The Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1944 under the pastorate of Rev. J.E. Ray. The first services were held at 15344 Twelfth Street. It was a small structure not much larger than a living room, and was heated with a pot-bellied stove. Rev. Ray, Pastor and Founder, came from Thompson Ave Baptist Church (known now as the Dexter Ave Baptist Church), and his vision was to start a church in this community. The name of that church is The Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church where Rev. Ray started with a membership of charter members who included: Hershell & Hannah Adams, John Allen, Aaron & Jeanette Funderburg, Lonnie & Gladys Parker, Bessie Stevens, Hattie Slaughter, Rev. & Mrs. J.E. Ray, and her sister. As the membership increased, God provided a larger building located at 15574 12th Street.
The first Deacons were Lonnie Parker and Hershell Adams; the first Clerk was Jeanette Funderburg; first President of the Trustee Board was Thomas Cleveland; First Mission President, Mrs Engram; First President of the Senior Choir, Mrs. Maude Price. First Candidates for Baptism were John Morris and Charles Price.
Rev. F.A. Williams was called to pastor the church in 1947. Under his leadership, more auxiliaries were added.
Then, in 1948, Rev. Ernest W. Mathis was called to pastor Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church. Under his ministry, the membership continued to grow, ministries were developed, and plans were made for expansion.
In 1949, tragedy struck. The church building which was then at 15574 Twelfth Street burned and we were deprived of a place to worship. Deacon & Sister William Wilson offered their home as a place of worship until the church was repaired.
On March 31, 1957, the membership marched into the lower auditorium of the church at 1840 Midland. During the Ministry of Rev. Mathis, additional auxiliaries were organized as follows:…
Spiritual gifts are diverse…God set the members…as it hath pleased Him…Deaconess and Mother's Board, 1948 - Alberta Underwood, President…Study to show yourself approved…Bible Training Union, 1952-3 - Alyce Green; Vacation Bible School, Alyce Green; Director of Christian Education - Lillian Wilson; First Teachers - Rev. Clarence Bolden, Rev. H.H. Handy, and Rev Ernest Mathis; First Graduates - Oscar Amos, Alberta Underwood, and Delyda Moultrie; First Master's Degree-Delyda A. Moultrie; Minister's Wives, 1957. …Make a joyful noise. First Pianist-Mr. Lewis; First Director-Elizabeth Smith; Male Chorus, 1957-Keller L. Coleman, Jr.; Junior Choir, 1957-Patrula Mason, First President; Sponsors-Elizabeth Render, Alberta Underwood, and Alyce Green; Young People's Choir, 1958-Margaret Combs, Mrs. Willye Ann Bolden, Supervisor; Inspirational Chorus, December, 1960-Palmer Moore, First President; Young Adult Choir, 1961-Margaret Combs, Charles Price, Charles Harris. Mass Choir, 1973-Cheryl Beard,; Senior Choir; Nurses' Guild, 1958-Mary Bradfield, First President; Pastor's Aid-Frankie Tyler, First President; Usher Boards; Senior, 1946-Vivian Johnson, First President, James Mitchell, Organizer; Junior, June, 1956-Gloria Pierce, First President, and Myra Arterbridge, Supervisor; Young people's Usher Board, 1963-Beverly Daniels, President, Helen Moore and Katie Milner, Supervisors; Young Adult Usher Board, 1963-Christine Clark, President, and Ellen Blythe, Sponsor; Name changed to Adult Usher Board #2 in 1975-Helen Manuel; Young Matrons, 1964-Susan Craig, President, and Claudine Mathis, Counselor; Willing Workers, 1958-Ethel Portis, President; Youth Department, 1962-Lillian Wilson, Supervisor.
Finally, on Sunday, May 10, 1958, the membership marched into the sanctuary on the upper level, for our first worship service in the new edifice. The beautiful floral arrangements were provided by Mother Laura Ryan, and she continued to beautify the pulpit until her health began to fail. A few members made sacrifices (Monetary), to enable the march to take place at this time, Rev. Mathis served faithfully and loyally as pastor of Twelfth Street Baptist Church for 27 years.
