SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH can trace its beginnings back to the time when a few devout Christian pioneers of this community, headed by the late York Johnson decided to meet together regularly on the Christian Sabbath to worship. This group greatly concerned about their religious growth, thought nothing of walking the tedious miles beyond the limits of Paulsboro to their meeting place known as Carl Thompson’s farmhouse in nearby Mickleton, NJ. It was at this place that the late York Johnson, who was a zealous organizer, had taken up residence. It was under his guidance that the pioneer movement flourished and grew. Although these early organizers of our church had their order of service and worship predicated along the lines of a Sunday School they nevertheless worshipped with zeal and unwavering faith and belief in God, still prominent among our group, that characterized the spurs of our church activities even today.
Later the Johnsons moved their residence to Howard Miller’s farm in Paulsboro where the organization rapidly grew. However, the pioneer group still lacked a permanent building, which truly could be called a church edifice. It was not until the Johnsons moved to Clarksboro that the organization, then without a resident leader, redoubled their efforts to establish a permanency by meeting at a dwelling relatively near to the Second Baptist’s present location. That building location was the residence of the late Sinclair Holmes, then resided in by the late Mr. & Mrs. Harvey Beverly.
It was at this location that the organization claimed a wider interest among what was then a sparse Negro population. Consequently, as more black families took up residence in Paulsboro, it became necessary to seek a larger place of worship in order to accommodate the growing membership. The initiative in this matter was assumed by the late Mr. James Banks and James Scott, who purchased an old house on the spot where the present parsonage now stands. Thus services were held at the residence and interest and zeal continued. That pioneer organization sought a pastor and acquired the services of one Moses Robinson, who although not an ordained minister nevertheless conducted the religious services. Due to the fact that Pastor Robinson was not ordained, the services of Rev. Samuel Smith had to be secured to render services that involved the sacraments.
In the ensuing years, Rev. Clisby was called to become Pastor of this pioneering Baptist group. It was under his pastorate, during the year of our Lord, 1904, that the group realized a long awaited dream, when the first church was constructed. And although this building was later destroyed by fire, the conscientious attitude to build for the Master had been fostered in the minds of these God-fearing people.
The grounds for this church had been purchased from the late Charles and Stanton Myers and our church on the corner of Swedesboro Avenue and Pine Street now graces this first edifice’s location. The first church was built without a cellar, and later the entire foundation had to be raised in order to make the necessary renovations. Thus, the magnitude of the task did not deter them in the beginning nor did they waiver when the fire destroyed the first church.
So, with epic and dauntless courage, this early Baptist group erected a second structure at the same location. Our Church came by its name of Second Baptist Church because the Taylor Memorial Baptist Church had assumed the precedence in being the first Baptist Church in this community to organize and erect its building. The Rev. J. T. Plenty delivered the Founder’s Day sermon at our Church.
From its humble beginnings, Second Baptist has made noteworthy progress in the years intervening from 1904. During the years of the church’s existence the following ministers have served as full time Pastors, and each have contributed to the church’s progress. Following are the names of ministers in order of their pastoring at Second Baptist Church.
he late Moses Robinson, co-organizer if the early Baptist group; Rev. R. L. Clisby, the early church’s ordained minister, during whose pastorate the first church was built and who reorganized and rebuilt the present Church; Rev. Brown; Rev. C. M. Emory; Rev. J. W. Luck; Rev. B. R. Lawson; Rev. J. Dudley; Rev. W. T. Young; and Rev. Sylvanus S. Browne, who pastured the Church 32 years. Under Rev. Browne’s pastorate, extensive renovations were made, which made the Church sixty percent (60%) larger than it was before.
Besides our Pioneer Fathers, many faithful workers have contributed to the ongoing of this great Church. Notable among them are: Deacon Mack Lawrence, Deacon Richard Eli, Deacon Seldon Nelson, Deacon James Gray, Sisters Winnie Beverly, Rose Banks, Carrie Scott, Gustava Johnson, F. B. Byrd, Fannie Gordon, who was our first Church Clerk, Hattie Gray, Mary Johnson, Mary E. Brown; also Andrew & Martha Boston, Sr., John & Bertha Smith, John & Minerva Turner, Jordan & Ella Moore, Rev. Robert & Mollie (the late Charles and Robert Miller’s parents), Teen & Marion Davis (Bishop H. D. Hamilton’s parents). As well as the late Rev. Leroy S. Chandler (first son of the Church) and many, many others who have contributed to make our great Church what it is today. We give thanks to God for their accomplishments.
Upon Rev. Browne’s retirement as Pastor, Rev. Ezekiel G. Bey assumed the pastorate in May 1973. Great strides were made under his leadership. Following Rev. Bey’s resignation as our Pastor in 1988, our present Pastor, the Rev. Dr. A. B. Frazier assumed the pastorate of this Church in July 1989. And we are continuing to make greater strides. We have been blessed with the implementation of many additional ministries under Rev. Frazier’s leadership.
On March 12, 2000, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on our new edifice. Mr. Van B. Bruner was the Architect and Worthington and Associates were the builders for the “new” Second Baptist Church of Paulsboro and the Paulsboro Community Development Center (P.C.D.C.). In November 2001, our dream became a reality when we marched into our new Church and the Community Development Center. In June 2003, the cornerstone was placed in the Church and a time capsule was put inside to be opened in 2053.
The P.C.D.C. is a faith-based organization that is holistic in approach, and compassionate toward our clients. Through this organization we provide pre-employment training, transportation assistance for clients to and from work sites, in addition to a wide range of other programs to fit the clients social and economic needs.
We are a State certified Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO). This is an organization that allows affordable home ownership to qualified first-time buyers.
God has richly blessed our congregation and we pray that we as His Church will continue to grow in grace, in service and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS – WE’VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH”