Dr. Manning had been dispatched by the Philadelphia Baptist Association to Rhode Island to start a Baptist college and to collect some of the Baptist churches in New England into an association. As a result, Brown University was founded in 1764 and the Warren Baptist Association started in 1767. Providence and Newport engaged in a bidding war to secure the permanent location of the college, but Providence won the contest. In 1770 the college moved to Providence and the “College Edifice,” now called University Hall, was built. Dr. Manning became pastor of the Providence church, and one of the consequences of his pastorate was the building of the present Meeting House. This building, is the third meetinghouse that the First Baptist Church has had. By 1774 the church had outgrown its old building. Manning, also first president of Brown University, wanted a larger hall in which to hold the college’s commencement ceremonies. Brown, founded by Baptists, cut its denominational ties in the 1930s. Until then its presidents and many of the faculty made their church home in First Baptist Church. Even now, the university holds its commencement in the Meeting House every year.
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