Rev. Mathis resigned from the pastorate of Twelfth Street Church on August 21, 1975. He served as Pastor Emeritus of Twelfth Street until his labor here was concluded May 10, 1983.
Missionary Francina Wiggins, the sister of the late Mrs. Lillian Wilson was a missionary to Liberia, Africa. She would visit Twelfth Street and make reports on her journeys and missionary work in Africa in the 50’s and the 60’s. A dormitory in Liberia, Africa is named in honor of “Rev. Ernest W. Mathis.”
Rev. Kenneth E. Harris was pastor of Twelfth street Church from February 13, 1976, until of his resignation in September of 1980. Under his pastorate, he organized the Following: Laymen - Dea. Willie D. Engram and Dea. Donald Starnes, Sr.; Outreach Committee, Nursery Department
-Willa Mae Leonard, And Mildred McCurry;, Junior Deacons, Scholarship Committee-Delyda Moultrie, Chairman; The First Night Service on Saturday-Rev. Samuel Thompson; Pictorial History, 1974-Charles Price and Charles Harris.
Rev. Nathan Garrette assumed pastoral duties for a while.
Rev. Joe Green was called into the ministry and licensed in 1981. Rev Green attended the American Baptist College of A.B.T. Seminary in Nashville, TN, under Rev. Earl's Leadership.
Rev. Lee A. Earl accepted pastoral responsibilities – May 29, 1981. Under Rev. Earl’s leadership, Twelfth Street grew tremendously; in terms of membership, ministries, as well as a physical structure.
The following list of accomplishments during the his tenure: Organized a Church Advisory Council, Documented a church constitution in 1981; Organizer, Revitalizer, and Reactivated programs; Formed the Economic Development Commission; Obtained additional church property; motivated our members to take an active part in our church affiliations on the Local, District, and National levels; Provided a retreat for Deacons, Trustees, and Workers; Began a Youth Ministry; Established Rev. E.W. Mathis Scholarship Fund; Expanded weekday ministries to include: Weekly Food Distribution Program, Summer Youth Program, After School Enrichment Program, Child Development, Expanded Senior Citizens Department-Sis. Myrtle Richardson, President and Brother Aaron Funderburg, Co-ordinator; Daytime Bible Study and Prayer Meeting, Project R.E.A.C.H., Mission Circles, Full time Director of Weekday Ministries-Charlene Johnson; Re-organized Matrons to be responsible for the newly crated Children's Department and Youth Department; Organized Culinary Committee-Nannie Underwood and Jeanette Funderburg, 1984; Re-organized Boy Scouts-Donald Starnes, Sr., Scout Master, July, 1982; Organized Girl Scouts-Audrie Banks, Loretta Rogers, Sandra Fletcher, Sept, 1984; Acknowledged Peggy Richardson, Pianist/Directress, since May, 1961, as Minister of Music; Appointed Alcenia Stephens as Director of Public Affairs; Appointed Alice King as Director of Community Relations; Organized Hosts and Hostesses Committee-Deborah Rogers, President and Sis. Aleane Newton; Obtained additional property and completed extensive renovations to the Fellowship Hall, Administrative Building and Senior Citizen's Building; Began 8:00 am Sunday Worship Service; Enhanced Administrative operation of the church: Full-time administrative staff - Verna Harris, Gloria Sanders; Computerized bookkeeping system; and Utilization of Church Accountant and Attorney.
In 1982 Rev. Norman C. LaMotte was called into the Ministry. He was also licensed and ordained, December 7, 1986. And in 1983, Rev. Carl Woodson, was called into the Ministry, both under the pastorage of Pastor Earl.
