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Third Baptist Church hosts appreciation for Mothers Louise James and Ophelia Williams

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From left are, Mick Collins, choir director, Sarah Lee, past retired honoree, Mothers, Louise James, and Ophelia Williams, current retired honorees, and Frances McFarland, past retired honoree.

By Journal Staff Writer

Over 108 years of combined vocal experience between Mothers, Louise James, and Ophelia Williams, has officially ended for Third Baptist Church, 9775 Angola Rd, choir.

Sunday, June 23, at the church, both long standing vocalists hung up their choir robs, to sit amongst the parishioners they faced for many years.

Besides honoring the two Mothers of the church, the adult, men’s and youth choir were all honored, as they have been, for the past seven years, during Third Baptist Church Appreciation Day, with the theme, “Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Started by Mick Collins, director of music, he told The Toledo Journal that, holding an appreciation celebration for the choir may not be considered the norm, but he felt it was long overdue.

“I thought it would be a nice gesture for all the work that they do,” he said.

Each member of the three choirs received a gift, Mr. Collins said. But the focus of the day was directed on the two retirees.

Mother James said she has been singing in the choir for 50 years, and said it helped keep her young. But due to health related issues, she said it’s time for her to step aside.

“It’s time for me to step aside, and let the young folks take over,” she said. “I really appreciate the honor I’m receiving today, and the fact they said they’ll miss me,” Mother James said. Although she won’t be officially in the choir, Mother James said she knows she’ll feel as if she’s supposed to be singing with them.

“I won’t let my retirement stop me from singing amongst the congregation,” she added.

“I’m old, and can’t hit those high notes like I used to,” Mother Williams bluntly explained. “I will miss the structure of preparing, and singing, as well as just learning new songs,” she said.

“It has been a wonderful 58 years, and I am going to miss it,” Mother Williams said.

Second Baptist Church hosts Sixty-Seventh anniversary

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Dr. Willie Perryman, left, senior Pastor at Jerusalem Baptist Church, and Dr. Jerry Boose, of Second Baptist Church, share a moment following the service.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

For 67 years, Second Baptist Church, 9300 Maumee Western Rd, Monclova, Ohio, has been serving God, and those who worship Him.

Established by the late Rev. Frank Bowen in June of 1952, on Irwin Rd, the humble beginnings of the church stem from members having to use an outhouse, outdoor bathroom, to taking turns filling a heater up with coal, both of which, according to current members, have helped strengthen Second Baptist.

Two services, one on Sunday, June 2, and Sunday, June 9, helped commemorate the early years of the church.

Guest speaker, Pastor Cris Allen, and the members of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Chicago Illinois, celebrate with Second Baptist on June 2. While Dr. Willie Perryman, and the members of Jerusalem Baptist Church of Toledo, help conclude the celebration on June 9.

Second Baptist Church 67th
Guest speaker Pastor Cris Allen, left, and Dr. Jerry Boose, right

Elder Terrence Pounds, committee member for the anniversary, told The Toledo Journal the theme for the celebration was, “Second Baptist is good ground,” taken from the Biblical scripture of Matthew 13:8.

A six year member of the church, Elder Pounds said he and his wife were searching for a church family. He said his wife, Michelle heard Rev. Dr. Jerry Boose, senior pastor at Second Baptist delivering the Word of God, and instantly knew Second Baptist would become their home.

In addition to the church celebration, there was a renaming of their fellowship hall, to the “Bowen-Brown Fellowship Hall.” The name bared the founder, Rev. Frank Bowen, and the longest serving Pastor, Rev. Eddie Brown, who served for 23 years.

“We decided to rename the hall because we wanted to make sure the past beacons of light, which have helped pave our future would not be forgotten,” said Rev. Boose.

“The past 11 years, since I’ve been in leadership, have been mind blowing.  And during that time, I’ve seen the great influence of both Rev. Bowen, and Rev. Brown, and I wanted to make sure we honored them and their family by renaming the hall,” Rev. Boose said.

Emma Brown, widow to the late Rev. Brown, said, “It feels so good to see my husband honored. It lets me know how much he was really loved.”

