In 1818, the same year work was begun on the Erie Canal and just one year after the village of Rochesterville (population 800) was incorporated, twelve men and women met in a small schoolhouse in Brighton to organize a Baptist church. The church had no pastor and no meeting house other than the old Court House and then a ballroom over the stable of the Clinton House Inn. The first regular pastor, Brother Eleazer Savage, was hired in 1823. In 1827 the congregation called Dr. O.C. Comstock, a member of the United States Congress, converted and ordained in Washington, D.C., to be minister. That same year the First Baptist Church of Rochester was incorporated.
Finally, in 1828, the congregation purchased a wooden structure on the west side of the Genesee River, just in time for the increase in membership brought about by a city-wide revival led by Charles G. Finney which added 150 by baptism and 53 by letter to build the membership to 373. The structure which had been the first church (Presbyterian) built in Rochesterville was too small for that size congregation, so some members were given letters of dismissal to establish the Second Baptist Church (now Baptist Temple) on the east side of the river. In this way five churches were founded by the First Baptist Church.
In 1834, with the pastorate of Dr. Pharcellus Church, the need for a new building became evident. Land was purchased on Fitzhugh Street, a stone building erected, dedicated in 1840, and fully completed and dedicated in 1877. It would be our church home for over 100 years. In 1950 the building and land were sold, property purchased, once again in Brighton, and the present church home was dedicated in 1953.
A founding church of the University of Rochester and Rochester Theological Seminary (now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School), the First Baptist Church of Rochester has always been active in the work of regional Baptists, in the ecumenical life of greater Rochester, and in world-wide mission.