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Franklin Park spreads holiday cheer, gives coats, groceries and more

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Franklin Park Holiday Coats The Toledo Journal

By Sean Stewart

A drive through the streets of Northside Toledo on Friday’s mild evening would have usually been like any other, dark and quiet. Though at Word of Faith Ministries on Stickney Ave near Woodward High school, the scene was brought up by a more energetic and cheerful tone.

Cars parked along the street are packed with youth, eager to join in on the affair. Though before they opened the doors to the church, on the corner of Stickney and Russell, they are greeted by a man and a dolly hand truck, packed with items halfway to its top.

The man says with a welcoming yet weighty voice, “watch yourself now, careful”.

The children obey as the man carries past. Though when they enter into the building, the darkness of daylight’s fall resides and the kids embrace the warmth of festivity.They are greeted by smiles, laughs and warmth. Also, by gifts.

Over 120 families gathered to receive donations of coats, gloves, and food boxes December 19th. It is a tradition that has been going on for seven years in which Franklin Park Lincoln car dealership has moved to provide a holiday contribution effort to the community.

Foods like potatoes, apples, whole turkeys and canned goods, along with newly bought winter clothing, were donated to families in need of assistance.

“We try to give back to the community” says event organizer Mike Colbert, who also works with Franklin Park Lincoln.

Families were also welcomed to a hot meal dinner courtesy of community volunteers. On the menu was a generous selection of well prepared chicken breast, fried potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and more served with hot chocolate and tea.

“I just love to cook” said Martin McCabe, who cooked and prepared the hot food. He has been with Mr. Colbert in the annual event’s organization since the beginning. “Unfortunately the world’s gonna keep having poor people”.

Aside from the food and winter wear, local barbers and nail stylists also donated their time and skills for good measure. To the tunes of cheerful music, children were able to get their hair cut and shaped up on the church’s stage and nails polished just off to the side.

Franklin Park Holiday Coats The Toledo Journal

“Lots of people hurting” said Rodney Holmes, an elder at Word of Faith who volunteered to help. “This is a gift in and of itself, of giving back. They need help.” Mr. Holmes moves to serve his community in the way he can. As to the vision of Mr. Colbert of Franklin Park, he gives new winter coats to the families of the community, also food by the box.

He does it all with a hearty and welcoming, yet weighty voice. He also does with a dolly, packed halfway to its top.

Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church hosts Pastor Lewis Savage’s 25th Pastoral Anniversary

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The Toledo Journal Lo Salem Pastoral Anniversary
Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church congregation hosted the 25th Pastoral Anniversary for their Pastor, Lewis Savage, on Saturday, June 10, 2018, held at Bethlehem Fellowship Center, 1430 Bancroft.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church congregation hosted the 25th Pastoral Anniversary for their Pastor, Lewis Savage, on Saturday, June 10, 2018, held at Bethlehem Fellowship Center, 1430 Bancroft. The celebration featured a variety of performances, as well as the presence of local religious leaders.

There was a dinner, praise dancing, a gospel comedy show, and the siblings of Pastor Savage sang to him.

In attendance for the celebration was Minister Chris Bryd, and Bishops MC McGee, and Randal Parker.

Arnisha Bush, president of the Pastor’s Aid Committee, told The Toledo Journal why the recognition and celebration was important.

The Toledo Journal Lo Salem Pastoral Anniv
Pastor Lewis, and First Lady Norma Savage, far right, poses with the Pastor’s Aid Committee.

“We have a God fearing man who stepped up to the challenge of leading the church when his father, and our late Pastor, Harvey Savage Sr. passed,” she said.  “I’ve been a member all my life, and I follow a man, who loves God, and is always available to the members of the church,” Ms. Bush said.

Judy Savage, member of the Pastor’s Aid Committee, and sister to Pastor Savage said, “He has done so much for the church, me, and my children; that’s just a few reasons why he deserve this celebration.”

First Lady Norma Savage has also diligently served God in the leadership for 25 years, as well as the members of Lo Salem. Although being the wife of Pastor Savage, she has worked in number of capacities around the church, including Sunday school teacher, fundraiser, and janitor.

“I feel great, and honored by the celebration today,” Pastor Savage said. “One of the greatest things that I or anyone can do is spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world; there’s no work greater.”

