History of FBC from 50th Anniversary Celebration

First Baptist Church, Sparks

50th Anniversary of Service to God

July 9, 1955 to July 9, 2005

“Remembering the Past……..Preparing for the Future”


J.L. Dugger                    1955 to 1958

J.L. Dugger was the first pastor of the Temple Southern Baptist Mission and Church (now First Baptist Church, Sparks). He served from February 3, 1955 until January 5, 1958. During his pastorate the church and mission met in the Engineers' Hall and the old Methodist Church in Sparks. He had been the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Reno, resigning there on Jan 2, 1955 to start the Temple Southern Baptist Mission.

On February 3, 1955, a motion was made by First Southern Baptist Church of Reno to extend the arm of their chuch to the mission at Sparks and elected J.L. Dugger as the Temple Baptist Mission of Sparks Pastor. 

On February 6, 1955, the first worship service was held of Temple Southern Baptist Mission. The first service was held at the Engineers' Hall, 311 9th Street, Sparks, NV with 19 people present for Sunday School, 21 present for Church worship service, 6 present for Training Union and the Evening Service. The Sunday School Offering was $19.26, worship service plate offering was $3.33 and the evening offering was $1.30 for a total days offering of $23.89. Pastor Dugger's salary was $10.00 a week.


Glenn A. Gurley              1958 to 1962

Brother Glenn A. Gurley was Pastor of Temple Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church, Sparks) from April 1958 to February 1962. While Brother Gurley was Pastor of Temple Baptist Church, the congregation used the Methodist Church located at the corner of 12th and C Street in Sparks, NV. Sunday School was held at 1 PM with worship service at 2 PM. The Methodist congregation only used the building on Sunday mornings allowing Temple?s members to use the facilities on Sunday and Wednesday until the Methodist?s new building was completed.

While Pastoring Temple Baptist Church, Brother Gurley was stationed at Stead Air Force Base serving as the Base Chaplain, the base was located north of Reno. He, his wife, Esther, and two of their five children served at our church in Sparks.


Thomas L. Collins          1962 to 1963

Reverend Thomas L. Collins and his wife, Athena, moved to Sparks, Nevada in February 1962 to be the minister of Temple Baptist Church. He began his leadership at the corner of 12th and C Street in Sparks, NV. In July 1962, the church sold this property. Our church members then met in the Masonic Hall which was located on B Street across from the Sparks Nugget Casino. Under the less than two years of his leadership, the first church building of Temple Baptist Church was built. In January 1963, the ground was broken for this church building located at 1125 Stanford Way in Sparks. The first worship service was held on July 7th and on September 29, 1963, the church and grounds were dedicated during a special service.

The Lord Supper Table we use today at our church was a gift to Temple Baptist Church from the First Baptist Church of Leeds, Alabama where Brother Collins had previously pastored for 24 years. They also gave our congregation a pulpit and two pulpit chairs.


Crile Dean                       1963 to 1973

Brother Crile Dean was Pastor of Temple Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church, Sparks) from December 1963 to December 1973.  Brother Dean and his wife, Zelda, have four children, Trevie, also a pastor, Vickie, Winzona and Larry. The Dean?s son, Larry, married the late Don York and Kathyrn York Pruitt?s oldest daughter, Donna Kay.

Brother Dean served as the first president of the Nevada Baptist Fellowship and helped lay the ground work for the Nevada Baptist Convention. The Dean family and our church started the Lemmon Valley Mission now a church in Lemmon Valley. The whole family was very active with the new mission and at our church in Sparks.

Brother Dean was Temple Baptist Church?s pastor in 1970 when a two story educational building was added to the main church, located at 1125 Stanford Way in Sparks. Pastor Dean and numerous laymen erected the educational building and did a majority of the work themselves.

Brother Dean is still pastoring in California at the young age of 85. He will be at our 50th Anniversary on July 9th and 10th, 2005.


Walter A. Guillaume Jr.    1974 to 1977

Temple Baptist Church was my first church after graduating with a Master’s of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. I had pastored two churches while a student at Baylor University and Seminary. God greatly increased us in growth while in Nevada. Martha, my dear wife, and I remember going door to door in Sparks and sharing the Lord with all who would hear. I had the privilege to serve on the committee to create the Nevada State Convention.

Our son, David, fondly remembers feeding the ducks at a local park, and the great care of the preschool teachers. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia and will be married in October to a fine Christian young woman.

God continues to answer our simple prayers, which began while serving in Sparks, Nevada. “God, give us your grace to grow your Church.”


Our son, David, fondly remembers feeding the ducks at a local park, and the great care of the preschool teachers. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia and will be married in October to a fine Christian young woman.

In 1999 God brought us to First Baptist Church Wichita Falls, Texas. I am Minister of Education and Staff Coordinator. We are experiencing a year of new beginnings as we began worshipping in our new sanctuary. The first Sunday brought over 50 decisions for the Lord.

God continues to answer our simple prayers which began while serving in Sparks, Nevada. “God, give us your grace to grow your Church.”


