The History of Second Baptist Church
After worshiping for awhile under the bush arbor, those early fore runners gained faith in God and confidence in themselves. A small group of Christian women transferred their membership from the White Baptist Church forming the first membership of Second Baptist Church. The members were Sister Jane Wilburn, Sister Jane Dickens, Sister Eliza Brown, Sister Vinna Thompson, Sister Matilda Ivy Sanders, Sister Betty McCloud, Sister Poly Avent, and the Church’s first Mother, Martha Butler. Reverend Ned Johnson served as their first pastor, and a non member, Henry Wood served as the custodian.
On April 21, 1873 the group purchased the former church site, currently a parking lot, for the sum of fifty dollars ($50.00). Many contributions were made from the White Baptist Church and citizens of Oxford in the construction of the first and second frame church building.
The most outstanding pastor of the early church was the Reverend H. W. Bowen, who came to Oxford from Macon, Mississippi. He pastored the early church membership and served as one of the first Negro school teachers of Oxford. From the pulpit, this noted leader advanced the ideas of education for children to the ex-slaves mothers and fathers. The first school for Negroes blossomed into existence in the first church structure. The first students were Callie Coleman Johnson, Mrs. Macon Taylor, and Joanna Isom.
During the pastoring of Reverend Bowen, fire destroyed the first frame building; shortly thereafter a second frame structure took its place.
On January 2-3, 1895 additional land was purchased from Taylor Robertson and wife Edmonia Robertson; the parcel land next to and adjoining Second Baptist Church.
In 1896, Reverend Blind Jim Ivy became an integral part of the University of Mississippi. He joined Second Baptist and led the way in efforts to rebuild the roof on the second frame building. second frame building.
On January 18, 1905 Trustees of the Second Baptist Church J.W. Avant, George Harvey, and Charles Avant purchased more property from Hattie Anderson for the sum of six hundred and fifty dollars ($650.00). Brother George Harvey served as Trustee and was Chairman of the Deacon Board for forty-five years. Reverend D. P. Shaw served as pastor and was remembered for preaching and singing long meter hymns that shook the sinners right out of their seats.
1911 – Pastor H. E. Clemons from Memphis, Tennessee was a zealous, courageous, and valiant character. Like a great warrior, he joined hands with the faithful membership and built the previous stone structure church.
1915 – Pastor J. J. Olive- married Blind Jim Ivy and Margeret Terrell on August 15, 1915.
1918 – Pastor Chester A. Greer-The baptistry was built by the late Stanfield Taylor and designed by Walter M. Johnson. The first candidate baptized in the baptistery was Arhlia Gipson Boles.
1920 – Pastor P. A. Lenon was the minister.
1922 – Pastor D. P. Shaw was remembered as being the hottest thing since the burning bush.
1924 – Pastor J. S. Mills-Bro. Will Mitchell’s family united with Second Baptist Church from the Burgess community.
1927 – Pastor E. M. Porter-Members began worshipping together every Sunday in the month for morning and evening services. At six o’clock on Sunday evenings, children, youth, and adults attended the BYPU. An annual summer Sunday School and BYPU picnic was sponsored by the pastor and church staff.
1933 – Pastor Armstead Williams conducted a two-week summer revival. Sister Dovie E. Johnson was elected to the office of Second Baptist Church Clerk, Sunday School teacher organizer, President of Missionary Society, organizer and first President of the T.O.M.B. District Mission.
1934 – Pastor Robert W. Wilkins of Holly Springs, Mississippi was a provocative preacher. He served for seven years and died in office during the summer of 1942.
1942 – Pastor W. L. Myers of Memphis, Tennessee was elected on October 21, 1942. He served for three months.
1943 – Pastor James H. Johnson was elected and served for three months.
1943 – Pastor Elijah Johnson of Memphis, Tennessee was elected on June 21, 1943. Recommended a one treasury system. Gas heat was installed to replace old pot bellied coal stoves.
