"The Church Where Everybody Is Somebody And Christ Is All"

Church History

 
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History of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
Anniston, Alabama
1890 – 2010
 
In March 1890, our church had its beginning under the leadership of the late Reverend N.M. Pulium, Reverend W.H. Whatley, Reverend Carter Pyles and Reverend W.M. Munds. The church was known as the Galilee Baptist Church (presently Seventeenth Street Baptist Church). The church had grown so much that the Friendship Baptist Church was established to accommodate the people of the community.

Reverend N.M. Pulium served as the first pastor of the church. He served from 1890 - 1893. The succeeding ministers were Reverend L.F. O'Bryant, 1894 - 1895, and Reverend F.R. Kennedy, 1895 - 1899. During the ministry of the afore-mentioned, the church services were held under a tent in the Sweet Valley Community (now known as Lincoln Park).

The church moved to its first building at 1300 Brown Avenue where in 1900, Reverend Eddie Moore was called to pastor Friendship Baptist Church. During his ministry, in April 1905, the building burned. The church moved again under a tent in the area of what is now Claxton Street and Stephens Avenue which was known as the Grove. He served until 1908.

In 1909, Reverend W.L. Maddox was called to pastor Friendship Baptist Church. The present site, the corner of Fourteenth Street and Brown Avenue was purchased in 1910 and a wooden building was constructed. Some of the staunch supporters during these difficult times were Deacons: C. Russell, Green Mills, Eli Caver, Robert Parks, L.B. Joshua, Matthew Junks, W.W. Thomas, P.C. Gunn, G. Chandler, John Landrum and Mac McCall. Serving as associate pastor was Reverend Sam Ware. In 1921, due to the increase in membership, Reverend Maddox and members demolished the wooden frame edifice and constructed the present site. During this time services were held on West 15th Street, between Brown Avenue and Stephens Avenue. Since there was not a baptistery area for the church, the candidates were baptized in a pond known as the furnace located between 13th and 15th street. Reverend Maddox's tenure of service ended in 1923.
 
 
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In December of 1923, Reverend Robert James White was called to serve the Friendship Baptist Church. He immediately began to work to get the Church out of debt. During his ministry, the main sanctuary was remodeled and completed in 1934. Deacons who stood firmly with Reverend White during these tiring years were M.M.R. Thomas, W.T. Borden, B.J. Holmes, Harvey Byrd, E.G. Wallace, Dave Tolliver, Sr., Dock Fain, John Landrum, Paul Powell, James M. Randall, George McKinley, Garfield Whatley, Ting Mack, Tom Hall, John Freeman, Tom Jackson, Eli Caver, Herman Green, George Chandler, Jim Hall, Josh Joshua, Green Mills, Robert Parks, W.W. Thomas, R.C. Gunn, Mac McCall, James M. Randall, Robert Spears, Leslie Jones, L.B. Joshua, Dr. F.D. Jackson, Isaiah Garrett, Willie Morris, Carl Chatman, Malachi Swain, O.J. Borden, John Treadwell, Glover Smedley, Charlie Richardson, Elmer Jackson, Deacon Agnew, Henry Curry, Lochinvar Swain, Tom Zellars, Sherman Levitt, James Caver and Matthew Junks. Deacons also served as trustees of the church during his ministry, Several ministers served as associate with Reverend White, namely Reverend William Cobb, Reverend Henry Glover, Reverend Will Wysinger, Reverend Robert Pawe, Reverend Clay, Reverend Cornelius West, Reverend C. Williams, Reverend Tom Lindsey, Reverend John Elston and Reverend Carl Wilson.
 
Church accomplishments during his ministry: church's debt was paid off, a parsonage and land were obtained, in 1948 an educational building was constructed. New pews and carpet were put in the main sanctuary, a central heating system was installed, modern musical instruments and windows were placed in the main sanctuary. The first church bulletin was printed in October 1952. Lights from downtown streets of Anniston were placed on the grounds. Reverend White was a state and national leader.
 
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The Laymen of the Friendship Baptist Church were organized in 1951, under the leadership of Reverend R.J. White. Brother Bob Hayes was appointed as the first chairman of the Laymen's Movement (click for the Organizational History of the Laymen).
He was given a charter to organize the first Male Chorus from the members of the Brotherhood. The early directors of the male chorus were Brother Dave Tolliver and Brother Irby Ziegler. Professor J.H. Gaines was the pianist. The Laymen officers elected were: Brother Bob Hayes, President, Brother Samuel Joiner, Vice President, Brother Jodie Cobb, Treasurer and Brother Clarence Wilson, Secretary.

Dr. Robert J. White received his discharge from this life on November 28, 1963. Reverend S.H. Williams served until a minister was called.
 
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In June of 1964, Reverend C.C. Garrett was called as the pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church. Deacons ordained during his tenure as pastor were Dewey Carlisle, and Thomas Christian. Trustees were Walter Lee Barron, Willie Duncan, Lonnie Davis, John Nixon, O.D. English and Bennie Taylor.

Church accomplishments during his ministry: First Kindergarten and Day Care Center, kitchen and furnished dining added, purchased a Xerox machine and typewriter, hired a secretary, the tithe and offering box were purchased, envelope system began, modernized the financial system, new roof for the church, central air conditioner, renovated the parsonage and gave the church a face lift. Licensed and ordained were Reverend Edgar Baxter Morris, licensed Reverend Victor McCoy and Reverend William Sanders. He served as a statistician of Alabama State Convention and constructed the marketer (outside). His service ended in January 1978.
 


In June of 1978, Reverend Charles S. Sheppard was called as our pastor. Deacons ordained were William Hall, Eugene Trammell, O.D. English, Otis Murray, Willie Lauderdale and Johnny Abney. Trustees were John L. Dunson and Thomas Borden. Reverend Sheppard licensed and ordained Reverend Clarence Ruff and Reverend Clarence Wilson.

