In 1882, the late Reverend Harry Body founded the Brown Missionary Baptist Church. Initially, they held their worship services in a Bush Harbor, near the existing church cemetery. Later they were able to erect a log cabin. From this site, Pastor Body, with the assistance and dedication of his Officers, Mothers, Missionaries, and members erected their first frame structure on the corner of Swinnea and Stateline Road where it has remained.
Among the first elected officers were: Brothers Ernest L. Garth, Sr., Rayfield Flynn, Pearce Holmes, Charles Smith, Sr., Wade Smith and William Smith, Sr. These men worked tirelessly, making sure that the foundation of Brown Baptist Church was not only materially strong, but spiritually strong as well. We are now privileged to worship and work in a church that has been erected through dedication and devotion of these Christian soldiers.
Not only did the men play a key role in the foundation of the early church, the women were instrumental as well. These first church mothers included: Sisters Alice Harris, Hattie Holmes and Isabell Smith. They contributed to the building of the first frame church and left a legacy of love, labor and loyalty that was echoed in the spirit of mothers who followed them. These church mothers included such dedicated Christian women as: Mothers Annie Davis, Bell Herron, Maggie Jones, Leona Polk, Agnes Smith, Annie Smith and Lizzie Smith who continued to fortify and sustain the congregation with prayers, love and dedication.
By 1946, Reverend Sherman Champion (whose picture hangs above our Fellowship Hall) accepted the leadership role at Brown Baptist Church. He was a dedicated man of great faith, patience and endurance. With a host of officials (Niza Davis, Rayfield Flynn, Percy Hawkins, Jim Jones, Don Massey, Sam Patterson, Aswill Smith, Sr., Charlie Smith, Charlie Smith, Jr., George B. Smith, Jeff Smith, Lynwood Smith and Gus Wilson) Rev. Champion served God and man with humility until his death.
In 1972, Reverend Leon M. Acey became Reverend Champion’s successor. His goals were a continuation of the ideas set forth by his predecessors. With the assistance of a consecrated membership, Brown Baptist Church expanded to a multi-purpose facility on one and one-half (1 ½) acres of land. The church was now able to accommodate 500-600 people. Also, the church expanded to include numerous departments, organizations and auxiliaries which offered a variety of services that included: Sunday School, Usher Board, Choirs, Christian Society, Boy Scouts and a Day Care Center.
Tragedy struck Brown Baptist Church on November 22, 1987. The church was destroyed by fire. Neighboring churches made their buildings available for Brown Baptist’s Pastor and worshippers. On November 29, 1987, the following Sunday, Brown Baptist held its first evening worship at Faith United Methodist Church and continued worshipping there until the new church was rebuilt.
In August 1988, the officers and members of BMBC, held a ground breaking service at the old Stateline / Swinnea Road site. Their inspiration, dedication and faith in God enabled them to re-erect a beautiful structure with accommodations for approximately 400 persons. The new facility was completed and dedicated in May 1989. We thank God for the committed service of those men who provided leadership during the absence of pastoral leadership: Bros. Ernest Garth, Jr.(d), Bro. Jessie J. Smith(d), Bro. William Mitchell, Bro. Charlie Mitchell, Bro. Eric Harmon, Sr., and Bro. Clarence Branch.
In January 1989, Reverend Bartholomew Orr became the eighth pastor of BMBC Under his pastoral leadership; Brown Baptist has become an organized and progressive church. Our church theme is “A Church With A Vision.” BMBC has seen tremendous growth and expansion under Pastor Orr. BMBC now sits on 16 acres of land and has developed the Jessie James Smith Ministry Building which serves the members of BMBC and our community with a business development, career center, clothes closet and food pantry. Our membership and church attendance has grown tremendously through our enriched ministries, increased fellowship and service projects; we are striving to become a beacon of light to give safe guidance and proper direction to our dark world.
Today, Brown Missionary Baptist church is in the midst of Vision 2000, which includes our new walking trails, enhanced cemetery, multi-purpose building, and a new sanctuary. Brown has a membership that exceeds 10,000, over 40 enriched ministries, foreign missions teams, a church in Ghana Africa, increased fellowship, service projects and diverse membership. With God’s blessings and leading we are consistently striving as a beacon of life to give safe guidance and proper direction to our dark world.
“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalms 126:3
PASTORS OF BBC
Rev. Harry Body
Rev. Sam Thomas
Rev. J.W. Wade
Rev. S.H. Champion
Rev. Leon M. Acey
Rev. Bartholomew Orr