Tremont Temple Baptist Church has a rich history that has made it a leader in the Boston area for social justice, evangelism, and human rights. In the 1830s the struggle for social justice was seen in the fight for the abolition of slavery. The churches were at times defenders of the status quo and even charged for seating. In 1838 a group of men led by Timothy Gilbert started the Baptist Free Church. It was "free" in that there was no rent charged for pews, but more than that it was for the freedom of all people, being the first integrated church in America.
A group of 82 charter members organized the church in 1839. The basis of organizing the church was clear from the start: 1.) "Realizing our obligations, to make continued efforts to supply every human being with the privileges of Gospel, and 2.)….All who practice slavery or justify it, shall be excluded from the church and its communion." Therefore evangelism and social concern were held together right from the start. In defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law, Tremont Temple resolved that all slaves be cared for, and protected.
The present structure was completed in 1896. Three fires destroyed the church in 1852, 1879, and 1893.
Throughout its history many famous individuals spoke or performed here, including the singer Jenny Lind. Abraham Lincoln spoke here. The first reading in Boston of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 took place here. Charles Dickens read for the first time in Boston his famous Christmas Carol here. Dwight L. Moody called the church "America's pulpit."
In the 20th century Tremont Temple was famous for great preaches, including Harold Fickett, Gordon Brownville and Charles Hendricks.
Tremont Temple is now in a period of renewal. We are united in our efforts to become a church that holds together the Biblical concerns of mission and evangelism. At the same time we are concerned about mirroring the Kingdom of God and thus our concern for social justice issues.
God has blessed Tremont Temple throughout our long history. We are aware, however, that history will not save us. Rather, it is our commitment to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes our church relevant to the city of Boston. We exist for the sole purpose of glorifying God and making Christ known to the people of Boston and the surrounding area. We have always been a church that welcomes all people. We are pleased that God has places in our midst an international community. What a joy to worship with the people of God from every continent and many nations. We invite you to join us for worship and experience the warm international fellowship that we have become!