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Worship Services Every Sunday @ 8:00AM & 11:00AM

Our History

SYNOPSIS OF THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF CRESTMONT

1910 – 2010

 

One hundred years ago, there was no church in Crestmont, so one evening in April, 1910. Reverend Edward Durham and a few earnest Christians met at the home of John Bailey on Fairview Avenue, and organized themselves into a Christian company to build a church in Crestmont.

 

They commenced to hold regular meetings of services, preaching every Sunday morning and evening, Sunday school in the afternoon and weekly prayer meetings.

 There was no church building to hold services, but Henry Talifarro of Hamilton Avenue and Edward Curtis of Prospect Avenue offered their homes for God’s sanctuary to have services. They continued to have meetings as an independent group until October 10, 1910, when they were organized by the Reverend Morton Winston, Pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, PA.

 

Reverend Durham then left them, having been called elsewhere. But those earnest and faithful Christians continued on, although deprived of their leader, they continued to work and pray. They wanted a church home, but raising money was difficult. They were few in number, many of them were buying their homes, wages were low and the prospect of soon having a church home seemed doubtful.

 

We thought upon the words of Jesus, who said, “Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened.”

 

A lot was purchased on Fairview Avenue, paying for it on installment, but how to get a building on it was the question, but they were determined to have a church, so the men and even some of the women started digging the foundation themselves. It was hard work and many of them grew tired, but there were two members that would not give up. After a hard day’s work, these two brethren, Daniel Williams and Henry E. Taliafarro, would be found digging the foundation until after eleven o’clock at night. They were determined to have a church. In order to raise money to buy the materials needed for the foundation walls, Mrs. Lavinia Taliafarro organized all the children in the neighborhood into a club to raise the money. These little ones worked earnestly, giving concerts and social gatherings, for example. After the walls were in, Mr. Richard Jones, Father of Deacon James A. Jones, built the building, for which members paid for in installments. They moved into their church home in July, 1911. In the autumn of 1911, they were organized into a regular Baptist Church by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and the council of other churches in 1912.

 

The first Church Clerk to hold office was Sister Lorraine Taliafarro. The church was organized with only seven members: Brother Daniel Williams, Brother Henry E. Taliafarro, Brother Edward Curtis, Brother John Bailey, Sister Dora Lee, Sister Lavinia E. Taliafarro and Sister Lavinia Taliafarro. The first Deacons of The First Baptist Church of Crestmont were Deacon Edward Curtis and Deacon Henry E. Taliafarro.

 

The First Sunday School Superintendent was Brother Henry E. Taliafarro.

 

The first Pastor was the Reverend J. C. Washington, who remained Pastor from 1912 to 1916 when he resigned. Reverend C. W. Coleman became Pastor on March 26, 1916 and remained until July 1920. The next Pastor was the Reverend E. Bachelor who remained until May 1921. Reverend K.W. Pierce was then called to serve the First Baptist Church of Crestmont and began his Pastorate on July 3, 1921.

 

Unfortunately, on April 26, 1922, the church suffered a fire and the building was destroyed, but the members were not discouraged, for it is God that guides His Church. A new church building was nearly completed when the old building burned down. And on April 30, 1922, the first service was held in the new building.

 

Each Pastor of The First Baptist Church of Crestmont made progress under God, but when Reverend K.W. Pierce began his Pastoral work for the church, under his faithful and loyal leadership, the church reached its highest rank. God blessed us in our Christian endeavors. We moved into our church home in 1928.

 

Reverend Pierce served the church and people through the years with Christian leadership and dignity and did not condone the unclean things that would deter the works of God. Under God, he used the Gospel Broom to sweep away the sinful things of the church. This is why the church prospered under his leadership. Reverend Pierce served faithfully until his health would not permit him to pastor us. So, on August 7, 1967, Dr. K.W. Pierce retired as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Crestmont. The church honored him by bestowing upon him Pastor Emeritus. The First Baptist Church of Crestmont’s doors are always open for him to come and serve us if his health permits.

