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150 Years: Civil War Hospital to High-Definition Broadcast
By Jeaneane Payne

first baptist church broadcast volunteers
First Baptist Church Broadcast Volunteers: (L-R) Ned Russell, Marion Carter, and Brad Bittle

In its early years, First Baptist Church of Knoxville served as a Civil War hospital for wounded soldiers. On Sunday, August 7, 2011, the church's televised worship service will be broadcast in high definition.

In 2009 the church made significant updates to its Worship Center with the installation of a new organ and an upgrade of its broadcast system with new technology and equipment. Now viewers can receive a much clearer reception of the Sunday morning service.

The transition to a high definition broadcast is the next step in providing a way for viewers in East Tennessee to worship God and connect with a family of faith. "For 36 years, First Baptist has been the Christian broadcast home for thousands of people across East Tennessee. This upgrade represents our continuing commitment to the community to give our best to share the good news to the glory of God," said Dr. Bill Shiell, Senior Pastor at FBC Knoxville.

Since its establishment in 1842, First Baptist Church (FBC) has served not only as a hospital during the Civil War, it has served the inner-city community through many outreach efforts.

The most recent outreach programs include The Bridge Luncheon for downtown workers, a mentoring program for South Knoxville Elementary School, and an annual Homeless Christmas Brunch for over 900 homeless and low-income individuals and families. Volunteers from the community are always welcome to assist in these special programs.

FBC is also a certified Red Cross emergency center and, in recent years, has provided food and shelter to hundreds of storm victims, including victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The new high definition broadcast provides a sharp 720p picture with quality audio that is shared with viewers across East Tennessee and parts of Kentucky and Virginia. In addition to broadcasting in high definition locally, the church also provides live video of the worship service online for those outside the viewing area at

Television viewers from across the region connect weekly with First Baptist as a result of the television broadcast. Viewers often contact the church to request prayer, offer comments, or contribute to the ministries of First Baptist Church of Knoxville. The ministers of FBC Knoxville are in regular contact with television viewers by mail, phone, and the Internet.

The church's worship service is broadcast at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday on WTNZ Fox 43.

Published August 3, 2011, 2:54 p.m.

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