Deborah Roberts is the granddaughter to Rev. Bowens. She said she remembers when the church was first established, and they had to use an outhouse. “This is really a great honor. It shows how much the members care about my grandfather’s works,” she said.

The 54th Annual Debutante Cotillion

Cotillion 2019

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

Saturday, May 25, at the Stranahan Theater in the Great Hall, Faith Rogers was crowned Miss 2019 Debutante at the 54th Annual Debutante Cotillion. Ms. Rogers, who is a senior at Saint Ursula Academy, was overjoyed, yet in disbelief, and surprised, that she had just won the top honors of the evening. She said, “I feel really thankful and happy, and I’m so grateful for my mom and for everything I’ve experienced in the Cotillion. I didn’t even think I was going to win, and honestly, I had only prayed and hoped for third place ( the second runner up to the crown).”

Instead, she won the top spot, which comes with a generous college scholarship, and Ms. Rogers is headed to Kent State University. There she plans to major in political sciences with a minor in pre-law. Her ambitions are to become a lawyer in family court and eventually a judge in the Juvenile detention area.

About the evening itself, she added, “Tonight was beautiful and all the girls did such a great job and they all looked so pretty and nice, and once again I’m just so happy!”

Other winners for the evening were the second runner up to the crown Whitney Hughes from Jones Leadership Academy of Business, and first runner up Lauren Baker from Springfield High School.

Cotillion 2019
Talent Award winners were (L-R) K’Allie Riley: Bowsher High School, Lauren Baker: Springfield High School, and Faith Rogers: Saint Ursula Academy

Mr. Escort of the year was John Reynolds with runner up Russell Chapman III (L). Miss. Congeniality Award sponsored by Henry’s Jewelry went to Chloe Smallwood from Perrysburg High School. Talent Award winners were K’Allie Riley: Bowsher High School, Lauren Baker: Springfield High School, and Faith Rogers: Saint Ursula Academy.

Cotillion 2019
John Reynolds won Escort of the year (R) shown here with Escort of the year runner up, Russell Chapman III (L)

Seven Debutantes also received a University of Toledo President Community Scholarship. They were Cinecere Blackburn and Daviana Estis: Toledo Early College, Jasmine Fox and Alexi Moore: Springfield High School, D’Asia Grover: Scott High School, Kiaea Gowdy: Start High School, and Chloe Smallwood from Perrysburg High School.

In addition an array of certificates of appreciation given out to Debutante, Escorts, and the Debs-In-Waiting.

2019 Debs-In-Waiting present Pearls to the 2019 Debutante.

The evening consisted of a two-hour ceremonial program beginning with a welcome address from Cotillion Co-chairman Karen Jarrett and greetings from The Toledo Club President Dr. Frances Collins. This was followed the presentation of Miss 2018 Debutante Courtney Draper and the introductions of the judges.

Next came the presentation of the Debs-In-Waiting, they are Junior High School girls who aspire to be Debutantes in their senior year. All dress the same on beautiful red formal gowns they marched in the hall and presented themselves before the judges. They were followed by the main event, the presentation of 2019 Debutantes.

One by one dress in stunning white formal gowns they were escorted into the hall by their fathers and introduced to the judge’s table. Then the father took their daughter to their Escort for the evening, young men wearing white tuxedos and white shoes. Once they were all assembled in the hall, the Debs-In-Waiting presented each debutante with a string of white pearls and put them on around their necks.

This was followed by the couples dancing the traditional Cotillion Waltz all around the room. Next came the parents Waltz, this is where the fathers danced with their daughters and the Escorts dances with the Debutantes mother. It all was a very formal and elegant affair, the only thing missing was the champagne!

After the dancing was the award ceremony when all the awards were presented culminating with crowning if Miss Debutantes 2019.

The Annual Debutante Cotillion was started in 1965 by The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club’s, Inc., The Toledo Club. It’s purpose, according to a statement published by the Toledo Club of the NANBPWC, Inc, ” Is to present outstanding young ladies to society clothed with the finer thoughts of living and endowed with a complete sense of responsibility. To accomplish these ends The Toledo Club has added life Skill workshops, Financial Scholarships and Etiquette training whereby the Debutante can step on the threshold of womanhood with success”.

Cotillion 2019
The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club’s, Inc., The Toledo Club.