Ronald E. Coons            1978 to 1978

Brother Ronald E. Coons and his wife, Jan, pastored  Temple Southern Baptist Church from June 4, 1978 to October 1, 1978. Before Brother Ron came to be our pastor the church was pastor-less for nine months.

Brother Ron received his BA degree from Samford University located in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated with honors from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri with a Master of Divinity Degree.

Brother Coon’s pastorates included South Park Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama; Forest Avenue Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri; Layton Baptist Chapel, Long Key, Florida;  First Baptist Church of South Miami in Miami, Florida and then Temple Baptist Church in Sparks, NV. 

Brother Ron and his wife, Jan, had two children, Julie and Joey. What a joy the children were for our congregation. Their daughter Julie grew up to be a beautiful young lady and was Miss Alabama competing in the Miss America Pageant.

Brother Ron and his wife, Jan, where musicians and singers. Jan was an experienced interpreter for the deaf and a state consultant in preschool work. Brother Ron was an Honorary Rotarian and served as Wisconsin State Jaycee Chaplain and was a member of the Minnesota/Wisconsin Southern Baptist Steering Committee.

Brother Ron is remembered for his unforgettable children’s sermons which took place each week right before his morning message to the Temple Baptist Church congregation. Brother Ron was at our church for a very short time, however, the love for his church and members is still remembered by those of us who are at First Baptist Church, Sparks.

Brother Ronald Coons is with our Lord.


Eugene Edwards             1978 to 1982

Brother Eugene Edwards and his wife, Judy, pastored  Temple Southern Baptist Church from December 24, 1978 to March 1, 1982. During his ministry our church celebrated the 25th Anniversary.

Brother Gene and his wife Judy have three children, Lee, Dawn and Glenn.  Glenn is currently attending  Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Brother Gene attended Greenville Junior College in 1968; Mars Hill College in 1970 and Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Brother Gene’s pastorates included Dial Baptist Church in Honey Grove, Texas; Ariel Baptist Church in Mullins, South Carolina; Overbrook Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina and Temple Southern Baptist Church in Sparks, Nevada.  Upon leaving Sparks, Pastor Edwards moved back to Greenville, S.C. and became the pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church.  Brother Gene is not presently pastoring a church, but is very active in his local church.

Brother Gene loved to preach about the scriptural foundation of Southern Baptists. While at Temple Baptist Church, Brother Gene was very instrumental in initiating and facilitating our Sunday School, WMU, choir and church training education.  Several members were sent to Glorieta New Mexico Baptist Conference Center for training. Brother Gene and Judy live in Greenville,


J.R. Sammons                 1982 to 1985

Brother J.R. Sammons followed Pastor Eugene Edwards as Temple Baptist Church Pastor. Brother Sammons was ordained March 4, 1959. His theology education was obtained from the Baptist Bible Institute, Moody Bible Institute, Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern University. He received his doctorate in 1979 from the Clarksville School of Theology, Clarksville, Tennessee.

Dr. Sammons and his wife Vina moved to Sparks from Oklahoma. Under Brother J.R.?s leadership our church reached out to the community by housing a preschool in our educational center at 1125 Stanford Way in Sparks. Vina Sammons was active in our Women’s Missionary Union and taught a ladies Sunday School class. Brother J.R. loved to preach and teach out of the book of Revelation. Brother Sammons and Vina left Temple Baptist Church in December 1985 to pastor the local Sun Valley Baptist Church. Brother J. R. Sammons is with our Lord.


Timothy Gregory             1986 to 1990

Pastor Tim Gregory served at Temple Baptist Church from Sept. 1, 1986 - Aug 31, 1990. Temple Baptist was the first Senior Pastor role for Tim and Susan Gregory after their graduation from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. Pastor Gregory led the church following a difficult era in Temple's history and laid a new foundation for effective ministry to flourish.

During the Gregory's ministry, God expanded the children's and youth ministries. Both Sunday School and VBS enrollment increased. The young adult and young couples ministries also thrived and Temple experienced a vibrant young adult recreation ministry. Our church hosted mission endeavors from youth groups from New Mexico and young lives were changed. The Education Building was remodeled and updated while the church became more financially stable. The church made a positive impact into the community and many adults grew in their discipleship.

During his tenure, God called Pastor Gregory as a chaplain into the Nevada Air National Guard. He stills serves in this role and has been deployed in support of Bosnia operations and for Operation Northern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom. His wife Susan has authored several publications and speaks thoughout California. Presently the Gregory's are on staff at Sonrise Church in Auburn, CA and minister to a congregation with an attendance of over 2,000 individuals.


Earl Morley                     1991 to Present

Our pastor is an evangelistic preacher and is committed to winning souls for Christ. In over 25 years in the ministry, the churches where he has been the pastor have always been near the top of their associations in baptisms. His ministry style is expository and conversational, and he enjoys preaching through the different books of the Bible.

Pastor Morley feels that Nevada is a wonderful mission field with only 13% of the population claiming to have any type of church affiliation. The Morley's feel it is refreshing to live in northern Nevada, not only because of the beautiful sky, tall mountains and cool nights, but because Nevadans are open and honest in their response to the gospel. Nevadans like truth and honesty, and that is what he has been giving them for over fifteen years with the preaching of the Word of God.


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