History Of The
Southern Missionary Baptist Church
The Southern Missionary Baptist Church was organized in September, 1917, on the corner of Second and Webster Streets, West Madison, Illinois, under the leadership of the Rev. J. L. Lewis. The church consisted of seventeen members. The Chairman of the Deacon Board was Bro. David Kendrick. The Church later moved to 900 Franklin Street.
Rev. Lewis served as Pastor until 1919. His successors have been the Reverends J. W. King, Johnson, Clark, Spencer, Harris, Gipson, M. C. Newsome, L. H. Hogan, R. D. Raspberry, L. J. Jordan, W. M. Lane, E. J. McCormick, H. B. Robinson, A. G. Williams, S. L. Calhoun, William J. Wise, Edward O. Williamson, and our present Pastor, Rev. Sherrell L. Byrd, Jr.
In the winter of 1947, the Southern Missionary Baptist Church was damaged by fire. During the reconstruction, Church services were conducted in the Dunbar High School. In the Spring of 1948, the Church was repaired and services resumed at 900 Franklin.
In 1956, the Rev. H. B. Robinson became Pastor of the Southern Missionary Baptist Church and in 1957, under his leadership, we entered into a building fund drive. The foundation for the new Church was laid in 1960. Rev. Robinson served until April, 1964. Rev. A. G. Williams became Pastor in July of 1964, the members continued the building fund drive. In November, 1964, the Church Bond System was organized and carried out successfully. The Church sold $25,000 in Bonds in less than two weeks. The successful drive enabled the Church to complete its new Church Building, located at the corner of Klein and Bissell Streets. The Cornerstone laying service was held on the First Sunday in July, 1965. The First Church Service was held in the new building in August, 1965, under Pastor Williams' leadership. The Church successfully paid off its mortgage and liquidated all indebtedness in December, 1971. In December, 1971, Rev. S. L. Calhoun was called to Southern Missionary Baptist Church. During hos leadership, many souls were saved and through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit and with the help and cooperation of the congregation, many good things were accomplished. Rev. Calhoun was a very strong young and dedicated Pastor. Under his leadership, the Sanctuary Choir was organized, seat cushions were purchased, seats in the choir stand and a new church van was purchased.
Through the Spirit of God in the name of Jesus Christ, Rev. W. J. Wise was called to our church in August, 1979. A spiritually strong Minister and dedicated young Pastor, in two years under his leadership, many great thongs happened. He was a Bible Teacher and taught a Bible Class each Wednesday evening. He visited and prayed for the sick and encouraged the members to do the same. Through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit and the help and cooperation of the congregation, Rev. Wise was a great leader and Pastor for the Southern Missionary Baptist Church.
Through the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit, Rev. Edward O. Willamson was called to serve as Pastor of Southern Baptist in August, 1990. Rev. Williamson was a very high-spirited, dedicated and humble young man. He believed to be truly successful, we must acknowledge Christ as our Lord, and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit in all actions. During his pastorship, many souls were saved. He taught a Bible Class on Tuesday evenings and encouraged members to always consult the word. Pastor Williamson truly believed that "We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us." He also believed that everyone in the church must be trained in servanthood. His motto was "We're all in this together."
In February, 2000, following much prayer and guidance and the Holy Spirit, God sent us another Pastor, one filled with compassion and love, in the person of Rev. Sherrell L. Byrd, Jr. And how shall they preach unless they are sent? YES, IT IS A NEW DAY! All things are working together for good. Many souls have been saved during Rev. Byrd's brief tenure as Pastor. Our Youth Ministry has grown, we've purchased a heater for baptismal pool, purchased property (903 Bissell and four lots on Franklin), purchased a 27 passenger bus, a new Hammond organ, A new Canon Image Maker copier, ceiling fans for sanctuary, new chairs and tables for lower level, new lights for sanctuary, a new handicapped accessible water fountain, new carpet for the vestibule and church office, created a sitting room on upper level, fenced and gated our entire square block, up-graded church wiring, installed emergency lighting and exits, fire extinguishers and alarms have been added throughout the church, and created a church library. We also have a church web-site for the first time. Church membership has increased, three associate ministers have been added to the staff, four Deacons have been ordained and added to the Deacon Ministry, the Mother's Board was reorganized, the Sanctuary Choir has been reorganized, Created the Southerner News Letter, Authored "Our Higher Calling" (a weekly devotional), Bible Study has increased in numbers and now includes a Youth Bible study class, and our Sunday School has grown Spiritually as well as physically. The Lord has given Pastor Byrd the vision of building a new Building for Southern to worship in. With God's help, it will be done.
I commend our officers for their cooperation, but we have just begun. There are many things left to do. By the grace of our Lord and Savior and the cooperation of our wonderful congregation, we will get it done.