The Free Will Baptist church was the earliest church organization effected in Clay township. On March 12, 1853, a meeting was held at the house of Myron C. Walters in Clay Mills for the purpose of organizing a church. A sermon was preached by Elder Donaldson from 1 Corinthians III: 9th "Ye are God's Building." After the sermon, the elder proceeded to ascertain how many wished to be organized into a church society. Six presented themselves with letters, viz: Reuben Green, William Hill, Myron C. Walters, Susan Maria Green, Margarette Walters; one presented herself for baptism, viz: Mary Hill.
After an examination regarding their faith, and finding they all agreed in sentiment with the Free Will Baptist church, the articles and covenant as laid down in the creed of that denomination having been adopted, the right hand of fellowship was given by Elder Donaldson, and prayer was offered by him.
M. C. Walters was chosen clerk, and the name of "Free Will Baptist Church of Clay" was adopted. M. C. Walters was chosen to apply, in behalf of the new organization, for membership in the quarterly meeting to be held with the Buena Vista church in April, 1853, and to represent the congregation at that time. On the request of Mr. Walters, made to that body, the Clay church was accepted as a member of the quarterly meeting.
M. C. Walters was chosen deacon and continued in that office until his removal to New York state about 1900. The present deacon is William Eckler, and the present clerk is W. N. Tippett. The deacons chosen at different times were: M. C. Walters, Lewis Beckwith. S. L. Carpenter, William Eckler. The clerks have been: M. C. Walters, C. W. Sutton, W. N. Tippett. The present trustees are: William Eckler, G. B. Hall, W. N. Tippett.
The church prospered in the early days of the township history and in due time, about 1865, a church building was erected at the location known as Frozen Hill. This building yet stands, and in the more recent years has been known as the Bethel Presbyterian church, though yet owned by the Baptist society. Here the community met for the worship of God and the study of His Word for many years. After some years the use of the building was generously offered to the Bethel Presbyterian church who used it conjointly with the Baptist church. Among the pastors of the Clay Baptist church have been: Elders Reives, Slater, Maxon, Anderson, O. E. Aldrich and George Bullock.
After many years of public testimony to their love for their Saviour, the Baptist congregation became so reduced in numbers by deaths and removals that they could no longer maintain regular public worship and this condition has continued to the present time. The organization has been continued, though no active part has been taken in the continuation of regular services.