Organized June 28th, 1953, at First Baptist Church, Kinston, Spilman began with 121 Charter Members. Mr. and Mrs. George Greene suggested that the church be named for the Late Dr. Bernard Washington Spilman(1871-1950). Dr. Spilman was a great Sunday School leader, founder of Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly, and a long-time resident of Kinston.
Rev. Ralph Cannon was the first pastor, and services were held at his residence on N. Queen St. Other meeting places included the Park Theater, Emma Webb Park, and Capps’ Book Store. The cost of the first property, on North Queen St., was shared by First Baptist and the Baptist State Convention.
The current property on Queens Rd. was purchased and the first building dedicated in April, 1958. The classroom building was dedicated in January, 1964, and the present sanctuary was dedicated in January 1979, in conjunction with a delayed 25th Anniversary Celebration.
As a missions-minded church, Spilman is making a conscious effort to reach out to the community to share the Gospel. Beginning in 1954, Spilman Church presented its annual “Christmas gift to the community,” a living Nativity scene. During the 1970s Spilman presented Otis Spilling’s musical, “Love,” an interracial, interdenominational performance. The church is also involved in Meals-On-Wheels, and the Inter Church Out-Reach (ICOR).
The 1980s saw the establishment of Mission Outreach Emphasis and the reorganization of the Women’s Missionary Union and the Brotherhood program. Many Spilman members are past missionaries, and several are currently involved in mission efforts here and abroad. Recently, the church installed a state-of-the-art multimedia system to allow greater flexibility in its worship services.
Spilman was the operations center for KARE(Kinston Area Recovery Efforts)following Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Following the recovery efforts, Spilman’s campus became home to the First Hispanic Baptist Church which continues its ministry to Lenoir County’s Hispanic residents.
Spilman has worked with community programs such as The Gate and The Refuge, as well as Erasing the Lines. Spilman is a supporter of NC Baptist Children’s Home at Kennedy Home in Kinston.