Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Celebrating 80 Years Of Serving God’s People
By Dawn Jones
Eighty years doesn’t just happen overnight. It spans a lifetime. It’s almost hard to imagine, something that began in another century, when the world was a very different place, is still thriving decades later. Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is basking in the glory of this phenomenon. The church not only exists, but continues to prosper on a foundation laid eighty years ago by the founding sixteen.
In the early years of the twentieth century, the city of Flint’s population was growing by leaps and bounds. Families were flocking to the city looking for opportunities in the burgeoning auto industry. Flint’s St. John Street neighborhood became a melting pot of locals and families who had migrated to the city from the south and other parts of the country. The neighborhood would also become the first location for Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
It was May 9, 1935 when a council of sixteen men and women came together to organize a new Missionary Baptist church in Flint. The council met at the home of Reverend Ceasar and Susie Scott. Susie suggested the name Macedonia. The council agreed. When the meeting was over, the church had a name and its first pastor Reverend Joseph Mack. Reverend Mack served five years until his death.
During the 1940’s, under the leadership of the church’s second pastor, Reverend Ira Watkins, the congregation experienced a monumental growth spurt. Members of the church launched a decade long building fund campaign for the building of a new church. In 1953 they moved from their original storefront dwelling to their new building at 1116 Hickory Street.
After twenty years as pastor, Reverend Watkins passed away in October of 1960. In December, of that same year, the congregation elected Dr. J.C. Curry as its third pastor. He was instrumental in growing the church’s ministries and guiding the congregation through its most significant location change.
During the 1970’s there was an effort to demolish the St. John neighborhood area. City officials and corporate interest promoted it as “Urban Renewal.” It was an initiative to replace the predominately African‐American neighborhood with a freeway and new industry. Macedonia was in the heart of the neighborhood and “Urban Renewal” forced the members to find another location. They decided to build a new church. And, in January of 1974, the congregation moved to its current location on North Saginaw Road in Mt. Morris Township. Dr. J.C. Curry would become the church’s longest serving pastor. He retired in 2001 after 41 years. He died the following year.
Reverend Alfred L. Harris was named pastor in 2002. He resigned in 2011. The church leadership and congregation began a year long journey of praying, watching, and waiting for the next pastor to be revealed. In June 2012, Bishop Neal Roberson was named as the new pastor. He was honored to accept the assignment. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to build upon this tremendous legacy established by the visionary leaders who came before me,” he said.
Pastor Roberson is hoping the Flint community will join with the church in celebrating this milestone. “Macedonia is an institution in this community. It seems that everyone has had some connection with this great church during its eighty year existence,” Roberson said. He added that the church is hoping to mark this grand occasion with a reunion of members, both past and present, and anyone who has been touched by the ministry.
Macedonia is unique in the sense that many of the descendants of the founders and early leaders of the church are still active members today. “The church was built on faith, family and God’s favor. We are blessed to have the families of Reverend Ira Watkins, Dr. J.C.Curry, and Reverend Ceasar and Susie Scott, along with so many others, as active members of our congregation. They are continuing to add to the legacy established by their ancestors,” Roberson said.
The church will celebrate with an anniversary banquet on Saturday, May 23 at 5pm at the Riverfront Banquet Center in downtown Flint. The event will feature the gospel music group The Williams Singers of Indianapolis, IN. For ticket more information, please contact the church office at (810)787-1561.
On Sunday, May 31 Bishop Paul S. Morton, Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Fellowship International will be the guest speaker for 80th Anniversary service. It begins at 5pm at the church located at G‐5443 North Saginaw Road. The service is free and the community is invited.