First Baptist Church Petersburg, AK
Thursday, December 02, 2021
Jesus Christ is Lord!

Church and Community Profile







The church was constituted in 1970 as a mission project of the North American Mission Board (NAMB).  From its inception, it was a missions oriented church uniquely situated to minister to people in remote logging camps and communities.  Few logging camps are still in operation, but the church retains a world mission focus. 



The church is served by the pastor and a council of three deacons.  It is directed by the membership.  An Interim Pastor will serve until the new pastor is chosen or for six months.



The church manifests a cooperative and unified spirit. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God and we welcome all ethnic groups and backgrounds. The former pastor of 13 years, who resigned because of health issues, continues to attend services when his health permits. We also have an Emeritus Pastor who ministers to the body. There are no paid staff other than the pastor. The church demonstrates a caring and welcoming spirit.  Currently, we meet on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. From January through June, 2018, Sunday worship attendance ranged from 27-62 adults and from 9-26 children.  Average attendance was 40 adults and 14 children.  The majority of attendees are age 50 or older. There have been 4 baptisms since October 2017 and 9 new members.



The 5,000 square foot tri-level church building houses a sanctuary with seating for 80 and a baptismal, a foyer, the pastor's office, library, kitchen, multi-purpose hall, men’s and women's restrooms, two small children's classrooms, and a nursery with a connecting restroom.   The fellowship hall and classrooms are on the lowest level, the entrance and pastor's office are on the street level, and the sanctuary is on the upper level.  There are chair lifts for the disabled. 


The building was built in 1978. The roof was replaced in 2016.  Our priority is to reach the world with the gospel, but we recognize that we must have adequate facilities for training and ministering to the congregation and the community. 



Our worship service focuses on preaching the Word of God.  Music includes a blend of worshipful hymns and praise choruses accompanied by piano or guitar.  We seek to magnify Jesus Christ in every aspect of the service.   Songs are displayed by Powerpoint, which may be used during messages. Messages are recorded and available on the website No particular version of Scriptures is used in preaching. There is a baptismal  in the sanctuary.



The Sunday School hour provides Bible teaching for all ages.  Lifeway© teaching materials are used for preschool, children and youth.  The adult classes (co-ed and women’s classes) use a variety of Lifeway or other Bible-based literature and scriptural teaching videos.  The inductive method of Bible study is being introduced in the women’s studies and at the annual women's conference.  TeamKid materials are used for children on Wednesday nights. Only members are allowed to teach.   This year Vacation Bible School will be conducted on five consecutive Sunday mornings.



A prayer group meets weekly in a private home.  Men meet twice a month at the church for breakfast, Bible study and prayer.  The women have a home group devotional and fellowship luncheon monthly.  The youth group meets once a week at the church.



We participate weekly in two community outreach events that provide meals along with an opportunity to hear the gospel message.  One is in cooperation with other denominations to provide a Monday night meal targeting low income people. The Monday outreach also includes the occasional collection and distribution of winter coats and clothing and non-perishable food items.  We have a potluck at the church on Wednesday evening and the community is invited. A sandwich board sign downtown advertises the Wednesday meal. People can stay for the service or leave after eating.


The church supports missionaries through the Cooperative Program and three major offerings received each year: Valeria Sherard State Mission Offering, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.  The church also participates in Operation Christmas Child each year and provided 100 gift boxes in 2017. 



First Baptist Church has stable finances and no indebtedness. The FY 2017 budget was based on an income of $95,000. There is no vehicle or parsonage provided to the Pastor. Financial gifts to missions made up 21% of our total receipts last year.





First Baptist Church of Petersburg, Alaska is an evangelical church that believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.  We are missions-minded, believing we should reach our “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth” for Christ.  We are an autonomous church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Alaska Baptist Convention, and Tongass Baptist Association to help us better fulfill the Great Commission.