 

Our organist during the time Reverend Pierce was Pastor was Dr. Harold L. Woodfolk; Assistant – Mrs. Essie Beal; Church Clerk – Mrs. Hazel Lucas; Assistant Deacon – Alverno Cason; Treasurer – Mrs. Helen L. Johnson; Chairman of Deacons – Randolph Barnes; Deaconess – Margaret Schaffer; Financial Secretary – Mr. Horace Johnson; Trustee Chairman – John Moore.

 

Some more accomplishments which we do not wish to omit and which were under the Pastorate of Dr. K.W. Pierce. We liquidated our mortgage of The First Baptist Church in our mortgage burning on April 28, 1946.

 

After the retirement of Reverend K. W. Pierce, the church was without a Pastor for a little over a year and the work was left in the hands of the deacons. Therefore, the pulpit was vacant. However, the Lord gave us a minister to serve at each Sunday’s service.

 

The Deacons and the church united in the reverence of prayer under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with the chairman of our Deacon Board, namely, Deacon Randolph Barnes, that which was committed to his trust. God sent us another servant of God who was a clean and upright minister of the Gospel, Reverend Robert Holloman, a product of the Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, who served under the leadership of a great Christian leader, the Reverend Leon Sullivan. This was a milestone of progress under God of which the church progressed.

 

The church also purchased the estate of the late Catherine Thomas, located at Rubicam and Prospect Avenues, to add to the equity of the church properties. This was paid in full, clear of all indebtedness. This was another milestone in the progressiveness of the church under the leadership of our Pastor, Reverend Robert F. Holloman.

 

Reverend Holloman added many auxiliary functions to our church. Namely, the bowling league, Couples Club 1-2-3m and established our Credit Union and the Pastor’s Aid. He also established the Hospitality Club, Nursery Services, Workers Council and the Youth Fellowship each second Sunday.

Under the leadership of Reverend Holloman we burnt the mortgage on the Parsonage, January 22, 1972. The Parsonage was built by Crestmont contractors George Dean & Sons. Under God, this was a milestone in our progress. However, God saw in His most divine providence to remove from us our Late Pastor who departed this life on Wednesday, September 21, 1977. The church suffered a lot of sadness in the passing of this servant of god. With the death of our beloved Pastor Holloman, the church votes that our two Associate Ministers, Reverend Isaac Barnes and Reverend Thomas Griffin, would conduct services while a search committee sought another under shepherd.

 

Again, the church was without a Pastor. However, under God, through prayer and faith, the Lord supplied us each Sunday with a servant of God to minister, to serve the pulpit and the people, and to administer to those needing strength and assurance in the faith and encouragement to continue in the spirit of Christ. After being without a pastor for almost a year, the Lord sent us a Pastor, named Reverend Ronald Kill Hill. The first Baptist Church of Crestmont elected him Pastor under and in the fullness of God’s Spirit.

It was under Reverend Hill’s leadership that the church commemorated and celebrated its 75th anniversary. In the fall of 1987, Pastor Hill announced his having been appointed Executive Director of the Foreign Mission Bureau of the Progressive Baptist Convention and preached his last sermon at the Joint New Year’s Evening service with Willow Hill Community Baptist Church on December 21, 1987.

 

Some of Reverend Hill’s accomplishments was establishing each second Sunday as “Andrew Sunday” (John 1:40). The motto of the church was “THE CHURCH THAT GROWS AND GLOWS FOR CHRIST.” A Building Fund was established and the Building Committee was led by Brother Louis Lee and included Brother Irvin Reynolds and Trustee, Dr. Marion B. Holmes.

 

Once again, we were without a pastor. Again, under the Chairmanship of Deacon Alverno Cason and the search committee, the church elected Reverend Thomas C. Griffin in the fall of 1988. Reverend Griffin gave the church the motto: “THE CHURCH AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY WITH THE COMMUNITY IN ITS HEART.”

