A Glimpse of Our Glorious History
One hundred seventeen years ago, about three hundred worshipers formed the nucleus of what was later named Metropolitan Baptist Church. The first place of worship was located at Vance and Fourth. On the first Sunday in July 1896, the Church was organized with Rev. P. J. Jackson as pastor. A month later the Church met in a new home, a small structure, later derisively designated as “The Cracker Box”, which was purchased and later remodeled. After the resignation of Rev. Jackson in 1902, the call was extended to Rev. T. J. Searcy. The Church soon purchased additional property and organized a number of auxiliaries.
Following the death of Rev. Searcy in 1917, interim leadership was assumed by Rev. John T. Gloster, and later Dr. A. M. Townsend began a tenure that lasted for three and one-half years. Dr. Townsend’s tenure was followed by Rev. T. J. Moore as supply pastor and the election of Rev. J. T. Brown in 1922.
On the first Sunday in May 1923, Rev. Samuel Augustus Owen, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Mary Jane Owen and their young son Samuel Jr., began a tenure which was to last more than 49 years. Rev. Owen organized the membership into districts and initiated the formation of training ministries, special annual calendar events, and many more ministries. The new pastor led the Church in adopting a motto “Extra Effort Wins” and purchase of property at the present location. In 1929 members made the historic march to the current site.
In December 1971, Rev. Owen retired and was named Pastor Emeritus. In June 1972, Dr. Fred C. Lofton, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Dorothy M. Lofton, accepted the call to Metropolitan. Rev. Owen passed away in 1974. During Dr. Lofton’s pastorate of 29 years, he served not only on local levels but also on a national level as President of the PNBC. Among the programs and services initiated or expanded during this time were in the areas of transportation, Christian Education, music, counseling service, birth month fellowships, church renovation, community involvement, and many others. Six years after the death of Mrs. Dorothy Lofton in 1986, Mrs. Gwendolyn W. Lofton became First Lady and has remained a vital part of the music and education ministries on local and national levels.
Dr. Lofton retired in 2001 and was named Pastor Emeritus. He was succeeded by Dr. Reginald L. Porter, Sr., accompanied by his wife, Rev. Davena Y. Porter and son, Reginald, Jr. He and Rev. Davena met and married at Metropolitan. He currently serves as Vice-President of the PNBC Southern Region. Projects and services initiated and expanded by Dr. Porter include a Christian Education Retreat, naming an athletic director, naming an archivist, strengthening the Birthmonth Fellowship Ministry, instituting Disciple Bible Study, creating the Centenarians Club for members who lived to be one hundred, named a webmaster, who established our current website www.extraeffortwins.com, starting the “20-30” Ministry and the Dance Ministry, reactivating the Youth Choir, Youth Fellowship and instrumental ensemble. Rev. Davena continues to be a strong supporter, using her special gifts for preaching, teaching, counseling, and encouraging to help carry out the programs and services of the church.
The Story Continues—Long May Metropolitan Serve the Present Age.