First Missionary Baptist Church, Inc.
c. 1900 ~ 2016
What is now First Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1900, with the first church site purchased 1904 under the leadership of Rev. J. H. Rhoe. It was located on Wilkes Street opposite Grady Bolton’s residence. No church building was ever constructed on this site.
A group of men won support to relocate to the site where the church is now located on the corner of Wilkes and Princess Streets. The re-location was due to the fact that a house was situated on this site. This house was used as a church building for a short time. The main leaders at that time were: Rev. John H. Wilson and Deacons F. T. Green, Wilson Mead, and T. L. Smith. This group of men won the majority of the people because they each had a house and were property owners. These men coordinated the purchase of two (2) lots, 50 feet by approximately 150 feet each.
The first church was known as Chadbourn Chapel Baptist Church. It was a member of the Kinston Lake Association.
Rev. J. D. Harell, who served as pastor from 1905 to 1927 (and who was also President of the Lumber River Baptist Association, Lumberton, NC), initiated the name change of the church to St. Stephen Baptist Church. The church then joined the Lumber River Baptist Association. Deacons serving under Rev. J. D. Harrell were: T. T. Greene, Wilson Mead, Alvia Best, E. Lewis, Ken Ellis, C. C. Currie, and Mitchell Lawrence. The church clerks under Rev. Harrell were Peter Lawrence, Jim McDuffie, and M. D. Currie. Rev. Harrell oversaw the construction of a new church building. The church was also remodeled during his tenure as pastor.
Sudden illness claimed the life of Rev. J. D. Harrell in July 1927. Rev. Willie L. Reaves, assistant pastor, served from July to November 1927. Rev. W. C. Pope came in 1927 and stayed until 1934. Under Rev. Pope's administration, the following deacons were added: M. D. Currie, Joe Newkirk, Peter Davis, and Johnnie Roundtree. During Rev. Pope's time as pastor, a new church was built. Rev. Pope resigned in May 1934, and Rev. Willie L. Reaves was again called to serve from May 1934 until November 1934.
Rev. D. C. Gore served as pastor from 1934 to 1956 and the deacons that served under his administration were: Lushion McClennon, Allen Ford, George Campbell, and A. J. Ward. The church clerks were M. D. Currie, R. W. Riggins, and A. J. Ward. Due to Rev. Gore’s illness, Rev. Willie L. Reaves served a third term as interim pastor until Rev. I. B. Horton was called to preach in 1957.
Under the leadership of Rev. I. B. Horton, the educational portion of St. Stephens was torn down, and the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of a new church building was held on Sunday, June 5, 1960. The present Fellowship Hall was erected and served as the worship center while the old St. Stephens sanctuary was dismantled. During Fall Revival in October 1961, 30 new members were added to the church roll. The name of the church was officially changed to First Baptist Church on January 15, 1962. The present sanctuary was completed and became the main worship center in May 1962. When built, the new church sanctuary had an estimated value of $75,000. The formal dedication of this sanctuary was on July 15, 1962. Albenney McKoy Burney succeeded A. J. Ward as church clerk. Rev. Horton reactivated the B.T.U. and organized a "Tot Choir." Rev. Horton also led our church to give more to Foreign Mission, Oxford Orphanage, and Shaw University.
Rev. J. E. Barber began pastoring the church in 1967 after Rev. Horton resigned. The current pews were purchased and the church was carpeted during his tenure. The "Mortgage Burning Service" for the church was held on Sunday, November 23, 1975 at 3:30 pm. Rev. Barber served as pastor until 1982.
Following Rev. Barber, Rev. George Green served as interim pastor until Rev. Henry D. Jones, Sr. was chosen as pastor. Rev. Jones had served as a visiting minister prior to his appointment as pastor. He served about 8 years.
