Church celebrates 101 years

Published 10:06 pm Friday, January 3, 2020

Sixth Street Baptist Church conducted a joyous celebration of its 101st anniversary throughout the month of November.

The church celebrated with guest pastors and churches including Pastor Roger Greene of New Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor Robert Wilkins Jr. of Rising St. James Church and Pastor Earnest Breon Perry of Triumph in Victory Church. The November services were opened with a tag-team of preachers.

“I think it’s important to celebrate what others have done through the vision and the love of Christ,” said Peggy Boone, one of the deacons of the church. “They stayed together in unity, so we could enjoy what they had.”

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The church, now the only one in the Jericho area, was established in 1918. Many church members branched out from Balm of Gilead Mission Church on White Marsh Road. The Rev. Isaac Smith was the first pastor, and the church met out of members’ homes at first.

The first church building was constructed in 1935. The building was destroyed by fire a few years later and rebuilt. Following Smith, other pastors included the Revs. Charlie Sharp, Eugene Sherrod, Henry Saunders and James V. Washington.

The street on which the church stood was renamed Goodman Street, but the church proudly kept Sixth Street Baptist Church as its name.

The church built a new building, with the groundbreaking in September 1974, the cornerstone laid in August 1975 and the first service on Jan. 29, 1977. The mortgage was burned in 1985.

In 2000, the Rev. Edward Barringer Jr. became pastor. He was followed in 2002 by the Rev. James B. Williams Jr. and in 2012 by the Rev. John A. Moore III. The current pastor is the Rev. Bryon Joyce Sr., whose wife is Renee.

The church serves as a meeting place for the Hollywood-Jericho Civic League and engages in numerous other community outreach activities.

Boone said the anniversary activities drew a number of people, especially for the homecoming service. The oldest living former member, Anne W. Sharp, was presented a plaque.

Boone said a look back at the past will guide churches into the future.

“A church that has a strong sense of its history will have a better sense of identity to build on for the future,” she said. “Periodically, each congregation should take a look back to rediscover how their church came into being, what its early ministry was like, and how it has grown and changed over the years.

“Such a celebration gives individual members the opportunity to join together in focusing on the church as a body of believers who have been blessed by the Lord. It can also be a wonderful time to benefit from the gifts of the people. And it’s an occasion for church members of all ages to tell and hear stories of the past and present days of the church.”

“It’s just a great experience to love one another, believe and trust God,” member Claudette Eley said. “We don’t know where we will be next year this time, but we do know we will be in His will and kingdom building.”