Future plans at Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church include expanding the church facility, opening a center for senior citizens, and youth, and expanding the Martin Luther King Jr. Kitchen for the Poor, Pastor Savage said.

Twenty five under 45 receive “Black Lives Matter” Awards

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CSRN members at the Black Lives Matter Awards are (back L-R) Kwinlyn Tyler, Hadgu Hadgn, Gwen Wilson, Brother Washington Mohammad, Vanessa Avery, Brittany Moore, Ruth Leonard, and Julian Mack, (front L-R) Jodie Summers, Connor Kelly, Myriesha Barber and Gina Frye.

Last Saturday, February 23, 2019, the Community Solidarity Responses Network (CSRN) presented the “Black Lives Matter Awards at the Fredrick Douglass Center. With a theme titled, “25 under 45”, the group celebrated 25 African Americans members of the Toledo community under the age of 45, who are working to improve Toledo’s communities.

Janece Wooley, The Interim Executive Director of the Fredrick Douglass Community Center welcome audience to the Black Lives Matter Awards.

CSRN member Julian Mack said, “We are having this program tonight because it’s important that we reaffirm the positive things that are being done in the community. We want to encourage the younger people in the next generation that’s coming up to continue to do the right thing. Often times, we only hear about the negative things that are going on. When in reality there’s plenty of positive things happening as well.”

Mr. Mack continued by explaining, “We want to reaffirm and lift up those who are doing positive things so that can continue to happen. We want to let them know and recognize them for their efforts, so that more people will hopefully decide, to do the right thing.”

The 25 awardee recipients, were Dave Ross, Danny Ricardi, Timothy V. Pettaway, Patrice McClellen, Keisha Snow-Veley, RaShya Ghee, Leigh Utley, Tiara Armstrong, Lonnie Ghee, Sheena Barnes, Nia Snelling, Veralucia Mendoza, Khadirah Muhammad, Rob Pasker, Lance Self, Mike Rob, Marcus Boyd, Tina Butts, Derrick Brooks, Terrence Pounds Sr., Kwilyn Tyler, Blair Johnson, Montrice Terry, Zia Cooke and Tony Barnes.

Awardees (left to right) Lance Self, Khadirah Muhammad, Timothy V. Pettaway Jr, RaShya Ghee, Terrence Pounds Sr., Blair Johnson, Tiara Armstrong, Montrice Terry, and Dave Ross.

Brother Washington Mohammad, one of the founding members of CSRN added, “We had this program because, we wanted to highlight just some ordinary people in our community, doing some extraordinary things. A lot of people may not have heard of these young men and woman, who are doing wonderful things, so it’s up to us to lift each other up.”

The Black Lives Matter social movement materialized out of a community need, and is today’s core civil rights movement. Just like the original civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter has put a national spotlight on an injustice, and by doing so has somewhat reduced the problem.

When asked where did CSRN come from, CSRN member Ruth Leonard replied, ”The Black Lives Matter movement in Toledo started after the lack of conviction in the case of Michael Brown. After which people in the city were looking for a way to uplift each other and out of that effort the Community Solidarity Responses Network came in to existence.

The Community Solidarity Responses Network meets every Tuesday at 7:30 pm at the Paul-win Center at 1416 Nebraska Ave.

They also may be contacted through the following methods:
Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo
Phone 419-329-8177
csrntoledo@gmail.com
1416 Nebraska Ave
Toledo, OH 43607

Facebook: Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo, Instagram: CSRNToledo,YouTube: Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo, Twitter: @CSRN Toledo, and Gmail: csrntoledo@gmail.com

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo

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AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

For 25 years, the Area Office on Aging, AOA, along with their community partners, have been hosting the Senior Safari at the Toledo Zoo. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle, while re-visiting the zoo, all in an entertaining environment is the purpose of the event. But for 2018, participants received much more when the entertainment on Tuesday, September 18, was Motown’s The Vandellas.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, welcomes the seniors to the event, while Jerry Anderson, retired media personality, and the Master of Ceremony, looks on.

Before being entertained by the legends of Motown, Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, told The Toledo Journal that attendees were first, encouraged to participate in a one mile walk around the zoo. September is “Falls Prevention Month,” she said, and the walk is to bring awareness to falls, and ways to prevent them. Also, the walk encouraged exercising, as one of the ways to help build muscle, and bone, both of which, could help decrease the chances of falling.