1947 – Pastor William L. Buchanan of West Point, Mississippi. Under his administration a new roof was placed on the church; the restrooms for men and women were added to the church.
1953 – Pastor H. W. Ratliff of Okolona, Mississippi-a Pastor’s Aid Club was established. The church participated faithfully in the district, state, national association, and conventions. Brother W. H. (Hamp) Davidson became an ordained minister of the Gospel. The first church history was written by Bro. Walter M. Johnson and presented to the membership on August 30,1953.
1955 – Pastor John E. Cameron of Meridian, Mississippi was elected on November 22nd. New church pews were installed in the sanctuary, and shrubbery outside was purchased by individual members of the church. The church’s interior walls and ceilings were plastered. New light fixtures were donated by Ms. Doxie Foster. Our first printed order of service was introduced. The mirror over the baptistry was donated by Mr. and Mrs. S. G . Gooden. Brotherhood was organized. Mrs. Gertrude Buford was appointed pianist for the Sunbeam Choir. Thirty-two young people were baptized and added to the church roll. The Mother Board was organized.
1957 – Pastor George Washington Reece of Gulfport, Mississippi was elected. Five deacons ordained; Trustee board established, new organ and red carpet purchased, choir number two organized with the Pastor’s wife, Sister Rose Reece serving as pianist. The Northeast Mississippi State Convention was hosted by Second Baptist in 1961.
1962 – Pastor Moses E. Pleasure of Mobile, Alabama was elected. Sunday morning service was broadcasted on radio station WSUH. The pastor built a tithing box and a lighted cross. The water fountain was placed in the lobby. The motto was “Silence in the presence of the Lord.” A full report of tithes, offerings, and auxiliaries was published in the weekly church program.
1964 – Pastor Ras S. Pickens of Brandon, Mississippi was elected. The first calendar for special events for the year was initiated. One deacon was ordained. Additional property adjoining the church on the North side was purchased from the Martins for the Sum of $2,500.00. The bus ministry began. The membership voted the Deacon Board would act as a “Pulpit Committee” and that no minister shall occupy the pulpit without the consent of the Deacon Board.
1969 – Pastor T. A. Woods of Nesbit, Mississippi served three months.
1970 – Pastor M. T. Moore of Okolona, Mississippi was elected and served for thirteen years. The east room in the old parsonage was repaired. A Junior Deacon Board was appointed by the pastor with four deacons. One member was added to the Trustee Board. Choir Number Four was organized. Additional property joining the church on the North and West was purchased. The old Pastorium was torn down. The ceiling of the church sanctuary was lowered and redecorated; new ceiling flood lights and air conditioning were installed. A piano was donated to the church by Sis. Ruby Drummond. Newly built Pastorium was completed in 1975.
1983 – Pastor Leroy Wadlington was the first native born Oxonian to be elected. He served twenty-three years, and accomplished all goals set for the church. Members were encouraged to tithe. Several Trustee members were elected. The second church history was written by Sister Susie Marshall and presented to the membership on September 23, 1984. The church was able to purchase two church vans, a Hammond organ, and a baby grand piano. A new church was structured in 1986, and the old church was demolished. Women trustees were appointed. Sis. Sally Starks organized the deaconess. A unified choir was organized, a computer system was installed in the church office and a diversity in divinity ministry with St. Peters Episcopal Church began. An integral participation with the University of Mississippi and the community began. Additional structure to the church was built including a fellowship hall, commercial kitchen, educational rooms and computer laboratory. Under the leadership of Pastor Wadlington we were lead by God to form Pathways Family Life Center(a 501C3 ministry). Pastor Wadlington appointed Rev. Tony Anderson as interim pastor 2006. Rev. Tony Anderson served for eight months.
2006 – Pastor Andrew Robinson, Sr. of Canton, Mississippi was elected on September 12, 2006. He is a God sent preacher, teacher, and singer who expresses love to everyone. A trustee member was elected. Under his pastorage, new members are being added to the church’s roll weekly. The third church history was written by Sister Dilcy Ivy and submitted for the church online publication.