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St. Stephen Baptist Church
*On this date in 1903, St. Stephen Baptist Church held its first service. This church began with a courageous young preacher, Reverend James Wesley Hurse.
Preaching from a tent and a few dedicated followers, they worked, prayed, and sacrificed on a street corner in "Bellevidere Hollow." As a prominent leader, he became the second President of the National Baptist Convention of America. Reverend Raymond James Jordan, the second pastor, instituted changes that placed St. Stephen at the vanguard of the community of churches. The church survived a fire and a world war, The church gained firm financial footing, a large increase in membership, and several enhancements were made through the building improvement program.
Under the leadership of Reverend John Wesley Williams, the remodeling was accomplished, and the mortgage burned. The fourth pastor, Reverend Mac Charles Jones, led the multiple staffing throughout the church. Expanded ministries in Evangelism, Discipleship Training, Christian Education, CITI and Extended Care (weekly food-service program), Social Services, Second Start (Drug Program), Economic Development-including, including an Entrepreneurship Corporation, Visitation, Bus and TV Ministry which helped the church express the tenets of its logo, FAITH, LOVE, and PURPOSE.
On March 5, 1995, Reverend Eric Duane Belt joined the Saint Baptist Church family. Under his leadership and professional tutelage, the membership and active participation have grown in their faith and commitment to service. The church building is mortgage-free, and several renovations have provided specific services to meet the needs of our Seniors and have expanded the children and youth ministries. St. Stephen boldly advocates equality, economic opportunity, respect, and love for one another. They have persevered from "Bellevidere Hollow" to 6th and Charlotte, to 9th and Harrison to 15th and Paseo. "To God Be the Glory."