To enter into the Debutante program the ladies must meet a rigorous list of qualification and be recommended to The Toledo Club by their High School Counselor. After which the ladies are invited to an Introductory Tea where they learn all they have to do to become a Debutante and how to win the crown.

It’s a year-long process that includes screening, Etiquette Seminars, workshops, photo sessions, talent rehearsals, a talent show, and of course the final night of the Cotillion. At each event, they are rated on a point system all the way to the end. The lady who accumulates the most points by the end becomes the next Debutante of the year.

Mrs. Wilma Brown the chairman of the Cotillion for forty years said, “What’s special about the Cotillion is that we give the young women and men the opportunity to go to college and the chance to learn about other things that they don’t experience in their everyday lives. I really hope the Cotillion continues because it is a worthwhile event in our community.”

Martin Luther King Academy hosts father son retreat

Martin Luther King Academy hosts father son retreat
Fathers and their sons, in the school’s cafeteria, just before they began the activities of the night.

BY Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

Fathers played chess, basketball, wrestled, or just enjoyed a good movie, while eating a snack, with not only their sons, but other boys, at the second annual Father, Son Day. The event was held at Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, 1300 Forrest Ave., on Friday, May 17.

The brain child of Willie Ward, principal, and Sheila A. Cook, family community school resource and outreach director, the two wanted to have an event that would, somewhat mirror their yearly, Mother and Son dance.

Martin Luther King Academy hosts father son retreat
Even the teachers took time out to get involved. Jeremy Atkins far left, para professional, and Luke McKinley, rolls out the wrestling mats to teach a few basic moves to the boys.

Officially kicking off the start of the event, Principal Ward expressed to the fathers, who were gathered in the cafeteria with their sons, how grateful he was for them attending the event. He said their involvement with their sons sends a powerful message, and he welcomed them to visit the school.

“Today is their day,” Ms. Cook told The Toledo Journal. “Tonight is about them enjoying each other,” she said.

She said that, although men are more hesitant at revealing how they really feel, Ms. Cook said a father had expressed to her how happy he was about the event. “He told me that he works so much, he doesn’t get to spend the time he wants with his son, and tonight’s event gives him that opportunity.”

Ms. Cook is hoping that the event will encourage more fathers to become more involved at the school. But at that particular moment, she expressed a great deal of satisfaction with the turnout.

Martin Luther King Academy hosts father son retreat
Andre Munn, right, shows his nephew, Shamarion Patterson, how to play chess at the expense of Delrico Wallace.

“I think this is a great event,” said Marvin McCray who was playing basketball with his son. “This encourages more fathers to become active at the school. It’s also a good time for those of us who haven’t met the principal, or our son’s teacher, to finally meet them,” he said.

“I’m here to spend time with my son, at his school, and meet some of his friends,” said Broderick Manahan. “I’m also here for the other boys. I want to encourage them that they can do anything, and that all things are possible,” he said.

Martin Luther King Academy hosts father son retreat
Broderick Manahan shows his son, Triston, he still has a little skill left in him

” I just love spending time with my dad,” said Mr. Manahan’s son, Tristan.

Ebenezer MBC hosts 67th Annual Women’s Day

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Ebenezer MBC hosts 67th
The women of the historical church, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, on the 67th Annual Women’s Day.

By Journal Staff Writer

With the theme, “Standing firm in the Faith, despite adversities,” Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, 2001 Ashland Ave., hosted their 67th Annual Women’s Day. Held on Sunday, May 26, guests from Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Third Baptist Church, and Second Baptist Church, help celebrate the occasion.

With the theme, “Standing firm in the Faith, despite adversities,” Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, 2001 Ashland Ave, hosted their 67th Annual Women’s Day. Held on Sunday, May 26, guests from Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Third Baptist Church, and Second Baptist Church, help celebrate the occasion.

Stayce Fowler and Mary Ann Sumrow co-chaired the annual event.

Ebenezer MBC hosts 67th
Stayce Fowler, left, and Mary Ann Sumrow, were given flowers, by committee members, following the event for orchestrating a successful day.

“One of the important things about Women’s Day event is getting as many women, within the church involved,” Ms. Fowler told The Toledo Journal. “And being that we were able to get new members involved in the planning, I would say this year’s event was a success,” she said.            