Matthew 28:19-20  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”





Petersburg is a village of about 3,000 people. It is located in the Alexander Archipelago on Frederick Sound at the northern entrance to Wrangell Narrows.  The Narrows is a 20-mile long narrow body of water that separates Mitkof and Kupreanof Islands.  The mountains of mainland Canada are visible from Petersburg and are highlighted by a 9,000 foot peak known as Devil's Thumb.  Elevations in Petersburg are from sea level to 113 feet at the airport runway.  Nearby Petersburg Mountain is at 2,500 feet. Petersburg was established around the beginning of the 20th century by Norwegian fishermen. Please check Google Earth to get an idea of the remoteness of Petersburg. The church is at the intersection of  5th and Gjoa streets.



Petersburg is located in Southeast Alaska on Mitkof Island in the Tongass National Forest.  The main road system extends 37 miles from Petersburg on the north end of the island to the south end. Wrangell, Alaska can be seen from the end of the road, but there is no road access to Wrangell. Logging roads provide access to more remote areas on the island.  There are no highways or roads connecting Petersburg with any other community. Travel to and from the island is either by plane, helicopter or boat.  Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Marine Highway (the State ferry system) connect Petersburg with the rest of the world.  Charter aircraft or boats can also be used for travel to the smaller nearby villages and towns.  Many residents choose to own their own boats. We are roughly 700 airline miles from Anchorage, 750 miles from Fairbanks, 800 miles from Seattle, and 100 miles from Juneau. Ferries connect Petersburg with highways at Skagway, Haines, Bellingham (Washington), and Prince Rupert (British Columbia, Canada).



Commercial fishing, sport fishing and tourism are major sources of employment in the community.  Petersburg is multicultural. Fish and shellfish canneries provide employment opportunities drawing workers from all parts of the world.  Local and federal government agencies and the health industry also contribute to the economy.  Logging, which was once a major economic contributor, has declined dramatically over the years.  Although Petersburg's port facilities are designed for the fishing fleet and not equipped for large cruise ships, small touring vessels visit and tourists experience the community with its Norwegian influence. Hunting guides for deer, brown bear, black bear, moose and mountain goats operate from Petersburg.  Fishing and hunting lodges in remote areas use Petersburg as a supply depot and transportation hub for clients. 



Petersburg has a maritime climate.  Although Southeast Alaska is known to northern Alaskans as the “Banana Belt”, at times temperatures may drop below zero.  In some winters, snowfall can be significant.  In a “normal” winter the temperatures can hover around freezing with frequent rain interspersed with snow.  Annual precipitation is 110 inches, including snow.  Precipitation in 2016 was a record 130 inches.  It rains and snows a lot!  Clear winter and summer days are beautiful and the mainland mountain ranges appear etched into the sky.  Winter days are short (shortest is 6 hours and 46 minutes) and summer days are long (longest is 17 hours and 50 minutes).  Summers are mild, with temperatures rarely getting into the 80's.



Shopping is limited to two grocery stores, two hardware stores, a drug store, and a convenience store. Small main street shops provide clothing, housewares, furniture and local art work.   A Salvation Army Thrift store (known as Sally's) and the Petersburg Buy, Sell & Trade website on Facebook fill the gap locally in acquiring needed items.   Using online shopping can also help lower the cost of goods purchased.  Make sure to check shipping charges carefully. Transport of household goods is by Alaska Marine Lines on weekly barges pulled from Seattle by tug boats. Many people buy or rent a 20 or 40-foot container and have it shipped to AML in Seattle for barging to Petersburg. Vehicles can be brought on the Alaska ferry from Bellingham, Washington or shipped on AML.


There are two gas stations and few restaurants. There is no Walmart, no McDonald’s, and no Burger King.  There are no chain stores or fast food outlets. Currently there are two pizza places, a Mexican food cafe, an oriental restaurant, a sandwich shop, three coffee shops and a summer restaurant. The weekly newspaper, the Petersburg Pilot, reports on state and local news.  The U.S. Postal Service supplies post office boxes for mail but not home delivery. UPS provides package delivery from Amazon and other retailers. Broadband internet service is available from 2 suppliers. TV cable channel selection is comparable to that in the Lower 48. There is no movie theater, but recent films are shown at the high school auditorium.



