Our History – 20th Century
Please review this brief timeline to learn about the history of this church and some events that have taken place over the last 98 years.
Pastor D.W. Harold, Deacon Mahew, and Evangelist Luedesta Simon came to Bay Shore to establish The Bethany Baptist Church. They came from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Babylon, Long Island, A rented tent raised in an open field, became the first meeting place. A three-week revival was conducted. Sisters Julia Mahew, Willie Mae Thomas, Sadie Woods, Minnie Griffin, and Brother Eli Hicks joined the original founders. They met in Deacon Mahew’s home for regular church services.
They purchased four lots on Second Avenue for $450.00. Brother Hicks drew the plans for the church building. Deacon Mahew provided the masonry work. They used $25.00 worth of used lumber for the framing and flooring. An old-fashioned parlor stove heated the church.
September 16, 1921, this faithful, hard working group, which by this time had increased in number, proudly entered the new church for its first service and dedication. An old upright piano was played by the church’s first pianist, Sister Julia Mahew.
Pastor Cook followed Pastor Harold as the next pastor in 1926. Brother Eli Hicks donated his services and a full basement was added. He laid the cornerstone on the north side. During this time, Brother Hicks was licensed to preach by Pastor Cook.
Pastor Troup was called to the church and served as pastor until 1932.
The church was incorporated and renamed First Baptist Church of Bay Shore. Incorporation papers were signed by Pastor Lindsay Troup, Brother George L. Holmes, Trustee Sister Agnes Wagner and Minister Eli Hicks.
For eleven years, Pastor Jesse Middleton, through a period of economic hard times, served as pastor. Though faith and perseverance, First Baptist continued to grow and meet its financial obligations.
Pastor J.R. Mack followed Pastor Middleton and served the church for one year, by this time, the church had worked up to a hot air furnace with a large grate in the middle of the floor. Deacon Preston Hurt served as fireman for the furnace.
Pastor D’Antiquac followed Pastor Mack. The church paid off a mortgage of two thousand dollars. The mortgage was held by Attorney Westrope. He donated five hundred dollars and the church raised one thousand five hundred dollars and cleared the debt. Pastor D’Antiquac was with the church one year when he succumbed to food poisoning and died suddenly.
Pastor Bittner became the next pastor. During his tenure, the original structure was enlarged. Trustee Henry Beaman and Deacon Dave Hurt were the primary carpenters, Deacon Preston Hurt served as their assistant. Trustee Beaman also did the plumbing. The original pool was installed at this time. Before the pool was installed, Pastor Bittner baptized in the Great South Bay, which was then known as Benjamin’s Beach. Now it is known as The Marina. Pastor Bittner resigned in 1950.
Pastor Edward L. Haywood was called to First Baptist with a membership of 60 persons. Members sat on folding chairs. Under his vigorous leadership, pews, a Spinet piano, and an organ were acquired. A raised acoustical ceiling, carpeting, fluorescent lighting, a kitchen, a dining room, and interior rest rooms were also added. The heating system was changed to modern fuel oil.
The Long Island Railroad donated and transported its Railroad Express Building to the church. The men of the church laid the foundation for the building, which became the first Youth Center.
The Choir was organized under the direction of Sister Ada Lemons. Recommendations, which were the forerunner of the Constitution and By-laws, were presented and approved at a business on November 11, 1959.
The first Sunday Nursery School was established in the Youth Center. Pastor Haywood appointed Deacon/Trustee James A. Smith as Building Chairman to enlarge the present structure. In his role, he engaged and supervised carpenters, electricians, etc. Pastor Haywood died in 1965.
Sister Nancy Farmer was licensed to preach the Gospel under the Pastorate of Pastor Haywood.
Following the death of Pastor Haywood, Pastor Sidney S. Jones, who had served as Assistant Pastor, was elected Pastor. During his pastorate, the steeple was raised and the chimes were installed. Deacon George Stephens and Brother Richard Logan were licensed and ordained to preach and became assistant pastors. Pastor Logan went on to become the Pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, in Brentwood, New York.
The Emergency Club, the Junior Emergency Club, and the E. L. Haywood Memorial Fund and Committee were established. Sister Marjorie H. Jones started the Sunshine Choir and along with Deaconess Mamie Holmes started the Seventy-Year Jewels Program.
