OUR CHURCH HISTORY
1900: The St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church started as a Baptist Mission by Rev. Charles Edwards at 3425 Larimer Street. The church was organized on December 15, 1900 by Rev. Charles Edwards, Rev. Joshua Cravett, Rev. Davis and several other Baptist Ministers of the city who are unknown to the writer.
The congregation selected the name, Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. Brother Waid, Jr. served as moderator of the meeting. The following officers were elected: Chairman, Deacon Waid, Jr. Deacon Hall, Deacon Harrington and Deacon Waid, Sr.
The Mother’s Board was composed of Sister Mary Oliver, Sister Emma Harrington, and Sister Rebecca Davis. Brother Waid was elected church clerk and treasurer, and Rev. Charles Edwards was elected Pastor. The church prospered under the leadership of Rev. Edwards. He was called to the bedside of his mother in Richmond, Virginia. She passed away in 1905. Shortly thereafter, Rev. Edwards became ill and passed away in the winter of 1906.
1906: The church was without a pastor for 6 months. The church called Rev. George Williams in the fall of 1906. Rev. Williams did wonderful work. During the time he served as Pastor, the church relocated to 29th and Walnut Street. He resigned as Pastor after serving 3 years.
1910: The church called Rev. AE Reynolds in 1910. He moved the church to 27th and Larimer Street. The church was wonderfully blessed under his leadership. Six lots were purchased at 28th and Lawrence Street for erecting a church building. A tent was used for six weeks during the revival meeting conducted by Rev. Reynolds. A large number of people united with the church.
1912: A Catholic church bought these lots in 1912. The purchase price was used as a down payment on the property at the corner of east 32nd Ave and Lafayette Street. The congregation moved into this building on August 20, 1912.
1918: Rev. Reynolds resigned in 1918. The church called Rev. Floyd Smith who at that time changed the name of the church from Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church to St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Smith resigned in 1924 and the church called Rev. J.S. Sutton, who resigned in January 1928. Rev. C.A. Miller was elected Pastor in February 1928. He served until September 1936.
1937: A call was extended to Rev. A.J. Bumphas in 1937, who served until January 4, 1939. He also resigned. Rev. J.L. Rollerson served as Supply Pastor in 1939. He was elected Pastor in 1940 and resigned in 1948. The church called Rev. L.V. Washington in 1948, who resigned in 1949. The church called Rev. C.A. Miller in November 1949. He faithfully served the church until March 1965. He resigned due to his health.
1965: The church extended a call to Rev. W. E. Lewis, Jr. in April 1965. In September 1965, Rev. Lewis was instrumental in starting the first Annual Homecoming Celebration for the church. He served as Pastor until August 1967.
1967: On November 1, 1967, the church called Rev. Fred Hopson, Jr. to pastor the church. The church experienced a tremendous spiritual revival. Under his leadership, a new edifice was built which is located at 3125 Humboldt Street. The mortgage on the building was paid in full and the deed of trust was released on October 28, 1985. It was truly a blessing. Rev. Hopson retired on November 17, 1991 after serving faithfully for 24 years.
1991: On December 18, 1991, the church unanimously called Rev. Randolph C. West Jr. as the Senior Pastor. (please refer to About Our Pastor)