“Every day is women’s day,” Ms. Sumrow said. “Just like the theme of the event, we have to operate on faith, despite adversities. With the planning of such an important and large event, all of our faith was tested, but yet we prevailed,” she said.

During the planning of the event, committee members would jointly decide who would be the keynote speakers.

 “One of the committee members had heard Rev. Harrison speak in the past, and said she would be excellent for the event; which she was,” Ms. Sumrow said.

“I knew she was a good business minded person, but I didn’t know she would deliver the word that good,” Ms. Fowler said.

As far as Sis Vera Sanders, of Ebenezer delivering the word, both Ms. Fowler, and Ms. Sumrow said she was dynamic.

“I think her powerful message was a good example to other women of this church that they have the ability to deliver a similar message,” said Ms. Fowler.

“Her ability to deliver such a powerful message will be inspirational to the other women of the church,” said Ms. Sumrow.

Mothers, locally, and from surrounding cities and Michigan treated to fine dining and musical tribute

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Mother's Day
Family members of Rev. Dr. John Roberts, pastor of Indiana Avenue Missionary Baptist Church are, clockwise Deacon Elmore Sturdivant, Deborah Roberts, Jelise Roberts, David Smith, and Barbara Jones, Makalah, and Orvil Robinson.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

The Social Butterfly, LLC, and OMG Productions collaborated to host a citywide Mother’s Day Dinner, and musical tribute, on Sunday, May 12. Held at St. Clements Hall, 2990 Tremainsville Rd, the event featured musical artist, Darius Coleman, and saxophonists, CJ Manning and Company.

Mother's Day
Three of the mothers present, Rachelle Roy, Vernetta Glover, and Marissa Schoenegge, receive a personal serenade from Marcia Bowen.

According to organizers, attendees traveled from Findlay, Defiance, and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Detroit, Michigan, to attend the sold out event. Guests also had the opportunity to win various gift bags that were raffled during the event. A portion of the proceeds, $500, was donated to the YWCA, in effort to give back to the community, according to Donnetta Carter, CEO of The Social Butterfly, LLC.

Mother's Day
From left, Larry Jones, Master of Ceremonies, Tracy Roberts of OMG Productions, and Donnetta Carter of The Social Butterfly, LLC, sponsored the event, and Deacon Marvin March, committee member, all helped make the event a success.

She told The Toledo Journal that they wanted to do something special for mothers that included fine dining, as well as good entertainment.

“Many of the restaurants that people attend will charge at least $40 per person, but won’t offer entertainment. Our event was cheaper, and offered good entertainment,” Ms. Carter said.

She said the reason they chose to donate to the YWCA is the many beneficial programs the agency offers to the community.

Tracy Roberts, CEO of OMG Productions, said he immediately jumped at the opportunity to help host an event for mothers.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community; they’re asking us to do another one,” Mr. Roberts said.

Marissa Schoenegge, said, “This is really a good event. The music is good, and the singer is really good. It has been totally worth my time, and money.”

CJ Manning, saxophonist, entertained those who attended the Mother’s Day dinner.

Anna Davis was one of the winners of a gift bag. She said, “I love this event. The food is good, and the music is good. I’m so glad I came. We need more events like this in Toledo.”

Ms. Carter thanked everyone who attended. She also added a special thank you to her assistant, Danielle Schoenegge, who helped make the event go smoothly, as well as successful.

Mrs. Hattie M. Allen Celebrates 100 years of Living

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Hattie M. Allen 100th

By Journal Staff

It was a classy and elegant affair for a classy and elegant lady, who also happened to be celebrating 100 years of living, an entire decade. Not too many people have those bragging rights, but Mrs. Hattie Allen does. On her birthday March 28, 2019, she officially became 100 years old.

On March 30, her daughter Mrs. Jesse Warren and family had a Saturday morning birthday party brunch buffet for her at the upscale Toledo Club on River Rd. In a room overlooking the peaceful Maumee River flowing by, family members and friends gathered to honor Mrs. Allen and her 100 years of life. Can you imagine all the things she’s seen, done and experienced in a changing world in 100 years? And, especially living in the south, as she did most of her life, certainly there some stories that she could tell.