Pastor Jones left the church. Pastor George Stephens served as interim pastor while the church searched ten months for a pastor.
Pastor Albert L. Brown was installed as Pastor in January 1974. Elder Stephens stayed on as a wise and loving assistant to Pastor Brown. Pastor Brown emphasized Christian education, established the Baptist Training Union, the Minister’s Council, and the weekly prayer service, the A. L. Brown Ensemble and the Eight O’clock Choir were established during this year.
The church parsonage was purchased and the church celebrated the liquidation of the church mortgage with a Mortgage Burning Ceremony.
After ten years of meeting with builders, architects and lawyers, ground was broken for the new building program on June 14, 1981. Many members pledged and paid one thousand dollars or more to the building fund. From June 15, through September 26, carpenters electricians, and plumbers worked in all kinds of weather, culminating in an all day glorious Dedication Service.
During this period work continued on the church and kerosene stoves and portable toilets were called into service. Fellowship Baptist Church in Wyandanch, New York and their Pastor, Elder Dowden shared their baptismal pool for our baptisms. Worship services and most other activities continued without interruption.
As a result of Pastor Brown’s teaching and preaching, Brothers: Charles Taylor, Ernest Hargett, Donald Jackson Jr., Ralph Burton, Harry Capers, Earl Wingfield, John Miller, James Ervin, Ron Fearron; Sisters: Marjorie H. Jones, Willie Pearl Manning, Adah Miller, Jennifer Jackson, Linda Ashby, Linda Cornigans, Anna Rose Johnson, Jacqueline Hawkins and Andrea Sampson were called and licensed to preach. Of this group, two were ordained, Elder James Ervin and Elder Charles Taylor. Elder James Ervin was later called to pastor the Faith Community Baptist Church in Centereach, New York. He served there until he became ill. Elder Charles B. Taylor succeeded him in 1983.
History was made again in 1983, when First Baptist became the landlord to homes at 167 Second Avenue and 62 Harrison Avenue. These properties were rented out.
In March, the stained glass windows were installed.
In May, the Men’s Club was reactivated, and the concrete steps, the iron railings, and the ramp were completed.
Elder Adel Green Jr. was voted in as assistant to the pastor.
Wall-to-wall carpeting was installed, and the air conditioning system became fully functional.
In September, the intercom telephone system was installed and Sister Florence Brown reestablished the Tiny Tots Nursery in the old Fellowship Hall.
On April 1st, the landscaping project was started. On May 11th, First Baptist had its first television taping service. Four thirty minutes segments were taped. Pastor Brown and Elder Green did the preaching. All of the music groups sang.
July 15th the new pews were delivered to the church. In early August the new Pictorial Directory was completed.
September 29th, First Baptist worshipped without electric lights because of the loss of power due to Hurricane Gloria, September 27th.
October 27th, Minister Marjorie Harris Jones was ordained. She was the first woman in the history of First Baptist Church to be so honored by the Lord.
Sister Zena Pace was licensed to preach the Gospel during the year of 1986.
January 5th, Sister Margie Stewart was licensed to preach.
March 29th, another high day in the Lord, we celebrated when the remodeling mortgage was burned. Brother Julius Bostic videotaped the event for the church of today and tomorrow.
In May, the Hour of Power, a 6:00 – 7:00 a.m. Prayer Service on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was started.
July 1st, the building at First and Harrison was purchased.
After an extensive remodeling project, on April 24th, the First Baptist Annex, 67 Harrison Avenue, was officially dedicated.
In May, the property of Mary Alice Scott was purchased. Sister Scott was the church’s historian in the late 1960’s.
A new Baby Grand piano was dedicated on September 18th.
On November 6th, walking deacons: Ellis Bell, Leroy Behling, Alfred Weeks, and Harry Francis Sr. were ordained Deacons.
The Food Pantry was started in the old Fellowship Hall and was later relocated in the new Church Annex.
A Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, New Way was started with a weekly Friday Night meeting under the direction of Brother Tom Thomas.