Deacon Frazier Brown, Comptroller, Linda Smith, Finacial Secretary; LaWanda Earl, Data Processor. The Stewardship Committee - Billy Rodgers, Chairman; The Membership Committee - Dea. Donald & Sis. Evelyn Starnes, Co-chairpersons; The Benevolence Committee, Dea & Mrs. Willie D. Engram. Rev. Audry Turner, first female minister, Rev. Mary Ann McCann, Rev. Lawrence BoBo, Rev. Jeffrey Perkins, ministered under Pastor Earl's pastorage. Bro. James Williams, Minister of Music.
Ground breaking services for the current structure was held – Sunday, May 3, 1987. During the construction period, Worship Services were held at the Pyramid Hall, located at 1271 Oakman Blvd., from August, 1987 until February, 1988. On February 7, 1988, the members marched into our newly renovated edifice, but the building was far from being completed.
Rev. Earl formulated the Economic Development Corporation, which led to the development of REACH, Inc., our non-profit community outreach organization. The Rosa Parks Child Development Center, Food Program, Housing Rehabilitation, Resale Program, Senior Citizens Outreach,
Computer Systems, and opened “Mrs. Funderburg’s Heart & Soul Cafeteria” on the corner of Linwood and Puritan. The restaurant was named in honor our charter member, Mrs. Jeanette Funderburg.
On Sunday, August 1, 1993, Rev. Lee A. Earl read his letter of resignation as pastor of Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church - effective September 1, 1993. Rev. Carl Woodson resigned as Interim Pastor on Sunday, October 10, 1993 – effective 10/17/93.
During the transitional period from August, 1993 – August, 1994, Deacon Charley L. Harris, Chairman of the Deacon Board assumed leadership capacity of leading the church during this period, along with Deacon Willie D. Engram, Vice Chairman, and Deacon Donald Starnes, Acting Church Clerk, Dea. Robert Smith. Bro. Fred Moore, Chairman, Trustee Board, the Official Board, and the membership. The program of the church was continued, and the Lord blessed us spiritually, financially, and physically.
On August 20, 1994, Rev. Donald Ray Hudson, of Omaha, Nebraska, was called to be the pastor of Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church.
In 1994, we celebrated the (50th) Anniversary of our church. This was a momentous occasion. Chaipersons: Dea. Charles Price, Bro. Deamous Underwood, & Bro. Keller L. Coleman, Jr.
Under Rev. Donald R. Hudson’s leadership, our first African Heritage Institute, was instituted on October of 1995, during our 51st. Church Anniversary Celebration. Rev. Hudson appointed Rev. Joel Bowman, Assistant Pastor of Twelfth Street Baptist Church. Rev. Avery Buggs and Rev. Myra Tyler were called to the ministry and were added to the Ministerial Staff, along with Rev. Mary Ann McCann, Rev. Audry Turner, Rev. William Smith, Sr., And Rev. Sharon Posey. Rev. Michael Perry, Min. Patrick Neal, Rev. Mark Harden, Rev. Jacquelyn Willis, Rev. Eugene Cowan Rev. Loretta Perry was added to the Ministerial Staff.
Several ministries of the church were reorganized, and new ministries were developed: (Heritage and Culture, Children/Youth Fellowship, Umoja Literary and Cultural Group, Video and Audio Tape Ministry, Church Activities Committee, Birthday Club, and Evangelism. In 1996, additional ministries were developed: Children’s Church, Youth Ministry’s “Friday Night Live”, new Membership Orientation Classes. Youth Adult Ministry & Choir, Men’s Ministry called “Messiah’s Men”, Reclaim Our Youth Mentorship Program, and a Scholarship Fund for all graduating seniors. In 1997, the Praise Team Ministry was added to the Ministries. the Women’s Ministry was developed. In 1998, the Dance Ministry, Drama Ministry, Discipleship Ministry, Youth Summer Camp Program, Hartford Headstart Program, Agape Men’s Ministry, Children’s Church, the Sunday Institute, and The Intercessory Prayer Ministry.
