Ph.D. in Psychology.
Josh grew up in Calvary Baptist Church, in Pensacola, and served as a staff accompanist and minister of music and later moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he was a member of Avondale United Methodist Church.
Having spent much of his career in retail marketing, he brings a diverse background in communications, marketing, and writing to his ministry at Midtown Collective.
As the 30th Senior Pastor of Midtown Collective, he is also the Collective's first openly gay pastor. With a passion for bringing groups together who support diversity and inclusion while learning how to make sense of the Bible today, he seeks to build bridges and remind everyone we are all God's creation.
Join us as we create spaces of belonging for everyone.