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Established in 1682, this was the first Baptist church in the South (the church was actually organized in Maine and moved to Charleston in 1696). In 1751, the pastor, Oliver Hart, founded the Charleston Baptist Association, the earliest organization for the education of Baptist ministers in the South. He fled from the British in 1780, never to return. The present Greek Revival–style sanctuary was designed in 1822 by Robert Mills, the first American-born architect. The sanctuary has been the victim of many natural disasters, including a tornado in 1885, an earthquake in 1886, and Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but was faithfully restored after each event.