The National Council of Negro Women, Youth Division, founded the Hi-Tech computer and office skills. Sister Virginia Bull was instrumental in appropriating this opportunity for the community. The school was housed in an area in the basement of the church.
On February 25th, Brother Rayford Zeno was licensed to preach.
In May, Sister Clementine Tunstall was licensed to preach.
On October 15th, Partners in Education was organized under the leadership of Daphine Somerville with the purpose of developing a forum in which parents, teachers, and friends of youth could explore ideas for improving academic and social skills of youth in the community.
Sunday, April 21st, walking deacons: Herbert George, Raymond Jackson, and John Williams were ordained Deacons.
Friday, June 21st, a program called Youth Fellowship was begun with the stated objective of providing recreational development for the youth of the church and community twice monthly.
July 20th, the Youth Mass Choir, a combination of the Sunshine and Young Adult Choir, gave a history-making concert in their first joint effort. Brother Jason Bowles, a former Sunshine Choir member, organized and directed this singing group.
August 11th, history was truly made in First Baptist, when not one, but three ministers: Willie Pearl Manning, Ellis Bell, and Harry Francis Sr. were ordained as Elders to preach the gospel and were authorized to perform all the ordinances of the Baptist church.
In the early summer, a training program for Trustee Aides was developed. The trainees were: Sister Stephanie Bowles, Brothers Keith Monroe, Otis Martin, and John Howerton Sr.
The New Way Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous extended its Friday meetings to Monday nights to include the general public.
A Family Pictorial Directory was done.
In November, the Tiny Tots Nursery was remodeled with the installation of wall-to-wall carpeting and the purchase of new juvenile furniture.
In April, the Johnny White Night Club was demolished.
In May, the revised Constitution and By-laws were adopted and the E. L. Scholarship Committee was renamed the First Baptist Church Scholarship Committee.
On June 14th, Deacon Alfred Weeks was licensed to preach.
In January, the Youth Council became an official auxiliary of First Baptist Church
The parking lot was enclosed with ropes and posts.
In February, the Youth Mass Choir was renamed the Florence A. Brown Youth Mass Choir.
In April, audiotapes of the morning church services became available for purchase for the first time.
On May 22nd, a huge yellow tent was raised in the parking lot to provide the setting for a “For a Friends and Family Workshop” as part of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the raising of the tent in 1918. Members and friends of all ages shared their ideas, food and spiritual joy. Pastor Gloria and Pastor Beresford Adams conducted a very informative and inspirational workshop. The dream includes such projects as a Senior and Children Day Care Center, Recreation Youth Center, Credit Union and Job training Center to make a difference in the church and community.
On September 26, 1993 at Time-Capsule was placed in the landing of the back steps of the church to be opened on the church’s 100th Anniversary
September, Elder Harry Francis Sr. became assistant to the Pastor.
In June Sister Bonnie Cobbs was licensed to preach.
February 19th, Sister Carleen Shaw and Brother Bruce Edmonds were licensed to preach.
July 16th, Brother Jason Bowles was licensed to preach.
December 3rd, Sister Ulonda Jemmott was licensed to preach.
In April, the name of the Men’s Club was changed to Men for Christ Ministry.
Deacon Richard Corbett was accepted to the Deacon Board of First Baptist
January 28th, Minister Rayford Zeno was ordained Elder of First Baptist Church.
June 23rd, Brothers: Demostenes Jemmott, Otis Martin, Irving H. Toliver, Aaron Wilson Sr. were ordained as Deacons in a highly spiritual ceremony.
June 23rd, Sister Eloise Bennett was licensed to preach.
A second Family Pictorial Directory was done.
The Security team was set-up for the safety of First Baptist.
A new 16-passenger church van was purchased.
In May, First Baptist Church participated in the March for Jesus.
June 8th, Sister Harriet Gilliam was licensed to preach.
September 19th, First Baptist Church held a Health Fair sponsored by the Health Concerns Committee.
December 14th, Brother Moses Greene III and Sister Lillie Jean Francis were licensed to preach.
February 8th, Sister Frances L. Bell is licensed to preach.
First Baptist adopted a sister church in St. Andros, Bahamas.
Revitalization Committee was established as the liaison between the Town’s Building advancements and the First Baptist Church’s interests.