HOUSTON- African-American News&Issues presents: Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Fourth Ward’s Freedmen’s Town Community. Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1898 according to the Houston City Directors. The church was located in the 1100 block of Chambers and Lion Street, on the northeast corner in the original Freedman Town community of Houston’s Fourth Ward. The 1899 city directory states that Pastor Ramsey died on November 12,1898 and it is unknown who succeeded him as pastor. There is no listing of the church in the city directories until nine years later. Daniel Whitley who is listed in the directories as the minister who reorganized Macedonia Baptist Church as Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church as early as 1902. His residence was 809 Andrews Street in the southern half of the Freedman Town Community.
In a deed dated March 16, 1907, Whitley and his wife Millie, purchased lot 7 in block 63 of the W.R. Baker Addition, in the southern half of the Freedman’s Town Community. On August 6, 1907, this property was sold for a dollar to church trustees: Samuel Barton, Ben Coleman and Walter Tyler. This property was located at 1216 Ruthven Street near Matthews Street. Sanborn maps for that year indicate the congregation built a one-story wood structure.
Rev. Whitley died in February of 1908 and Rev. Daniel L. Griffin succeeded him as pastor. Under his administration, church trustees: Robert Brown, Berry Hickman and Johnson Childs incorporated the church, (without capital stock) under the name, “Macedonia Baptist Church” in 1912. Church reverted back to its name of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
Reverend J.W. Edwards took the helm of the church in 1914 and remained for (24 years). Under his administration, the choir and usher board were organized. The congregation outgrew its building at 1216 Ruthven and in 1928 Rev. Edwards, the church clerk and the trustees were authorized to sell the church property. Afterwards, Dr. L.E. Williford sold the trustees the property, known as lot 1 in block 2 of the Porter and Baker subdivision located at 1401 Ruthven at Wilson Streets. A large one-story wood frame structure with twin towers was built, typical architecture of local African-American congregations in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s were erected.
After the death of Rev. Edwards the following men served as pastors of the church: Rev. Dennis L. Penn (1939-1942) who organized the Brotherhood Ministry in 1940, Rev. Seymour Marcus Weaver, Jr. (1936-1946) who shepherded the largest number of members during his administration; T.H. Wicks (1946-1949). The latter two men were members of the Fourth Ward Civic Club an organization formed to assess the community’s needs and present them to the Houston City Council for resolutions. During Rev. A.J. Matthew’s administration (1949-1952), the congregation raised enough money in one year to construct a new two-story building in 1950. He along with some of the members erected the building which included a main auditorium, baptismal pool, mezzanine, seven classrooms, two choir stands, complete modern kitchen and dining room. The structure was later listed in the 1984 National Register of Historic Places. Rev. E.B. Johnson (1953-1960) succeeded Rev. Matthews and established a building program for additional improvements to the church including, adding decorative stone to the building’s exterior. During, Rev. T.R. Roberts’ administration (1960-1968) the church joined the Independent Missionary Baptist General Association in 1966 and is still active in this organization. The church’s debts were paid off in seven years and the congregation celebrated with a mortgage burning on October 22, 1967. Rev. Roberts passed away on April 1,1968. August 5,1968, Rev. Robert Lee Washington, Sr. was elected as the next pastor. During his administration, church renovations including: a baby grand piano, new pews, carpet, lighting, paneling and central air conditioning/heating were added in 1973. The church received its non-profit status on March 3, 1997. Pastor Washington died on February 5, 2009 after forty-one years of service. On May 24, 2009, Rev. Ronald Keith Collins was elected as pastor of the historical church. This was definitely history in the making. On July 19, 2009, he was installed officially as the pastor by Rev. Harvey Clemons, Jr. He has done great things in his short time. A complete church renovation, including new carpet, church van, changing the color of the building to white, new pews and ramp for the disabled and others that are in need, have been performed under his administration.
Former members of the church that have branched out to organize their own churches include: Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church (1915); Rose of Sharon Baptist Church (1942); Providence Baptist Church (1947); Great King Solomon Baptist Church (1962).
Throughout the years, Macedonia has maintained high Christian standards and because of the congregations outreach programs, many lives have been enriched. In spite of the recent construction of high-density residential structures and gentrification in Fourth Ward, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, S.B.C., Inc. continues its tradition as a beacon of light in the Fourth Ward Freedmen’s Town Community. Stop by 1401 Ruthven to worship with Macedonia Baptist Church. To contact the church call (713) 651-1257.