“We’re hoping those who participate in the walk, each take at least 10,000 steps today,” Mrs. Johnson said. “One of our partners, Silver Sneakers, donated 100 pedometers, so seniors can keep track of their steps,” she said.

Sarah Vandevender, a pharmacist, said, various things can contribute to falls, such as dizziness. Some medications, as well as having low sodium, and potassium, could increase the chances of falling. Low magnesium, she said, could lead to muscle cramps, which could also increase the chances of falling.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Pete Peterson rolled the dice to see what exercise he had to do. Lunges weren’t a problem for him, being that he works out regularly.

“Always, speak to your pharmacist, or primary care physician, first, about taking preventive measures,” she said.

Following the one mile walk, Silver Sneakers, had four stations set up along the route to the Malawi Event Center, where vendors, lunch, and the performance by The Vandellas would take place. At each station, seniors would roll large dice that had six different exercises on each side. Jumping jacks, lunges, and leg lifts, were among some of the exercises that participants were encourage to do. Every senior that participated in an exercise, at each station, would receive a free gift.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
The Vandellas made their way through the crowd, people stood up and danced, including Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, seen on the left.

Once inside the Malawi Center, numerous vendors focusing on healthy lifestyle, or services offered to seniors, passed out information about what they offered, gave health screenings, or distributed free fruit.

After a healthy lunch, attendees were treated to 30 minute performance by The Vandellas, in which many seniors could be seen dancing to the group’s songs.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Lucy Mayer had to get a dance in with the Vandellas.

At the entrance into the zoo, seniors prepare for their one mile walk. The goal of the day was each walker tries to reach 10,000 steps.

Pastor Melvin Barnes celebrates seventeenth Pastoral Anniversary

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The Toledo Journal Greater Faith Fellowship
From left are Pastor Melvin, and his wife, and co-Pastor, Jeanette Barnes, and Robin Wilson, fiancée to Pastor Floyd Smith Jr. of Calvary Baptist Church.

By Journal Staff Writer

Greater Faith Fellowship Church, 1544 S. Byrne Rd, celebrated the anniversary of their Pastor, Melvin Barnes, as their leader of 17 years. Held on Sunday, May 27th, the milestone event featured local leaders delivering the Word of God, and given testimony about the character of Pastor Barnes.

Patrice Poellnitz, lead trustee, told The Toledo Journal the anniversary celebration started on May 20 when some of the members of Friendship Baptist Church attended the service, while their Pastor, Bishop Dwayne Tisdale, delivered the Word.

May 27th featured two services. Elder Stephen Bufford of Greater Faith Fellowship delivered the morning’s keynote address, while the afternoon service was conducted by Pastor Floyd Smith, Jr. of Calvary Baptist Church.

“Our theme is ‘honoring the leader that watches over our soul,’ and the success of our destiny comes from our Pastor,” Ms. Poellnitz said.

During Pastor Barnes’ 17 year tenor, Ms. Poellnitz said she has seen a tremendous growth in her spiritual development.

“Trust in God, and put Him first in your life, and you will see changes in your life,” she said.

“I’m speechless, and impressed,” Pastor Barnes said, regarding the work put into the celebration. “They put a lot of work into this event, with very little assistance from me,” he said.

Pastor Barnes said that although the congregation is young, they were able to successfully plan and execute the anniversary that people from much more experienced congregations, would be able to do, and that he said, made him proud of his members.

Greater Faith Fellowship Church’s future plans include reestablishing themselves in the inner city in order to better serve the community.

“By having a church, within the inner city, we’ll be able to be a bigger blessing to the community,” Pastor Barnes said.

City of Toledo hosts Annual Pumpkin-A-Rama

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City of Toledo Pumpkinarama | The Toledo Journal

By Michelle Martin, Journal Staff

Toledo citizens gathered together as parents, goblins, fairies, and  princesses at Ottawa Park on Saturday, October 20th, at the Liz Pierson Open Air Shelter in Ottawa Park from noon until 2 p.m. This was the 10th Annual Pumpkin-A-Rama sponsored by The City of Toledo’s Department of Recreation.