Mrs. Allen was born March 28, 1919, in Athens, Texas to Dorothy Chancellor Barker and Henderson Barker. At an early age, her family moved to Dallas, Texas. In Dallas, she attended N. W. Harlee Elementary School and graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School in the public-school system. After high school, she went on to attend Prairie View A&M College.

Eventually, she got married to Abner Allen and they were married 50 years. Together they reared three children: Edna L. Allen (deceased), Roy E. Allen (deceased), and Jessie Allen Warren.

Family member Pastor Linda Warren said the grace and blessed the food and the day at Mrs. Hattie M. Allen’s 100-birthday party.

In Dallas, she and her husband owned and operated Allen’s Grocery and Market. They both were generous and kind to their customers, it was not unusual for them to let their neighbors and customers have food on credit until they were able to pay their bill.

Also in Dallas, Mrs. Allen was an active member of her church, “Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church” for over fifty years. There she served in the Senior Usher’s Ministry, Women’s Day Ministry, and Deaconess Ministry. She was also recognized as an honoree for a church Women’s Day Celebration.

Outside of family, church and work, her social and civic activities included volunteering with the American Red Cross, a Notary Public, and a poll worker during elections.

She was also considered by many to be a neighborhood and community leader because of her business acumen. Because of this, she was honored by the Dallas Chapter of the NBAPW Club in the area of Business.

In her spare time, she enjoys hobbies including watching sports games, playing cards games especially Bid Whist and Dominos, and using her computer and tablet. An adventurist spirit, she also enjoys traveling and has been to San Francisco/Oakland CA, South Africa, Hawaii and on trips to visit her grandchildren.

Mrs. Hattie M. Allen

She is the grandmother of three: Roy Allan Jr. and Derrick Ross of Dallas, TX. And Melanie Gross of Oakland CA. In addition, she is the adopted grandmother of LaShon Washington, Norita Jones and Shontrice Robago of Dallas, TX, and the great grandmother of four.

In 2013 she moved to Toledo to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Bishop Clifford Warren and became an integral part of their church, The Church of the Living God where she is known as “Mom”.

About her party Mrs. Allen had only one thing to say, “I’m just so happy’, and about living in Toledo she said with a smile, ‘I love Toledo, all except for the weather!”

Her granddaughter Melanie Gross said of her grandmother, “My grandmother is my rock and my everything. She is such an Amazing woman; she has given back to so many people and enriched their lives. To me, this is the perfect time to give her, her roses while she is still living.”

Art Tatum Center Honors Aretha Franklin

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Toledoans honor Aretha Franklin | The Toledo Journal
Sir Kalvin Hughes Trio with guest vocalist Theresa Harris performed for the "The Soul of a Queen” program at the Art Tatum Center.
Brett Collins Librarian Specialist for the Art Tatum African American Resource Center talk to the audience about Aretha Franklin

By Michael Daniels Journal Staff Reporter

On Monday, March 25th the Art Tatum Center presented a special program at the Kent Branch Library Auditorium entitled, “The Soul of a Queen”, a free concert to celebrate the 77th birthday of Aretha Franklin.

Ms. Franklin who was born on March 25, 1942, and passed away in August of 2018, she left behind a legacy of music and civil right activism that will never be forgotten. Even though many have followed behind her, there will never be another one like Aretha Franklin. She was the undisputed, “Queen of Soul” who surpassed all generations and cultural boundaries with her music.

The audience at Art Tatum Center Honors Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

To pay tribute to her in a style only fitting for a queen the center chose a former Toledo musician and his band the Sir Kalvin Hughes Trio with guest vocalist Theresa Harris to perform for the program. Mr. Hughes who is a big fan of Aretha Franklin and an extraordinary musician himself in his own right had a personal story to tell the audience about Aretha Franklin’s Toledo connection.

After working as the musician at Warren AME Church here in Toledo he accepted a job as minister of music at Aretha Franklin’s father’s Church, New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. ‘My whole objective in taking the job was to one day meet the Queen of Soul and let her hear me play, he said. ‘Every year she puts on a gospel concert at the church and she is there in person.’

Phi Delta Kappa Inc. members enjoy a moment with Sir Kalvin Hughes
(center) before the program begins.