In March of 1991 Rev. Jesse L. Timmons became pastor. Under his leadership, the name of the church was changed from First Baptist Church to First Missionary Baptist Church. The parking lot was paved, a van was purchased, rooms in the educational wing became memorialized, the church bell was dedicated, and the church became incorporated. A Christian Education Ministry, Health Care Ministry, and Liturgical Dance Mininstry ("Divine Inspirations") were initiated. Church deacons were Thurman Lesane, George Reaves, Arthur Grainger, and Daniel Rorie. During Pastor Timmons' leadership, Charles Gore, Darrell Reaves, and Wilford Rorie were ordained as deacons, with Rev. Jonita Williams ordained in November 2003. Minister Alban Burney and Minister Phylisa F. Kelly preached their initial sermons under the tutelage of Pastor Timmons as well.
Pastor Timmons resigned in August 2005, and the church was without a pastor for approximately 15 months. Deacon Thurman Lesane, as Chairman of the Deacon Board, acted as our church leader while we searched for a pastor. In April 2006 Rev. Adolphus Lawrence re-joined FMBC as a member; in June 2006 Rashad Roberts was ordained as a deacon; and in August 2006 Rev. Alban Burney was ordained and Roosevelt Lawrence was ordained as a deacon. While the church was without a pastor, Rev. Jonita Williams, Rev. Adolphus Lawrence, Rev. Alban Burney, Minister Phylisa F. Kelly, and dozens of candidates for the pulpit presented the message each Sunday.
In November 2006, Rev. Lionel E. Cartwright was elected Pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Cartwright was installed as Pastor by Rev. Dr. John D. Fuller, Sr., Senior Pastor of Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC on February 18, 2007. During his tenure at First Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Cartwright initiated the following programs and ministries: Back-to-School Sunday; Children’s Church; Church Website; Community Outreach Feeding Ministry; Educational Success and Promotion Sunday; Family and Community Educational Forum; Family and Fun Day; FMBC Leadership Retreat; Music Ministry Clinic; New Members Ministry; Noon Day Prayer Circle Ministry; Nursing Home Ministry; Publicity Ministry; Educational, Tutoring, and Mentoring Ministry; Voices of Praise Children's Choir; Women's Ministry; Young Adult Choir; and other programs. Effective June 30, 2013, Pastor Cartwright resigned as Pastor of FMBC.
A "Pastoral Search Committee" was formed under the leadership of Bro. Milton Frink, Chairperson. While the church was without a Pastor for thirteen (13) months, Deacon Charles Gore, Chairman of the Deacon Board, was our church leader. Our pulpit associates, Rev. Jonita Williams, Rev. Adolphus Lawrence, Rev. Phylisa F. Kelly, Elder Colene Kelly, Minister Perry Frink, and the various candidates for the pulpit provided the congregation with the Word each Sunday. Rev. Dr. A. Roger Reddick was selected as Pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church on July 25, 2014. First Missionary Baptist Church celebrated it's "Annual Homecoming & 114th Church Anniversary" on Sunday, August 31, 2014. The Homecoming message was rendered by Rev. Dr. Reddick with a theme of "New Beginnings." Effective September 30, 2014, Rev. Dr. Reddick resigned.
On October 27, 2014, the First Missionary Baptist Church family was proud and elated that Rev. Virgil Reaves accepted the will of our church family to be our Pastor. Rev. Reaves joined our church family after years of experience as an Associate Pastor at Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC. On December 28, 2014 Rev. Dr. John D. Fuller, Sr., Pastor of Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, installed Rev. Reaves as Pastor. During the tenure of Pastor Reaves, the church was remodeled with new carpeting and upgrades to pews and other furniture. And a state of the art audio-video ministry was established. Pastor Reaves has increased the active membership of the church by adding over 30 new souls to Christ. The church has been energized by Pastor Reaves, who is a highly effective and visible Pastor, Teacher, Preacher, and Leader on the church, local, county, district, and state-wide level. Our church participation in Missions has also increased. Pastor Reaves believes that God can use anyone for kingdom building, and that kingdom building requiers a Faith Walk with Christ. Pastor Reaves truly practices what he preaches!
To our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be the GLORY!
First Missionary Baptist Church, Inc.
Celebrating 116 Years of Service