Our History

In the late 1920's, the fire of Pentecost reached Orange, TX. A great tent revival was held, with traveling evangelists that lasted four weeks. During the first baptismal service, 11 were baptized in the Sabine river. In the summer of 1921, the first organized congregation was established with a brush arbor meeting place on Division Street. From 1923-1926, the congregation held services at 602 Border St. in tents. In 1926, the land was purchased there and the first building was erected, known as the "swayback tabernacle", with a tarpaper roof and sawdust floors. Eventually, a wood framed building replaced the tarpaper one, with wooden floors. The church was then known as "The Gospel Lighthouse". Around 1939, under the Pastorate of Rev. Fulton Calvert, the congregation moved into a larger building made of cinder blocks and stucco, on the same property. The steeple on the new building resembled a lighthouse. In 1946, Rev. J.H. Stanton became Pastor and in 1949, purchased property at 801 Border Street. A new church building was constructed on this land. The congregation moved to this building in 1950, where they worshipped for the next 26 years. Rev. Timonthy Creel pastored the church from 1956-1958, and saw to it the main auditorium was air conditioned. Rev. Fred Foster was elected Pastor in 1958, and the church took on a remodeled look with pink brick and an annex building was added. The parsonage at 452 Gardenia was also constructed in 1959. When Rev. Fred Foster and his family left in 1963 to become President of Texas Bible College, Rev. & Mrs. W.E. Gamblin were elected. With wisdom and anointing, Bro. Gamblin led the church into greater heights. In the forthcoming years, the church experienced growth and revival. In 1975, the church began a building program at 3406 Edgar Brown Drive and the groundbreaking service was held in September of that year. The congregation moved into the new building in 1976, furnished with burnt orange pews and large crystal chandeliers. Rev. W.E. Gamblin pastored the church for 27 years and touched many lives in the Orange community. He retired as Pastor in 1990, but continued to evangelize until he was 88. He served as Pastor Emeritus until the Lord called him home in 2005. In 1990, Rev. David Fauss was elected, and in 1995 the church successfully redesigned and remodeled the interior of the church, adding staircases to the inside sanctuary, new pews, and new carpeting. In 1998, God called Rev. & Mrs. Gary Wheeler and their family to Pastor at First Church. Bro. & Sis. Wheeler have been and continue to be an inspiration and a blessing to the Orange congregation and community. First Church of Orange has been blessed to have had great men in year past who pastored and labored faithfully for the Lord. Through their leadership and untiring efforts, the Lord has blessed and is still blessing our assembly. To find out more about the history of the Orange church, former Pastors, and pioneer families, a church History and Heritage Book published in 2007 is available for purchase by contacting the church.