Sure enough, the time for the concert and sure enough the Queen of Soul was there and heard Mr. Hughes play, ‘Evidently she liked what she heard,’ he said. ‘because later when her regular organist took ill, she called me and asked me to accompany her to Philadelphia’ when she performed for the Pope. Following that, I became her organist and went with her on tour. ”When I applied for the job at New Bethel, I had no idea that one day I’d be playing for Aretha Franklin, I mostly just wanted to meet her, said Mr. Hughes. ‘Aretha Franklin is special to me because she opened up so many doors for me that I never thought would happen, and she took me to higher heights. I never would have gotten those opportunities if had not been for the Queen of Soul’, he said. ‘Working with her was phenomenal.’

After telling his story of his life with Aretha, Mr. Hughes and his Trio played a little lite jazz to warm the audience up. Then he invited guest vocalist Theresa Harris to join them and they tore into Aretha Franklin’s hits and standards. This was the moment the audience had been waiting for and everyone was thrilled.

The Art Tatum Organization Board members are (back L-R) Londa Ramsey and Brett Collins: Librarian Specialist for the Art Tatum African American Resource Center. (front L-R) Joan M. Harris, Dorcel Dowdell, and Frances C. Collins, Ph.D.

The evening program began with an introduction from Brett Collins the Librarian Specialist for the Art Tatum African American Resource Center. He reminded everyone of the importance of Aretha Franklin’s music and her work in the community saying, ‘ it’s never too late to honor someone like Aretha Franklin who’s done so much for our souls, it’s important to honor legends because they are the ones who lay the footprints down for us to follow’.

Sir Kalvin Hughes tells his own personal story to the audience about Aretha Franklin’s Toledo connection.

He also informed everyone of the upcoming documentary Amazing Grace, the story of the making of Aretha Franklin’s largest selling album by the same name.

Twenty three “Silent Soldiers” honored at Black History Celebration

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The Silent Soldiers The Toledo Journal

Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church, under the guidance of Dr. Cedric Brock, held its 18th annual Black History Celebration banquet last Sunday, March 3, 2019 at the Premiere Banquet Complex and honored, the “Silent Soldiers”. These are those who have been selected as accomplishing, so much, behind the scenes. This year almost 600 people attended the event hosted by the Mt. Nebo’s Voice of Hope Outreach Ministry as they celebrated the theme of “Stepping out In Faith.”.

Dr. Cedric Brock and Larry Jones, of Indiana was the
master of ceremonies.

After the introduction of this year’s honorees, from Deacon Alan Crawford, the church’s First Lady, Debra Brock, performed a musical selection. The many sponsors were thanked and then Nicolle Brown offered a special presentation as Nikketa Sugarfoot.

The Youth Ministry performed following dinner and then Sister Geraldine of St. Paul AME Zion Church made the presentation of honorees which are as follows:  Dr. Karen Adams-Ferguson, MD; Barbara Allison; Marcella Cook,; Collette Crosby; Barbara Crowell; Mary Dunning; Michelle Furr; Chris Gayle; Vickie Green-Horsley; Julia Holt; Michael Key; Laverne Knighten; Levon Rayford; Freddie Roberson; Lorena Roberts; Carolyn Robinson; Gertrude Robinson; Sharisse Rowell; Edward Sanders; Norma Savage; Adrian Thomas; Rita Winfree and Alberta Witcher.

Dr. Cedric Brock and First Lady Debra Brock of Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church.

This annual event started as a dinner held in the church dining area, 18 years ago, with an attendance of about 150 people. It rapidly out grew that space and has been held in much larger banquet rooms for more than a decade.

Dr. Brock said, “We celebrate the “Silent Soldiers” who have been faithful to the community at large. We give them their flowers while they can smell them.” The Voice of Hope Outreach Ministry is the brainchild of Dr. Brock who sponsors the banquet to honor the unsung heroes of the city and surrounding communities. Throughout the years, the ministry has sponsored a number of community services, such as: Radio Outreach (1520 AM and 95.7 FM); Adopt A Haircut Ministries at Poor Clark’s Barbershop; Adopt A Belt Outreach; Coat Give-Away; Good Friday Ham Give-Away; Back To School Give-Away and Weekly Broadcast NOW Network.