There are many hiking trails available, including Raven's Roost trail, Petersburg Mountain trail, Sandy Beach trail, Blind River Rapids trail and Three Lakes Loop trail.  These are improved trails with sections of wooden boardwalk.  Petersburg is a hub for sport fishing, hunting, bird watching, and whale watching expeditions.  It is not uncommon to see deer or bears in town.  Boating, canoeing, and kayaking are popular water sports.  In winter, snow machines, sledding and cross country skiing are popular. Ice skating is available on ponds during the coldest part of winter. There is a community gym available for a user fee with exercise/weight lifting facilities, racquetball, and swimming pool.  Cross country skis and kayaks are available for rent from  Parks and Recreation and boats can be rented from private businesses. Charter trips to view LeConte Glacier and its numerous icebergs and seal calving areas are available. The nearby Stikine River delta is a popular waterfowl viewing and hunting area. There are US Forest Service cabins in remote areas available for nightly rent. Most are in scenic hunting and fishing areas. They have stoves and bunks but no linens or cooking utensils.



The Joy Jannsen Health Clinic in Petersburg provides the following medical services (adapted from the clinic website):  Services provided at the clinic include routine patient care, such as general physicals, women's health and obstetrical care; Botox, acupuncture, diabetes screening and monitoring; cardiac stress testing, Holter heart monitoring; commercial driver, pilot, boat operators, and sports physicals; osteopathic manipulation, minor surgical procedures, pediatric care, outpatient care, specialized wound care, chemotherapy, and IV infusion therapy. There are two dentists on the island. There are hearing and eye care specialists who visit regularly. Babies are not delivered in Petersburg, but expectant mothers go to other hospitals in Alaska or Washington before delivery.


For patients who are under the care of a specialist, the clinic is able to provide routine follow-up and monitoring of chronic or specialized medical conditions.  In addition, they offer advice and therapy for smoking cessation and substance abuse.  Joy Janssen Clinic strives to promote excellence in healthcare services and the promotion of wellness in Petersburg.  If you would like more information on the services provided, or to find out if a specific service is provided, please call 907-772-4299.


In addition to regular hours, the Petersburg Medical Center hospital has a walk-in clinic on Saturdays and 24-hour emergency services. There are both male and female doctors. There is a volunteer EMT/ambulance group and volunteer fire department. Medevac insurance is supplied to the pastor and family by FBC in case emergency airlift is needed to Juneau, Anchorage, or Seattle.



In 2018 the Petersburg public school system had 472 students enrolled in grades K-12 and a graduation rate of 91 percent.  There is an accredited Home School association. Home school students are able to participate part time in public school classes and sports on a case by case basis. High school sports include competitive swimming, basketball, and volleyball. The high school teams are known as the Petersburg Vikings. There are borough ball fields for Little League baseball teams and others. The nearest college is the University of Alaska Southeast with campuses in Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. Some courses are available online. There are University of Alaska campuses in Fairbanks and Anchorage. 



There is an active ministerial association.  Besides the First Baptist Church, churches in the community include Lighthouse Assembly of God, Bethesda Church, Petersburg Bible Church, Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church, Roman Catholic Church, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Other faiths include Bahai and the Latter Day Saints. There are also Christian home groups that meet regularly.



Petersburg is an isolated but beautiful place to live and has the advantages of small town life where you will get to know or recognize many of the people.  There is a spirit of cooperation among Christian denominations that is greater than in most places.  For example, a pastor from one denomination may fill in at another denomination when he is needed. A community Easter Sunrise Service at Sandy Beach park conducted by the ministerial association draws people from all denominations. Pastors from different churches take turns preaching at Mountain View Manor, which is a senior apartment complex and assisted living facility for elderly/disabled. They also minister at the Long Term Care unit at the hospital.


Applicants: If you feel God is calling you to minister in Petersburg, please notify us by email. Only those responding after receiving this profile will be considered.


For more information about Petersburg and the surrounding area, please follow the Links: Borough, Chamber, Petersburg PilotPetersburg Properties Realty, Anchor Properties Realty