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SBC Life Articles

Welcome to Baltimore, SBC


Baltimore's Inner Harbor

View of Baltimore's Inner Harbor taken from Federal Point. Photos courtesy of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.

"Oh say, can you see" all the exciting opportunities you'll encounter when you come to Baltimore?

This colorful and delightfully diverse "city of neighborhoods" has a rich history—from the birthplace of our national anthem to the home of the Southern Baptist Convention's beloved Annie Armstrong. This is one place you won't want to miss.

Historical Legacy

The largest city in Maryland and the twenty-sixth largest city in the country, Baltimore is known for its beautiful Inner Harbor; quirky, distinct neighborhoods; unique museums; and the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital and University.

Water Taxi

Water Taxi at Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Named for Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert) in the Irish House of Lords, Baltimore settled in the early seventeenth century. In the early 1800s, Baltimore grew to be the second largest port of entry to the US, after Ellis Island.

The city went on to play a crucial role in the War of 1812 when soldiers, stationed at Fort McHenry, successfully held off a British attack on Baltimore. That victory for Baltimore was commemorated in a poem by Francis Scott Key and is now our national anthem.

Over time, Baltimore evolved from port city to steel town to modern cultural center. Traces of history remain throughout: onboard the USS Constellation, the last all-sail warship still afloat in the United States, among other historical maritime vessels and ships; in the Baltimore Civil War Museum; and in the awe-inspiring architecture of old churches and quaint row-home-lined streets.

Things To Do

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum, and The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum celebrate the amazing journey of African Americans in Maryland and across the country.

Inner Harbor

Paddle boats within Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Sports enthusiasts will love the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum as well as the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, featuring exhibits on the Baltimore Orioles, Colts, Ravens, and Blast; Orioles Hall of Fame; Negro League teams; and the Preakness, the second race of horse racing's Triple Crown.

Travel buffs will enjoy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum, considered to be the birthplace of American railroading. In 1829, Baltimore businessmen, surveyors, and engineers began laying this first commercial long-distance track, building the first passenger station and inventing America’s unique railroad.

Religious History

Steamed crabs

Baltimore and steamed crabs go hand in hand. The city is world famous for its Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs and offers a variety of seafood restaurants throughout the town.

Baltimore is also the place of origin for a variety of religious expressions. Many denominations, including the Quakers (1785) and the African Methodist Episcopal (1817), had their first general meetings here in Baltimore, while other denominations built their first congregations here: the Methodists (1784); the United Brethren (1785); the first Catholic diocese in the US (1789); and even the first independent Unitarian church (1817).

Maryland became one of nine states represented at the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845, and Baltimore pastor Richard Fuller preached the Convention's first annual sermon for the June 1846 SBC meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1888, Annie Armstrong of Baltimore was named first corresponding secretary of WMU, which was headquartered in Baltimore. In 1895, the first WMU Home Missions Offering, a precursor to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering© for the North American Mission Board, was taken.

Miss Annie's work among mothers, immigrants, the underprivileged, the sick, African Americans, Indians, and later in her life, her Jewish neighbors, remain a long example of a mission focus in this special city. And despite fervent efforts of past and present pastors and churches throughout Baltimore, 42 percent of the population presently is unaffiliated with any religious body.

Pervasive Lostness

According to NAMB's Center for Missional Research, there are more than 2.7 million people who live in metro Baltimore. Yet within this same area, there are only 206 active Southern Baptist congregations, leaving just one Southern Baptist church to every 13,248 people.

Little Italy

Flower boxes adorn windows of historic buildings in the Little Italy neighborhood located in the heart of downtown Baltimore between the Inner Harbor and Fell's Point. Little Italy offers almost thirty dining options and is just a short walk from the Inner Harbor.

Accordingly, in recent years, NAMB has supported ministry through Embrace Baltimore, a Strategic City Focus emphasis, and now Send Baltimore, one of many cities of focus in Send North America.

As you visit our beloved Baltimore, we invite you to join in the footsteps of Miss Annie and untold others to pray for Baltimore's churches and the very important city in which they serve.

Hop aboard the Charm City Circulator, a free bus service that connects you to Baltimore's hot spots, and pray for the vast number of people you see on the city streets. Ride across the Inner Harbor on the scenic Water Taxi, and ask God to take ownership of this bustling port, ushering in new ways to connect with those who live and visit here.

Take in the enticing sights, sounds, and scents at Baltimore's public markets, such as Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, Lexington Market near the Hippodrome Theatre, and the Broadway Market in Fell's Point. Ask God to reveal Himself to each person you encounter as you experience the collision of the past and the present.

Get a panoramic view from Federal Hill Park, taking on the stance of Jesus, who prayed over Jerusalem. From this key location you can view the expansive Inner Harbor and get a sense of Baltimore's great advance, but also the great work still to be done.

Perhaps Miss Annie said it best: "The future lies all before us . . . shall it only be a slight advance upon what we usually do? Ought it not to be a bound, a leap forward, to altitudes of endeavor and success undreamed of before?"

Your time and your prayers for Baltimore are vital to a great advance in God's Kingdom. Join us!

 

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker
    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United. Read All by Shannon Baker ›