The church's accomplishments during his ministry: a van was purchased, the parking lot completed with paving and lighting, a second day care was established, the church parsonage was purchased on Quail Drive, new chandeliers were placed in the main sanctuary, purchased a P.A. system, a new piano and centralized the treasures. Reverend Charles E. Sheppard's service ended in 1983.
 

In May 1984, Reverend Johnny E. Merriweather was called. Deacons ordained by Reverend Merriweather were Troy Gant, Victor Ellis, Samuel Joiner, Earnest Woods, Jr., Kenneth Truitt, George Powell, Eric Robertson, Anthony L. Burdell, Roy Gunter, Randle Deramus, Johnny E. Merriweather, Jr., Carl Cooley, Eddyer L. Brown, Clarence H. Copeland, Jr. and Gerald J. Wilson. Ministers licensed were Reverend Frank Gray, Reverend Rev. Carl Cooley, Rev. Antonio Boyd, Reverend Troy Gant, and Reverend Willie J. Lassiter, Jr. Ministers ordained and licensed were Reverend Stanley Wilson, Reverend Timothy Merriweather, Reverend Carlos Woodard, Reverend Levi Lyles, Jr., Reverend Clyde Hill, Reverend Eugene Trammell, Reverend Eric Robertson and Reverend Cedric Duncan. Appointed trustees were Thomas Borden, John L. Dunson, Lonnie Davis, John Abney, George Dickerson, John Nixon, Otis Jones, Lee Lewis, James Bradford, Wilbert Pryor, Nathan Frederick, Michael Carter, Walter Frazier, John Sullivan, Jimmy Crumb, Anthony Brown, William Copeland, William McLester and Anthony Wilson. The first female trustees appointed were Alberta Wiggins, Barbara C. Curry, and Neniah Greathouse.

During Reverend Merriweather's administration, as pastor, numerous accomplishments have been made. The mortgage on the parsonage was paid off and four lots purchased to make way for a new parking lot on Brown Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets, purchased a new copying machine, a new computer, a baby grand piano, ceiling fans in the sanctuary and a new air conditioning system, the Young Adult and J.E. Merriweather Angelic Choirs, Matron Circle #3, and Sick and Shut-in Communion Service were organized. Tuesday evening service for the sick and shut-ins was also created. The bell to the old church was removed and place on the outside grounds of the church for public view. Renovations were implemented to the church, involving upgrades to the P. A. system, ceramic tile in the bathrooms and new inside/outside doors fixtures. A Youth Church has been established which has service every third Sunday of the month. Rev. Clyde Hill is the Youth Minister.  The church's first website was created.

In 1986 Friendship Missionary Baptist Church received their NAACP Life Membership Award.

Reverend Merriweather appointed a Building Fund Committee consisting of Barbara Curry, Brother Thomas Borden, Neniah Greathouse and Deacon Johnny Abney. Deacon Lochinvar Swain was appointed after the death of Brother Thomas Borden. Through this committee the Phase I Building Project (sanctuary) was completed, June 1996.

Later, Reverend Merriweather appointed a planning committee consisting of Deacon Otis C. Murray, Jr., Deacon Gerald J. Wilson, Deacon Clarence H. Copeland, Jr., Brother Wilbert M. Pryor, Brother Nathan S. Frederick, Brother Michael Carter, Sister Betty Merriweather, Sister Iola Abney and Sister Sharon McAway, to make preparations for the Phase II Building Project (fellowship & educational facility). Through this committee the Phase II project was completed, December 2002.

Reverend Merriweather served as the Moderator for the Snow Creek District Association, Vice-President of the Northeast District State Convention, Vice Moderator of the Snow Creek District Association, Vice-President of the Snow Creek District Congress of Christian Education and President of the Snow Creek District Congress of Christian Education. He was a member of the State and National Baptist Convention U. S. A., Inc.

Rev. J. E. Merriweather received his discharge from this life on January 13, 2009. The Associate Ministers served until a pastor was called.

 
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On January 11, 2010, Reverend Carlton L. Phillips was called as our pastor.  Under Reverend Phillips’s administration several ministries were established: Nursery Ministry, Tuesday Teen Night Ministry, Hospitality Ministry and the Saved and Single Ministry. The church’s website was expanded to include more information.  Renovations were made to expand the Pastor's office. 

As we retrospect on our Sunday School, we have had a number of great leaders, namely the late Tom Jackson, Mr. Agnew, Joseph Gartrell, M.M.R. Thomas, Sherman J. Levitt, Sr., Reverend Clarence Wilson, Mrs. Bettye Smedley and Reverend Eugene Trammell. Our present superintendent is Deacon Eddyer Brown.

Past General Missionary presidents were Allene Freeman, Sally Thomas, Sara Dennard, Maggie Borden, Emma Richardson, and Martha Glover. Presently serving as president is Iola Abney.

Past directors of the Baptist Training Union (now called Nurture for Baptist Churches) were Nettie Ware, Carrie Holmes, A.M. Molock, Charles E. Byrd, Samuel Joiner and Nina Swain. Presently, Charlotte Truitt serves as director.

Past Church Clerks were Mary Curtis Turner, Sarah Herndon. The present Clerk is Clarence Anthony Wilson.

We have witnessed many blessings at this church and look forward to many more as we move forward in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 
 
Church Services and Weekly Meeting
 
8:00 am Morning Worship
Sunday School -   9:20 am
Sunday Morning Worship - 11:00 am
Tuesday Mid-Day Bible Study - 12:00 pm
Wednesday Prayer Service - 6:15 pm
Wednesday Evening Bible Study - 6:30 pm
 
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