Winthrop Baptist Church

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Winthrop Baptist Church
One of the oldest Baptist churches in the state, this congregation started life as the Saybrook Baptist Church in 1744 (likely as a branch of the Gorton Meetinghouse of New London up to 1755). There had been Baptist contacts with the people of this area prior to 1744. In fact one of their baptism ceremonies resulted in the infamous arrest and jailing at New London of many persons who were present. Upon release from jail they returned home and quickly organized themselves into a church. In 1755 they became an independent society and then, in 1814, officially became the First Baptist Church of Saybrook. They later became known as the First Saybrook Baptist Church at Winthrop and finally, the Winthrop Baptist Church. They are the 5th oldest Baptist church in the state (and 4th among those still active). Elder Eliphalet Lester was their first pastor. This church was a very early member of the original Stonington Association in the 1770s and belonged to the Connecticut Baptist Convention as early as 1826. Backus lists them in 1784 (with Eliphalet Lester as elder) and they also appear on Asplund's List of 1790 (with Lester still elder and with 47 members).