The Winthrop Baptist Church had its beginnings in 1729 when a group of men and women embracing the Baptist tradition began meeting at the home of Job Bulkley on Cedar Swamp Road. On a cold winter’s day in February 1744, fourteen members of this group were arrested for holding a Baptist meeting on Sunday and were marched through a snowstorm to New London where they were imprisoned. The arrest was made after the General Court’s 1742 repeal of the 1708 Act of Toleration, which allowed denominations other than the Puritans to practice their faith in God. In the spring, the group was released from prison and returned home to Winthrop where they immediately started to organize a Baptist Church. On July 15, 1744, the First Baptist Church of Saybrook was formally organized with Job Bulkley, William Wilcox and Amos Potter as the prime movers and first deacons.
The first church meetinghouse was erected on the present property in 1773, and in 1867 the church members purchased the present building from the Deep River Methodist Episcopal Church and moved it to its present location. The fellowship hall was added in 1966 followed by an addition in 1989 of classroom and office space.
We are and have been known for years as the Winthrop Baptist Church because of our location and community involvement. However, to maintain a connection to our historical roots we also retain our founding name, The First Baptist Church of Saybrook.