Church History

frontFirst Missionary Baptist Church was organized on July 11, 1872, about thirteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed setting the Negro race free. Negroes were allowed to worship at the Whites’ Baptist church and the White ministers taught them, and as they learned, their faith in the Baptist Doctrine increased. After a period of teaching, they were advised to establish a church for themselves with the work of the church in its entirety. The persons attending the church at this time were from Perote, Luverne and many other places. The Reverend Wright of Perote was called as Pastor. The church was declared a Regularly Constituted Independent Missionary Baptist Church. People came from all around to hear the Reverend Wright preach. He was called “John the Baptist.”

The first baptismal service of the church was held in 1873. The first regular church services were held in a bush arbor and later the little flock saw the need for building their first church. The church building was constructed on Lake Street. It was known as the “Baptist Bottom Church.” The land includ¬ed three acres that was paid for by the men of the church. The congregation increased to 60 members. Reverend Wright was Pastor for nine years, and he died at his post.

After searching and prayerful meditation, the church made choice of Reverend Mack Lowery as pastor. The congregation grew, and it became necessary to remodel and enlarge the church. On the same plot of ground where the church stood, a school was built. It was known as the Lake Street Baptist Academy. Due to progress, the people became dissatisfied with the church in the bottom and the present church site was pur-chased, and in July 1906, the structure was completed. Moving day was set for July 29th of the same year. On that day, the Pastor, officers, Sunday School, Missionary Society, and all 700 members moved to the new building. After 26 years of ser¬vice, Reverend Lowery passed in 1917.

Several ministers were called. During the administration of Reverend Wilson, the church was reorganized having 24 departments. To the vast church membership, ninety-four members were added. The total indebtedness of the church was paid. In 1957, during the administration of Reverend R. J. Smith, the church was destroyed by fire. Following the fire, the church family banded very closely together and church services were conducted at the Academy Street School and the Masonic Hall.

The church made financial strides during the administration of Reverend Hughes. An annex to the existing church structure was added. It served numerous purposes. When Reverend Hughes was called to serve other churches, Reverend Alford, a national, state, district, and local leader, was chosen to lead the church. He kept the church in high spirits at all times. Some of the now existing church organizations were begun during Reverend Alford’s Administration. The church was enlarged.

The present site church was built under the administration of the Reverend Collier. On the second Sunday in October 1959, the members with Reverend Collier marched from the Masonic Hall to the present edifice. During Reverend Collier’s administration, as during the preceding administration, the church suffered many official losses. These included Dr. W. J. Bryant, Deacon Whitehurst, Deacon Anderson, Brother James McLaney, and Reverend Collier. In 1965, the church made choice of Reverend Albert McCorvey. Under his administration, the church debt was paid off, the pastorium repaired, and the lot next to the church was purchased.

In 1971, he resigned to accept Pastorate in Columbus, Georgia.

The church made choice of Dr. H. B. Vincent in 1971. During his administration, many members were added to the flock, a new pastorium was built, an educational building was constructed, an organ was purchased, ten (10) Deacons received ordination, the Junior and Celestial Chorus was reorganized, a bus was purchased, youth fellowship was organized, a yearbook was published for the church, and we held the Banner from the Women’s State Convention for four (4) years. During the Reverend Vincent’s administration, the church suffered many official losses: Deacon Wallace Whaley, Deacon Jessie Copeland, Brother Howard Jackson, Brother Willie Starks, Brother Sam Newby, Deacon Frank Curtis and Deacon Eddie Holland.

Reverend J. F. Caphart became the Pastor in May 1977, he was known as the “Singing Preacher.” He and his family brought inspiration to our congregation and our congregation increased. New furniture for the parsonage and a PA system was purchased. Deacon John Frank Carlton and Deacon Ezell Copeland (who drove the church bus) passed during this administration. Reverend Kinney was called to serve our congregation. He was strong in doctrine and new members were added under his administration. Upon his departure, Rev. Kennedy served as interim pastor.

In August 1981, the church called Reverend George Gilchrist, Jr. He and his wife are an inspiration to and for the members of this church. The church has grown spiritually, morally and financially. Under his leadership, new members have been added to the flock, seven (7) Deacons were appointed, a Junior Deacons Ministry was developed, and the gospel chorus and male Ushers Ministry have been reorganized. New carpet, light fixtures and land for the driveway were purchased, and the mortgage burned. In 1995, the church was remodeled; the sanctuary was completely renovated with the choir loft enlarged, and a cathedral ceiling with hanging light fixtures. Deacon Alphonsa Byrd, Sr. volunteered to supervise the construction. During the year the renovation was in process the mayor, Jimmy Lunsford, permitted the congregational services to be held at the Community Complex each Sunday. On Sunday, January 22, 1995, the members were escorted by the police as they march from the Community Complex to the newly remodeled edifice. Prior to this time several key members passed away, which included Deacon Eddie K. Jones, who served as secretary treasurer for forty-plus years; Ezekiel Potts, who served as Usher Ministry President for a number of years; and Deacon B.T. Warren who served as Benevolent Treasurer for many years. On June 1, 1997, a church van dedication service was held to honor a primary contributor, Sister Annie L. McNabb and family, who contributed a sizeable sum toward the purchase of a new 15-passenger church van. In addition, Sister Melvere Warren contribution, as well as the collective church body, made the purchase of the van possible. Under Rev. Gilchrist’s Administration a computer ministry, F.M.B.C. Print Ministry, was initiated which enables the church to produce in-house programs, financial records, a church directory, etc.

In January 2000, property was purchased in multiple locations within the city of Troy from Deacon Alphonsa Byrd, Sr. and family. After the passing of Deacon Byrd in March 2000, Deacon Major Lane was appointed Chairman of the Deacon’s Ministry, and Deacon Victor Howard was appointed Benevolent Treasurer and Assistant Chairman of the Deacon’s Ministry. Deacon Major Lane supervised the renovation of the houses, and was instrumental in securing the services of Wayne Grant, a building contractor, who remodeled several of the houses and allowed the church to repay the cost a one-year period. Several houses next to the church were demolished and a three-sectioned parking lot was paved. In addition, property on a corner lot was renovated and named the F.M.B.C. Family Worship Center. The “Center” was remodeled with dining facilities and accommodations for Bible Study, Sunday school, etc. For this undertaking, Trustees and Deacons Hosea Henderson, Dan Green, Herman Whaley and Robert Jones, signed the necessary legal documents.

In 2001, a portion of Brundidge Street was renamed Alphonsa Byrd Sr. Drive, in honor of Deacon Alphonsa Byrd, Sr., the first African-American city Councilman in Troy. In March 2003, the church published a cookbook titled “Recipes from the Heart,” a collection of culinary recipes from the membership. In August 2003, the fellowship hall was remodeled, which included an expansion of the pastor’s study and the installation of the “Wall of Faith,” recognizing those who contributed in financing the project. For this undertaking, Deacon Herman Whaley, Deacon Willie McGuire and Deacon Hosea Henderson signed the necessary legal documents, and Deacon Major Lane supervised the overall project. In September 2005, the “Bread Basket Ministry” was implemented to provide food from the Montgomery Area Food Bank to eligible persons and families in the Troy area. In 2007, a clothing ministry was implemented.