In 1997, a Special Effort to pay off the Mortgage on the church was developed: called Rebuild-
ing The Walls of Jerusalem.” Scripture: “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah 4:6. Also, minor renovation is
being done around the church.
In October, 2000, during the 56th. Church Anniversary, Bro. Aaron & Sis. Jeanette Funderburg (charter members) were named Father and Mother of Twelfth Street.
Rev. Dr. Donald R. Hudson, read his letter of resignation to the congregation – effective, May 5, 2002.
Rev. Jacquelyn Willis, was elected Interim Pastor, April 21, 2002, and resigned September 4, 2003, effective immediately.
Rev. Thomas Benge, Associate Minister, Peace Baptist Church served as Interim Pastor until Sunday, January 18, 2004.
During this transitional period, beginning March, 2002, Deacon Robert Stokes, Chairman, Deacon Ministry, assumed leadership capacity, along with Deacon Charley Harris, Vice Chairman, the Deacon Ministry, Bro. Deamous Underwood, Chairman, Trustee Ministry, Bro. Bobby Cooper, Vice Chairman, the Official Board, and the members of Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church.
The Outreach Program (Food Store) was revised.
God answered our prayers and blessed us with the Call of Rev. Floyd A. Davis, of Detroit, MI, as Pastor of the Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church, on Sunday, December 14, 2003 – effective, February 1, 2004.
Rev. Davis has been with us only a short time, but his presence is being felt by his preaching and teaching the Word, and his eagerness to serve and know the members. He is a dedicated leader
and believes in doing things decent and in order. Rev. Davis developed The Prayer Ministry, and a Church Leadership Conference for the leaders of the church. The Conference provided an understanding on how to deal with spiritual and human issues. On 9/23/06, Pastor Davis called a Leadership Conference, and the restructuring of the Board of Christian Education was introduced by the associate ministers. Rev. William A. Smith, Director .
On November 24, 2005, the Lord called to glory, our Minister of Music – Bro. Stephan C. Holmes.
On March 29, 2006, Minister Charlene Turner Johnson was licensed to preach.
Pastor Davis coordinated the church anniversary, 2007, and invited the former pastors that have served here at Twelfth Street Missionary Baptist Church. Namely, Rev. Dr. Lee A. Earl, Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris, and Rev. Dr. Donald R. Hudson.
In 2008, Pastor Davis continued his pastoral responsibilities by being the under shepherd of this church. Ministerial Staff: Rev. Dr. Audry Turner, Rev. William A. Smith, Sr., Rev. Claudia Woodard, Minister Charlene Turner Johnson, Minister Cynthia Smith. Dea. Charley L. Harris, Chairman, Deacon's Ministry; Bro. Bobby Cooper, Chairman, Trustee Ministry.
The Year of our Lord, (Two Thousand and Eight), we celebrate our 64th. Church Anniversary. Sis. Shantel Camp is serving as Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Audry Turner, Co-Chairperson
Theme: "It's Time to Praise Him" Scripture Psalm 95
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In 2009, Pastor Floyd A. Davis continues his pastoral responsibilities by being the under shepherd of this church. Ministerial Staff: Rev. Dr. Audry Turner, Rev. William A. Smith, Sr., Minister Charlene Turner Johnson, Minister Cynthia Smith. Dea. Charley L. Harris, Chairman, Deacon Ministry; Trustee Bobby Cooper, Chairman, Trustee Ministry.
In the year of our Lord, (Two Thousand and Nine) on October 18, 2009, we celebrate our 65th Church Anniversary. Trustee Deamous Underwood, Chairman. Theme: “Continuing the Good Fight” 1 Timothy 6:12. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
“We are continuing the Walk of Faith, because we are blessed by the Lord”
May the wisdom of our church history walk with us, may faith continue to lead the way, may we follow in love, may we have greater achievements, and grow to a higher level in life.
Praise to God by proclaiming The Glory of His name!