First Baptist Church - Deaf Ministry of Knoxville, TN

510 W Main St
Knoxville TN  37902

Phone: (865) 546-9661

First Baptist Church - Deaf Ministry of Knoxville, TN

History of First Baptist Church of Knoxville - Deaf Congregation - 148 years (1868 - 2016):

In 1868, four young deaf women, domestics (maids) in the city, came to the First Baptist Church and asked to become members. They would come to worship before going to work. The church leaders accepted the four deaf women as members. Mark 7:37 said: They were completely amazed and said, “Jesus does everything well. He makes the deaf hear! And those who can’t talk he makes able to speak.” (NCV)

In 1874, twelve children from the Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) were received in the church (FBC).

Thomas L. Moses, Superintendent of the Tennessee School for the Deaf from 1887 to 1917, was a deacon of the FBC. During Dr. Ethel Poore’s time as Superintendent, religious training was provided on campus. Many students chose to as members of First Baptist Church, and with their parents’ permission were baptized at the church (FBC).

In 1922, Mrs. Laura Johnson Formwalt, a teacher at TSD, began interpreting services at the church. A Sunday School class, first called the Silent Bible Class, then called The Formwalt Bible Class, began with only seven members. It grew to a membership of over one-hundred. She was teaching and interpreting in 1922 until 1967. She served FBC for 45 years.

Rev. William Ed Davis was first Pastor as the first full-time Minister to the Deaf in September 1, 1967 until 1973. He resigned his position in 1973 to become Superintendent of Tennessee School for the Deaf.

Miss Doreen Maxfield, sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, came as a missionary in August 1973. She directed the program for the deaf under Mr. Dave Ward’s leadership. Mr. Art Nine was elected to be the director of the deaf department in 1974. There were several pulpit guests and an interim minister until 1975.

Rev. Jerry Seale was elected Assistant Minister, especially as a worker for the Deaf, on July 23, 1975. He served as Deaf Pastor in August 15, 1975 until August 15, 2008. He retired.

Rev. Greg Johannsen was Interim Pastor in August 2008 until December 31, 2008. He became Deaf Pastor on January 2009 until August 26, 2012. He retired.

Arthur Clayton was guest speaker from December 2014 to March 2015 and was named Interim Speaker in March until June 7, 2015. He has now accepted the position as Minister with the Deaf and is Director of Congregational Missions. He is our Pastor of the Deaf.


Reference: First Baptist Church Deaf Congregation - Knoxville, TN (140th Anniversary - April 5, 2008)

History about FBC Deaf Ministry of Knoxville, TN

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Parking: Street, Parking Lot

Categories: Baptist Church, Religious Center, Religious Organization

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Sun: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm



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Past Events

Bowl & Fellowship Night

Bowl & Fellowship Night
06:00 pm - 03/14/2016

At First Baptist Church - Deaf Ministry of Knoxville, TN

Bowl and fellowship night! Anita Miller (visited church last Sunday) and the folks learning sign language at First Baptist Church of Concord want to get together...

Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Eve Service
05:00 pm - 12/24/2015

At First Baptist Church - Deaf Ministry of Knoxville, TN

This service is one of the high points of the year. The doors will open at 4 pm, pre-service music will begin at 4:45 pm and our televised service will begin at...

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