 

Since the church was under construction, Elder Kirk Thompson, Pastor and the congregation of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Fairview and Hamilton Avenues, graciously extended the use of their edifice for First Baptist Church of Crestmont to worship. The dedication of the new church building occurred on April 16, 1989. The cornerstone was laid by Deacon Howard Comfort. First Baptist Church of Crestmont dedicated its newly renovated Annex. Under Pastor Griffin’s leadership from 1988 – 1999, there was the purchase of a piece of property on Rubicam Avenue, the purchase of a home, Fairview & Rubicam Avenues, which was renovated into a Social Services Center and later became a Head Start Center, The Institution of the HOPE Learning Center and a library, headed by Deaconess Jessie L. Jones and Sister Edith Pope. Pastor Griffin retired in 1999. First Baptist Church of Crestmont found itself again without a pastor. But in December, 2000, the church elected Reverend William Douglas Banks, who was installed as Pastor in January, 2001. Reverend Banks instituted the purchasing of a property to expand the church parking lot, planted the seed for the chosen 300 Ministries Program and established the Wednesday Women’s and Men’s group small ministries. Reverend Banks remained at the church until December 2005. In the absence of a Pastor, the Deacons saw to it that the church moved forward, under the leadership of Deacon Robert Merritt, Chair of the Deacon’s Ministry. The pulpit was occupied every Sunday. In January 2006, Elder Algernon Baker, who had been Minister of Music, accepted a brief interim before being called as Pastor in Kansas City. The church was without leadership for just a short period.

 

Reverend Dr. Benjamin Caldwell had since joined us and was serving as our Interim pastor. He established a new church motto: “FIRST BAPTIST IS A CHURCH DETERMINED TO FOLLOW CHRIST,” and instituted leadership conferences to help ministries remain vibrant. A Minister of Music was hired and there were two new youth ministries: The Divine Dancers Ministry and ROC, young men stepping for Christ. The Emmanuel Mime Dance Ministry was also established. The membership continued to grow and the church was prospering.

 

Reverend Caldwell as Interim pastor, with the Holy Spirit Guiding us, First Baptist Church of Crestmont continued with the leadership of Deacon Wade Matthis and the search committee presented two names to vote upon. Led by The Holy Spirit, the church voted. In December, 2007, Reverend Jerome F. Coleman was called to First Baptist Church of Crestmont and was installed in February, 2008. With him came much hope for the church and the community. Disaster struck again and in November, 2008, the sanctuary was completely destroyed by another fire. As in the past, this did not deter the members. They were blessed to be able to worship at the Faith Community Church located on Bradfield and Easton Roads in Roslyn, PA for a little less than a year. Growth in membership and ministries continued and on the first Sunday in September, 2009, the church members and friends marched from Faith Community Church to the newly constructed edifice and renovated fellowship hall and classrooms. Pastor Coleman’s vision for the church and the community go hand-in-hand. He has established a motto: “WE ARE A CHURCH DERTERMINED TO KNOW CHRIST AND TO MAKE CHRIST KNOWN BY OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER.” Together we will have a better environment in which to raise our children and to keep our seniors safe.

 

A few of the ministries that Pastor Coleman has organized are the Singles Ministry, The Scholarship Ministry, Newsletters, Couples Ministry, This Generation Youth Choir, Representaz of Christ Steppers Divine Dancers, a new Audio/Visual system and an advanced phone tree system.

 

Pastor Coleman is married to the love of his life, Lady Kimberly. They have two daughters, Brianna and Nia, also the loves of his life.

First Baptist Church of Crestmont has been like the Phoenix and has risen from the ashes on two occasions. Now, with its 8th Pastor, celebrates 100 years of existence exclaiming … “And upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). First Baptist Church of Crestmont is blessed and cannot forget on whose shoulders it now stands. It is also noted that among its historical accomplishments, First Baptist acquired a Boy Scout Troop Charter and is a life member of the NAACP, Willow Grove Branch.

 

We pray this 100th Anniversary Celebration will go down in history as another milestone in the history of our great church. We feel honored and blessed by God that some of us are yet alive to commemorate this occasion.

 

We, the Historical Committee, wish to give homage to those who lived through the years making it possible for us, in this latter day, to pay tribute to our fathers and mothers for a job well done and that the works of the Lord may continue until the end.