History of Antioch Baptist Church
Antioch Baptist Church was organized June 5, 1818. During the years prior to 1849, all sermons were delivered by Caucasian pastors. During this period approximately 40 African-Americans were baptized. On January 13, 1850, the church building was dedicated to the Lord. The dedication sermon was preached from Genesis 28:16,17. 16 African-Americans were baptized and the Rev. A.M.T. Hardy delivered twelve (12) sermons during the year. In 1854 there were approximately 48 African-Americans baptized in the sister church (Elam Baptist Church) making a total of 104 African-Americans baptized during a four-year period between the two churches.
The Reverend James A. Foster of Montgomery, Alabama was the first black pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. The deacons were Elas Lucas, Berry Lucas, Jack Taylor, Sam Carter, John Cogman, John Pinkston, Mount Billy, Tom Lide and Bob Jones. All nine deacons were ordained under Rev. A.M.T. Handy. Deacons ordained under Rev. James A. Foster were John Lucas and Mr. Hopkin.
Rev. Steve Washington was the second black pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. Deacons ordained under him were Adam Bray and Flemin Hopkins.
Rev. John Plenty Lucas was the third black pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. Deacons ordained under his administration were Armstead Brown, Dennis Hall, Moses Davis, Vernon Parker, and Simmon Henry.
Rev. J.C. Curry was the fourth black pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. He served for quite a while. Deacons ordained under his administration were Alfred Murdock, Thomas Crockett, Henry Pinkston, and Anderson Hopkins.
Rev C.J. Davis, DD, was the sixth black pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. Rev Davis served the church successfully for sixteen (16) years or more. Deacons ordained under his administration were C.P. Everret, Joshua Burch, and P.C. Pinkston. Deacon Pinkston also became the church clerk. During his pastoral years at Antioch Baptist Church he saw a need for living quarters for the pastor and his family, which lead to the construction of a four-room parsonage on the church lot. Rev. Davis and his family lived in this parsonage for ten (10) years. He planned and erected a fine church house during his administration. He also baptized more than 300 persons into the church body.
Rev. Shed Johnson was the seventh black pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. Deacons ordained under his administration were Dave Peck, Lee Murdock, and Clinton Jordan. He baptized 125 new members.
Rev. W.P. Garth was the eight pastor of Antioch Baptist Church. Rev. Garth served faithfully and was much beloved by the congregation. Deacons ordained under his administration were Haywood Smothers and Josh Franklin. During his administration here and Antioch Baptist Church, a church house has been nearly furnished that was planned by Rev. S.D. Johnson, one of our previous pastors. The building has been painted, pews repaired, we purchased an organ, a heater, lamps, and a set of furniture. Also during these four (4) years, two (2) deacons were ordained under him, Joshua Franklin and M.H. Smothers, and about 100 members have joined here at Antioch Baptist Church.
The preceding history was written by Deacon M. H Smothers who gave the history to Mrs. Mary Watson, the late Fronia Bonner’s daughter of Birmingham, Alabama, some time in the 1940’s. Mrs. Mary Warson gave it to Deacon Joseph Williams, Church Clerk, in the mid 1960’s.
The next chapter was written by Maude M. Williams in 1976 and was updated in 1978. Information was taken from Ms. Charlotte Nelson, Deacon John J. Thompson, Mrs. Rosa Pinkston and Mother Julia Merretts. Complete records of Antioch Baptist Church are available from 1962-1984.
ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH has had seventeen (17) pastors. These pastors included men of courage and foresight, organizers, builders, humanitarians, promoters of good works, educators, orators and teachers and followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It was under the leadership of Rev. D. C. Washington the ninth pastor, of which the present church house and a parsonage was erected following a destructive storm.
Rev. Phillip, our tenth pastor and Rev. Horton, our eleventh pastor preceding our twelfth pastor, Rev. King who died during his tenure.
Rev. N.V. Muse, the fifteenth pastor, succeeded Rev. Turner (fourteenth pastor). Under his leadership we paid off the $10,000.00 remodeling debt and purchasing of the organ, which still today provided music for worship. The church budget and bulletin were instituted. The budget provided for financial accounting and efficiency. The bulletin provided consistency in order of worship and printed memos or important items. These have been continued.
Rev. Farris Taylor, the sixteenth pastor, served as our pastor for fifteen months.
Our seventeenth pastor was Rev. Paul L. Boswell. He was a dynamic preacher, full of emotion and spirit. He was the youngest pastor the church has ever had. Plans are currently under way for remodeling the outside of the physical plant. These plans were delayed, but it is my belief that they will begin to materialize in 1978. During the three years Rev. Boswell was pastor, five members have returned to the church and thirty-nine members were added to our body. A total of forty-four.
In September of 1984, we were blessed with Rev. Johnny J. Hollis, Jr. from Selma, Alabama and a member of First Baptist Church (Rev. Baxter Morris, Pastor), Ripley Street, Montgomery, Alabama. He became our eighteenth pastor.
Rev. Hollis preached his first sermon as pastor of ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH on the first Sunday in September 1984. When Rev. Hollis assumed the role as the Under Shepherd of the ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH, the church membership was approximately 150 members. During his tenure the membership grew to over 950 members.
Under the leadership of Rev. Hollis, an addition was made to the church which consisted of a fellowship hall, classrooms, kitchen, library, pastor’s study, finance room and a nursery. The parking lot was also completed for those who would come to worship at ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH. Taping of the Sunday Services was initiated by Rev. Hollis to provide a mean of spreading the Gospel to those who could not attend church. "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me". March 16, 2008 ended Pastor Hollis' tenure as pastor.
Ministries established by Rev. Hollis were Congregational Care, Married Couple Ministry, Singles Ministry,
Teen Seen Ministry, Outreach Ministry, Prison Ministry, Tutorial Ministry, Human Resource Ministry, and Men Ministry (Antioch Covenant Keepers).
ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH was blessed with our 19th pastor, Rev. Richard E. Griffin, who was installed on
August 16, 2009. Rev. Griffin was baptized by the late Rev. Paul Boswell in 1972, preached his first sermon in 1993 and served as an Assosiate Minister of Antioch prior to be called to pastor.