In the beginning . . .
This year, 2020 marks the 111th anniversary of First Baptist Church, Logan Park.
The age of First Baptist Church is reckoned from the year 1909, at which time it was officially recognized as a sovereign Baptist Church by a council presided over by the Rev. R. H. Bowling, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Bute Street. However, there are a few important historical facts about the earliest origin of the church, which antedate 1909.
It is to be noted that Deacon James A. Wood is among the founders of this church. Some of the first prayer services were held in his home. During this time, a young friend of Deacon Wood, the Rev. John R. Curtis, a seminary graduate, joined the church family. Prayer services were held each Sunday afternoon and were attended by several members of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. As time progressed, Sunday services were held in a tent in Logan Park. The first name of the church was Gethsemane Baptist Church.
The first pastor . . .
The first pastor of the church was the Rev. S. E. Pettiford. His successor was Rev. Turner. Both of these ministers served approximately two years. Rev. S. Carter and the Rev. R. Page succeeded Rev. Turner. In 1913, the Rev. J. E. Williams became the pastor. He served for twenty years. During his administration a small annex was built. In 1925, the present structure was erected. Rev’ Williams was pastor of this church until his death in 1933. Rev. Berry and Rev. Richard Sawyer succeeded him. Each served in the pastorate one year.
The succeeding years . . .
On October 22, 1935, the Rev. W. W. Howell was called to the pastorate of the church. The mortgage was burned on June 17, 1943. Rev. Howell’s administration was also highlighted by the following events:
- • The dedication of the church’s first pipe organ in 1945
- • Groundbreaking for the new annex on June 2, 1952
- • Dedication of the annex on May 17-23, 1954
A new organ and two pianos were purchased, and membership of 253 grew to 386 while he labored. He served as pastor nineteen years until his passing on July 24, 1955.
The church was without a pastor until March 25, 1956 when Rev. Harold E. Braxton became pastor. Under his administration, the J. E. Williams Men’s Bible Class was named in honor of the late pastor of the same name, and new pews and pulpit furniture were added.
In 1958, the late Rev. Howell was memorialized with a marble plaque placed in the Annex Auditorium. The plaque was named after him by the Baptist Training Union. A secretary was later added to the administration, payments on the electric organ were completed and the mortgage liquidated.
- Moody’s Administration . . .
- • In July 1962 Rev. Boyd O. Moody assumed the pastorate of this church. Under his administration many wonderful and history-making aspirations were attained:
- • Educational Annex added
- • Renovation, remodeling and resetting of the cornerstone
- • Air conditioning of the church, auditorium, and offices
- • New light fixtures inside and out
- • Church van purchased, new roof and new carpet installed
- • Four-Score Club added to auxiliaries
- • Women added to the Trustee Board/Additional Deacons added
- • Extended missionary work
- • Cushioned seats for the pews
- • Plaque donations by family/friends in memory of loved ones
- • New windows added to the main sanctuary, and new parking facilities added on the grounds
- • Interior and exterior renovations of the Education Building
- • Youth Advisory Council formed
Over the years, Dr. Moody has licensed and/or ordained three persons to the Gospel Ministry, including Brother Johnny Reid and Brother Joseph Price. He counseled Brother Michael Johnson and issued him a one-year temporary license on October 26, 1993. Dr. Moody’s health began to decline, and he retired after 30 years of service in December 1994. Dr. Moody remained a faithful servant until his demise on August 30, 1996. The Rev. Dr. Moody left a wholesome legacy, rich with fond memories instilled with virtuous values. His favorite phrase “best yet” will linger long in the memories and hearts of those that knew and loved him.
The church was two and one half years without a pastor and remained under the leadership and guidance of the Board of Deacons. The church family continued to grow according to God’s gracious will. A noteworthy accomplishment during this time was the acquisition of the Howell property. The house was diminished and the land leveled.
In June of 1996, the Board of Deacons presented the church with its recommendation for pastor. Ballots were cast, and the Rev. Kevin Lamar Clay was elected as the new pastor. During Rev. Clay’s administration, he licensed Brother Michael Johnson to the gospel ministry. A computer, printer, new hymnals and new robes for the children’s choir were purchased. On Sunday afternoon, April 27, 1997, Rev. Clay performed the dedication service of a memorial plaque and portrait in memory of Rev. Dr. Boyd O. Moody. The plaque and portrait were placed in the annex of the church. Rev. Clay resigned in November 1997.
On December 10, 1997, Rev. Joseph Price was elected as Interim Pastor of First Baptist Church, Logan Park and served for six months. Under his leadership, four new deacons were ordained and several workshops were conducted. Rev. Price’s tenure ended on May 10, 1998.
The late 90’s . . .
At a special call meeting held on December 15, 1998, Rev. Dr. George H. Spicer was elected as the new pastor by majority vote. An installation service was held on April 11, 1999 followed by an installation banquet held on April 24, 1999.
On January 27, 2002, Dr. Spicer ordained Rev. Michael E. Johnson and licensed Rev. Albert G. Brooks, Sr. on February 10, 2002 to the gospel ministry, and later ordained him on August 22, 2004. Under Rev. Spicer’s leadership, many accomplishments were achieved, including the purchase of several real estate properties, the ordination of several deacons, the appointment of several trustees and the establishment of a yokefellow ministry. Rev. Dr. Spicer retired on December 27, 2009 after 10 years of service. The church was without a pastor for 18 months and followed the will of God under the leadership of the Deacons Ministry, led by Chairman, Deacon Michael Baker, Sr. A noteworthy accomplishment was the purchase and installation of new carpet throughout the sanctuary.
Today . . .
Rev. Rameen M. Jackson was elected as the new pastor on May 31, 2011 at a special call meeting. His pastorate was effective August 1, 2011, and he was officially installed on September 25, 2011. Pastor Jackson is serving as the church’s 13th pastor from its existence, dated in 1909. To date under his administration, the following accomplishments were attained:
- • Creation of Children’s Church
- • Organization of the FBCLP Mass Choir and Music Ministry
- • Creation of the Health Awareness Ministry
- • Restoration of the Prison Ministry
- • Upgraded church sound system and creation of new church website
- • Church’s roof repaired in the annex and classrooms
- • Licensed Rev. William Baker and added him as an Associate Minister on January 11, 2012.
- • In 2013: New sanctuary vision/design on January 15, 2013 and purchase of new Hammond organ
- • Creation of a Mothers Board Ministry in 2014
- • Licensed Ministers Doreen Jackson, Sharon Parker, Corey Evans, and Geneva-Collins Harris on March 9, 2014.
- • Establishment of church computer lab (8 computers) in 2014.
- • Licensed Ministers Laura Clemons and Lolita Johnson, and appointed two new Trustees in 2016
- • Licensed Minister Lynette Moore and launched the Counting Ministry in 2017
- • Launched a major church-wide renovation project in 2017.
Rev. Jackson resigned in August 2018. In September 2018, Rev. Michael E. Johnson, Sr. began his tenure as Interim Pastor. He was installed as the 14th Pastor on February 23, 2020. He and the diaconate ministry remain on the battlefield for the Lord as spiritual leaders of the church.
In retrospect we can say that God has been good to us, for we trust in the words of Christ who said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” To God be the Glory for the great things he has done!