11.25.15: Grand Rapids’ oldest black Baptist church marks anniversary
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The oldest, continuing black Baptist congregation in Grand Rapids has been celebrating its 125th anniversary this fall.
Messiah Missionary Baptist Church marked the anniversary with a banquet last week and a worship service on Sunday.
Three churches have occupied the same site since the original church was built in the 1890s. The first pastor was the Rev. Robert Gillard. He was a former slave, who served the congregation for five years before retiring.
About 800 people are members of the church today.
urch started on Sept. 16, 1890. It