Phyllis Johnson, who has attended a few Pumpkin-A-Rama events in the past says, “I love when the time comes around for the Pumpkin-A-Rama. Its just an awesome, awesome  for the family. And I’m enjoying it!”

City of Toledo Pumpkinarama | The Toledo Journal

A mother who attended for the very first time, Kaitlynne Grey,  says “It’s nice. Really nice. The kid’s favorite part was the horse ride. They really enjoyed it.”

Children and even a few adults were dressed in Halloween costumes to take advantage of the FREE festivities provided by the City of Toledo. Families could ride in a horse carriage around the park. Free pumpkins and apples were given to the community and candy was collected as an early trick or treat! There was also a line for buttery popcorn, donuts of many tastes (including apple donuts!). Of course there was a line for the famous fall drink, apple cider.

City of Toledo Pumpkinarama | The Toledo Journal

DJ services were provided by Michael Baginski from Decorative Sound, which kept the Pumpkin-A-Rama fun and relaxed. Children and adults danced to many songs and DJ Michael Baginski’s voice over kept the crowd hype, happy, and involved.

Toledo’s FREE Pumpkin-A-Rama is planned and put together each year by The City of Toledo Department of Parks and Recreation. All food and drinks were purchased from various vendors.

City of Toledo Pumpkinarama | The Toledo Journal

City of Toledo Pumpkinarama | The Toledo Journal
Rihanna_knighten, age 3, stands with her big brother, Romaile Knighten, age 7

Aaron Meyers, Division Supervisor of Department of Recreation explained, “The purpose of this event is to bring the community out and to enjoy the fall atmosphere. We just want to bring smiles to kids’ faces and have a family-fun event that all citizens of Toledo can enjoy together.”

A King’s first Queen hosted by MLK Academy for Boys

A King’s first Queen hosted by MLK Academy for Boys
LaTasha Poole and her son Marvell Curtis boogie on down the Soul Train line. Marvell began reminding his mother, regularly, one month prior to the event.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

Heading into the week of the Third Annual Mother/Son Dance, with the theme, ”A King’s first Queen,” which was held on Friday, May 11, at Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, 1300 Forest Avenue, the halls, and classrooms were filled with chatter about the upcoming dance. Overly excited boys constantly talked about what they and their mothers were going to wear, according to Sheila Cook, planner of the event, and community family resource coordinator, at the school.

Willie Ward, left, principal, and William White, assistant principal, show the boys they still know how to dance.

As the mothers were escorted in by their kings, both walked down a red carpet leading into the gymnasium, where the event was being held. And similar to red carpet events in Hollywood, both had the opportunity to pose for the paparazzi’s pictures.

The king, and his first queen, would do line and slow dances, as well as the always popular party favorite Soul Train line, before finally sitting down to a catered dinner by J’Maes Home Cooking.

A King’s first Queen hosted by MLK Academy for Boys
Lanette Peacock, and her son William, show off their dance moves. Ms. Peacock said going into the event, her son wouldn’t stop talking about it.

Ms. Cook told The Toledo Journal that since the school was for boys, it would be a good idea to have a mother/son dance. And since it was two days before Mother’s Day, it would also be a good idea to serve dinner; a type of early Mother’s Day gift, Ms. Cook said.

Lanette Peacock was with her son William. She also has two girls, and doesn’t get to spend as much time as she would like with William.

“This is so awesome,” she said. I really love attending this event with him. All week, he was so excited about it, and kept constantly reminding me about the dance. As long as he’s attending, we will be coming,” Ms. Peacock said.

A King’s first Queen hosted by MLK Academy for Boys
A total of 140 kings, and their first queens were in attendance; a number that grows yearly.

LaTasha Poole was with her son Marvell Curtis. She said he started talking about the dance a month ago, and didn’t stop reminding her about the event.

“I love it,” she said. “We come every year, and it gets better and better,” Ms. Poole said.

Willie Ward, principal, said, “The moms are always there for their sons to help with their education, and just to love them; so tonight is for both the moms and their sons. Here, at Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, one of our objectives is to teach the boys how to treat, and respect a woman,” he said.

Woodward alumni awards scholarships to graduating seniors

Woodward alumni awards scholarships to graduating seniors
Receiving scholarships of $500 each, and standing with Woodward alumni are, standing center, JaRoya Ector, Shamar Williams, and Tayviauna Holmes.

By Journal Staff Writer

Woodward High School All-Class Reunion Committee and C.H. Barnett Construction awarded three scholarships to graduating high school seniors on Tuesday, May 8, at Woodward High School 701 E. Central Avenue. The awarding of the scholarships took place during the annual Senior Banquet.

The scholarships were awarded based on grades, and community, and school involvement, and valued at $500.00 each. The recipients were Tayviauna Holmes, Shamar Williams, and JaRoya Ecter.

Woodward alumni awards scholarships to graduating seniors
Woodward alumni awards scholarships to graduating seniors

Sheila Daniels-Bell is co-chair of the committee and a 1978 graduate. She told The Toledo Journal they just wanted to give back to the students of Woodward.

“Having scholarships for college is so important,” she said. “The money can go to books, living expenses, or whatever, but the money will make a difference,” Mrs. Daniels-Bell said.

Jeanne Cranon-Fuqua is the owner of C.H. Barnett Construction, as well as serving as the co-chair for the Woodward High School All-Class Committee. She is a 1977 graduate of Woodward High School. Her mom, aunt, and cousins attended Woodward. Two of the three scholarships are being sponsored by her construction company, that’s named after her grandfather.

“It’s an honor to be sponsoring the scholarships in my grandfather’s name. Although he didn’t attend Woodward, he grew up in the area and sent my mom and aunt to the school,” she explained.

“I didn’t know I was getting this scholarship,” Shamar said. “I’m shocked, and grateful.” He will be attending the University of Toledo majoring in music.

Tayviauna said she was happy, and thankful to receive money to go to her college education. She will be majoring in social work at the University of Toledo.

“I’m just really excited,” said JaRoya. She, too, will be attending the University of Toledo majoring in engineering.

The Woodward High School All-Class Reunion committee members are Sheila Daniels-Bell, Jeanne Cranon-Fuqua, Yvonne Harper, Margaret Wiggins, Marion Bell, Burrow Alexander III, Sharon McAlister-Collier, and Kimberly Dixon.

United Missionary Baptist Church celebrates 35th anniversary

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United Missionary Baptist Church celebrates 35th anniversary | The Toledo Journal
The Anniversary Committee with, from left, guest speaker, Pastor Roderick Pounds, Rev. Robert Bass, senior pastor, and Julia Holt, founding member, and chairperson of the Trustee Board.

By Journal Staff Writer

For 35 years, the members of United Missionary Baptist Church, 2705 Monroe St, have been worshipping God, and inviting others to that worship. On Sunday, October 14, they celebrated their 35th anniversary by recognizing how far they’ve advanced as a congregation, and where they still, have yet to go.

Participating in the celebration were some of the members of Second Baptist Church in Akron, Ohio. Their Pastor, Roderick Pounds served as the keynote speaker.

Spearheading that celebration was Julia Holt, chairperson of the Trustee Board, and charter member of United Missionary Baptist Church. She told The Toledo Journal what keeps her actively involved at her church. “The members are very loving, and we work well together, plus, they have a genuine love for God,” she said.

As an extension to their anniversary celebration, the members hosted an afternoon fundraiser to further continue church renovations, as well as add to their scholarship fund, and continue their community outreach programs.

Entitled, “A Taste of Culture,” the fundraiser consisted of members of the church dividing up in four groups, with each group taking one of four regions, of the United States. The group then, preparde dishes that are indigenous to that particular region. Attendees would have the opportunity to taste those particular dishes. Further, each group would highlight the history of African Americans from that particular region of the country.

Rev. Robert Bass has been the head Pastor for 15 years. He said the anniversary celebration gives the members the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of the past 35 years, which helps them better map out, their future endeavors.

“One of the biggest obstacles we had to overcome is paying off a 30 year mortgage, in 16 years, with less people than we originally had,” he said. Rev. Bass said that being free of a mortgage, frees up the minds of the congregation, and puts them in a better position to focus on outreach programs, for example.

Rev. Bass further stated that, one of his short term objectives is having the church serve as a technological, and community focal point. “I want this church to be the center piece of the community, where people can come turn to, and get any kind of help they need,” he said.

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.”