Featured photo: Rev. Dr. A.J. Pointer, photos courtesy of Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle
Written by Tanya Terry
At the most recent city council meeting, Flint City Council approved a resolution to recognize Reverend Doctor A.J. Pointer with an honorary street sign on one block of East Myrtle Avenue, between Industrial Avenue and North Street. A street renaming will start for the corner of Industrial and Myrtle and go to North Street.
Pointer lived from July 5, 1929 to April 23, 2008. He held positions in multiple state and national conventions.
“I did not know Dr. Pointer personally,” stated Pastor Stephen L. Murphy, senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle, located on Myrtle Ave.
“But I grew up in Detroit,” Murphy added. “His name was a big name in our city because he served as the president of our Baptist State Convention, Wolverine State Convention of Michigan, for several years. He worked with a lot of Detroit pastors. So, he was known as ‘Mr. President’ to me throughout my childhood. Ever since coming to Metropolitan, I can easily, without a shadow of a doubt, say I’m standing on his shoulders.”
Pointer was very progressive in his thinking toward the future of ministry, structure and administration in how Metropolitan works and is ran. He served many years as both senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle and as assistant to the pastor before him.
“There’s just countless stories of people I have encountered and talked to who are successful in ministry now because of his forward-thinking,” said Murphy.
According to Murphy, God laid it upon his heart, as he was praying and preparing to cast vision for Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle for the year 2023, to honor Pastor Pointer in this unique way. Murphy said the church agreed with him wholeheartedly when he shared it with them at a vision meeting in January.
Murphy did not know how the process worked in Flint for getting a street renamed.
Murphy talked to Council Vice President Ladel Lewis (2nd Ward), who he said guided him through the process of how to get paperwork filled out and get other things done that needed to be done.
Lewis told the Courier she felt privileged to be able to help facilitate the process for getting the street renaming done.
“I was around when Rev. A.J. Pointer was here, and I was able to witness the changes that were made in the community when he came,” Lewis added. “I was also at the University of Michigan when he erected the scholarship on behalf of his wife to help with the education of current students.”
Lewis said in doing so, Pointer took his ministry “outside of the four walls.” The scholarship Pointer erected was the Annie Mae Pointer Scholarship Endowment. It’s for first-generation UM-Flint undergraduates who attended Flint Community Schools, with preference given to those active in community service. It still exists today!
“…We are in the process of putting together the Industrial Park Neighborhood Association, and that’s where Metropolitan sits,” Lewis said. “But within that Industrial Park area, Metropolitan has purchased a lot of properties and they’re upkeeping a lot of the properties. So, they have been a big help in helping out with structural blight, nonstructural blight, in addition to, under Rev. Pointer’s tenure, he had the home right across the street from Metropolitan Church. He rebuilt that house. Those things help with the esthetics and value of the neighborhood.”
According to Lewis, as soon as the resolution was passed, the city’s street department began to place the order for the signage to “get the ball rolling.”
Metropolitan also owns part of WFLT 1410 AM radio station. It was Pointer’s idea to galvanize pastors within the city to purchase the radio station.
“I previously worked with him at WFLT 1420AM for over 30 years,” said “Alice Dee” (Alice Evans) as the representative of WFLT.
“I really feel this would be an honor and tribute to his legacy,” Evans added. “He did wonderful things for the city of Flint.”
Murphy also credits Pointer’s children, PJ Pointer and Joan Pointer, for making the upcoming street renaming possible.
“I went to them and asked their blessing for this,” Murphy explained. “They gave me their blessing. So, I’m really thankful that they gave us their blessing to do this and honor their dad.”
More information will follow, including details on the street renaming ceremony!