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*On this date in 1852, we celebrate the founding of the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. The church was founded in the home of William and Eliza Davis, on Kearny Street.
It was called the First Colored Baptist Church of San Francisco. With the Davis's, there were seven other Blacks and a band of devout Christian founders: Abraham Brown, Thomas Bundy, Thomas Davenport, Willie Denton, Harry Fields, George Lewis, and Fielding Spots. In 1854, the Church bought the old First Baptist Church and moved it to a location on Dupont Street between Greenwich and Filbert Streets. In 1866, a down payment of $4500 was made toward purchasing the old Howard Presbyterian Church property. Two years later, this property was exchanged for a lot on the corner of Bush and Powell Streets on which was erected a building, dedicated on March 14, 1869.
Thirty years later, in 1899, the final note was paid by the membership of 160. For seven years, the church, under the leadership of Rev. J. H. Kelly, enjoyed the rare experience of community pride and worship. Between 1852-1856, there was no pastor. Supply ministers, mostly white, conducted services in the homes of members. This arrangement changed in 1856 with the arrival of the first Black Pastor, Rev. Charles Satchell of Cincinnati: a graduate of Oberlin College and a leader of the Abolitionist Movement (A total of 17 Blacks have pastored Third Baptist).
On August 29, 1932, Reverend Frederick Douglas Haynes, Sr. began his tenure as Pastor with 150 parishioners. During his pastorate of nearly 40 ears, he renovated the church, redesigned the organizational structure, developed a sound financial program, and increased the membership of the church to approximately 3,000. As the church expanded in membership, it also grew in service to the community, state, nation and the world. Pastor Haynes Sr. passed away in February 1971, and his son, Rev. F.D. Haynes, Jr., succeeded him as pastor on June 25, 1972. Rev. Haynes, Jr.’s ministry was established on three goals: 1) a learning church, 2) a stewardship church and 3) an evangelical church. Before his untimely death on September 3, 1975, he had established a prison ministry. The annual church income increased from $250,000 in 1976 to over a million dollars currently and an African Refugee Resource Center was established with the resettlement of over 2,500 refugees.
A redevelopment and expansion program resulted in the multi-million-dollar West Bay Conference Center and the Charles A. Tindley Academy of Music was founded. Under Rev. Brown’s leadership the first woman was licensed and ordained to preach and female deacons were ordained to the deacons ministry, church membership increased, and the first site of Third Baptist was declared a historical landmark at Grant and Greenwich Streets with landmark number 1010 by the California Historical Society, all racial images were removed from the sanctuary and through collaboration with Temple Emanu-El Congregation a pulpit exchange was instituted and Back On Track was created to improve the academic performance of many youngsters.
Pastor Brown was appointed to the Community College governing Board by Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1982 and elected in 1984. He was also appointed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by Mayor Willie L. Brown in 1996 and elected in 1998. Third Baptist has shared the leadership abilities of Pastor Brown with the world as he has chaired the Civil Commission of the National Baptist Convention and united all black denominational bodies in opposition to the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, during the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing of 1991. As we enter the new millennium, we celebrate our strong legacy, realizing that it is with the vision of our Pastor, the strength and dedication of our congregation that we will bear much fruit and give to all humankind the leverage to succeed and experience the good life in this New Communication Age.