The master of ceremonies for this year’s event was conducted by Larry Jones of Indiana Avenue MBC.

Indiana Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the 73rd Anniversary

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Indiana Missionary Baptist Church celebrates the 73rd Anniversary The Toledo Journal

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

For two Sundays in a row, February 17 and 24th, Indiana Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 73rd Anniversary with an afternoon service at the church. On the 17th, Rev. Dr. Jerry Boose from Second Baptist church was the main speaker. On the 24th, Rev. Dr. Willie Perryman from Jerusalem Baptist Church did the honors. Both ministers brought members of their congregations, as well as, their church choirs to join in on the celebration.

The theme of this year’s program was from Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, Instead Pray about everything,” This theme was most appropriate because it reaches back to Indiana Missionary Baptist Churches humble beginnings.

It was in the mid-forties when Rev. W. J. Stephenson, the pastor of Central Baptist Church in north Toledo realized that his church was going to lose its property due to an upcoming freeway project that was going to slice through the heart of north Toledo. He became worried that many of his parishioners that lived in the central city would have a difficult time getting to church after the expressway was built.

Faced with this dilemma, Rev. Stephenson did what a man of God should do! He turned to his Heavenly Father for help, and his help came. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he decided to resign his position as pastor of Central Baptist and open a new church in the central city where the majority of African Americans lived during that time period. He then contacted a fellow pastor, the Rev. E. J. Benton along with some established church Deacons, Trustee, pastors, church Mothers and other church-going people for a meeting.

At this meeting which took place on February 20, 1946, at 819 Ewing Street in the central city, Indiana Missionary Baptist Church was officially organized and Rev. W. J. Stephenson became the church’s first pastor. This was a position he would maintain until he passed away in July of 1959. Also present at this meeting were a group of teenagers, and unbeknownst to everyone at the time in this group, was one who was the new church’s hope of the future. A young man by the name of John E. Roberts who was there that night, would grow up, and one day become one of Indiana’s most influential and beloved ministers.

As the new church progressed it quickly began to grow and it wasn’t too long before everyone became aware that they were going need a larger space to properly worship the Lord. Now they had a mission fulfill. So, they started a building fund to build a new church building. Soon enough money was raised to purchase a property at 640 Indiana Ave. 

Missionary Baptist Church celebrated a mission fulfilled as they marched singing God’s praises all the way from the old building on Ewing Street to the new one on Indiana Avenue. Since that time the congregation has continued to grow and so has the original structure. In time came the addition of a ground level sanctuary, the upper-level sanctuary, the Stephenson-Roberts Hall and a spacious parking lot to accommodate its large growing congregation.

Since the passing of the founder, Rev. W. J. Stephenson in 1959, the church has had several pastors including the Rev. T. Wiggins in 1960, and the Rev. F. H. Alexander 1961 through 1963.

On January 21, 1965, the young teenager, who attended that first organizational meeting in 1946, the Rev. John E. Roberts became Indiana’s fourth pastor. He later elevated his status in ministry by graduating from the Toledo Bible College in 1975 and was Valedictorian of his class. From this point on he became known as Rev. Dr. John E. Roberts.

Under his leadership, Indiana Missionary Baptist Church has become one of the most influential churches in the city. They are known for their community involvement for reaching out and helping others.

As for Pastor Roberts, he is a minister who lives his ministry, 24 hours a day, in and out of the pulpit. If you meet him out in the world, he’s probably going to ask you two questions. One, ‘your name,’ and two, “are you saved’? He’s a man who understands that his main purpose in life is to help us ordinary folks find out way into God’s grace and into his heaven.

At his church, he is a continual inspiration to others and has also mentored dozens of young men in the field of ministry, many who have gone on to have their own churches.

As the church celebrates its 73rd anniversary, he had these words of divine wisdom for his congregation, he said, “Truly God has blessed us and smiled upon us, and I thank Him for it. We must never forget that Central Baptist gave birth to Indiana. Thank God for Rev. W. J. Stephenson and the pioneers like him that were with him paving the way. We must constantly pray for our church and its ministry of redemption in a lost world as we constantly live our lives in a way that honors Christ and his teaching.”