THE OFFICIAL CHURCH HISTORY:
Varying accounts reflect that Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church was formally organized as a church of the Lord Jesus Christ on July 5, 1928, under the leadership of Reverend Forest Few. Reverend Wagstad served as moderator of the organizing council, and Sis. M. Few was the recording secretary during the deliberations. As founding pillars of Macedonia, these two individuals’ roles were pivotal in laying the foundation and helping the later development of what we know now as Macedonia. Located in the “Hog Bottom” area of Dayton (near where Dunbar High presently sits on Richley Avenue), the church began on its mission to provide salvation and transformation to any who sought and needed it. Amidst a major depression in the American economy, Macedonia offered hope and help to a hurting community through creative worship and life-changing ministries to encourage families and a people in need. It wasn’t long thereafter the church was constrained to relocate, and found sanctuary in the Norwood Street area of the city in the vicinity of the Linden Recreational Center. Speculation is that the first properties were owned by Reverend Few, and that at some point he kindly transferred the deeds of trust to the church.
As the ministry of Macedonia began to distinguish itself, Reverend Few graciously (and with the congregation’s assent) conferred leadership to Reverend John Wright as its next leader. The growing congregation soon purchased a lot for $100 at 262 Hanover Street, and the membership actually hand-constructed their first church facility to house worship and the study of the Word of God. Today this property (located in the western part of the city), is affectionately referred to as “Old Macedonia” in the area known (then) as Crown Point. Today the area is called Jefferson Township.
Thirteen years into her existence, Macedonia experienced a brief merger with the Salem Missionary Baptist Church of the city, but that relationship would only last for almost a year. Reverend Wright and Reverend Moragne (Salem’s pastor at that time) prayerfully attempted to combine the ministries during the economic fallout from the depression (under the Macedonia banner), but for varying reasons were unfortunately unsuccessful to congenially sustain the relationship. Salem was later re-established and continued to function under Reverend Moragne’s leadership until his death in 1947.
Like so many others during that time, the fledgling church struggled for years to remain afloat; but equally remained patient until God extended His amazing grace to the ministry between 1950 and 1961. From all over the city, people started coming and expressing a desire to become a part of the Macedonia experience. It wouldn’t be long before more space was needed to accommodate the growing host of people who would attend weekly. In 1961, the current property at 27 North Gettysburg Avenue was procured for a mere $80,000. On the second Sunday, February 11, 1962, a motorcade of over three hundred people left 262 Hanover Street and proceeded to the new church at 27 North Gettysburg Avenue. Some people called this a move to the “downtown” location even though the church was not located in downtown Dayton. This was a big day in the history of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. Ten years after the building was purchased, the mortgage was burned.
What followed was an interesting season of rebuilding and relaunching. People were led by the Holy Spirit from all over the Dayton metropolitan area to Macedonia. God graced the church with exponential growth. It wasn’t long before a larger building was needed to accommodate the swelling numbers. Key to this season of growth was the memorable leadership of Reverend Marcus T. Clark, a previous deacon of the church, who heard God’s call to preach. Brother Clark surrendered to the ministry in July 1949, and nearly a year later, he became the pastor of Macedonia. At that time, there were only seven members: Sister M.L. Clark, Deacon and Sister G. Cook, Deacon J. Bryant, Deacon Masters, Sister Fannie Hardwick, and Sister Moragne.
The church membership continued to grow at an enormous pace. People were coming from everywhere to see and experience the “new” Macedonia. A Youth Ministry was formed which had about as many children and youth as the adults who were in attendance in the main sanctuary. The Youth Ministry slowly emerged and the late Reverend J.D. Smith along with a few others oversaw the dynamic youth ministry. Out of the Youth Ministry was organized youth ushers and junior deacons. Youth services were a key component to the church’s appeal as their services were conducted in the basement of the church while the adult worshipped upstairs. Many who watched this development concluded that Reverend Clark had a vision “as far as he could see; and the people were coming.” As God used him to serve the church, he sensed the need to further his ministry through formal education at the Dayton Bible College. He received a certificate from Simmons Theological Seminary in Cincinnati and was awarded an honorary degree for faithful ministry. Various additional ministries were established under Pastor Clark’s leadership such as the Youth Choir, Gospel Chorus, Senior Choir, Junior and Senior Ushers, Tape Ministry, Van Ministry, and more. Seventeen (17) persons were licensed and ordained into the gospel preaching ministry as well as hundreds of people united with the church.
The Reverend Marcus T. Clark served Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church for forty-three years until his retirement on October 17, 1993. Upon retirement, he remained with the church and became an official member. He died on January 6, 1994. Reverend Emanuel Cowan (an associate minister) served during the interim and worked until his death with Reverend Clark’s successor in 1996.
On the second Sunday of December, 1994, the Doctor Robert E. Baines, Jr., from Syracuse, NY, became Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church’s fifth pastor. Doctor Baines, Jr. brought experience, educational, vison, ideas, and a new leadership style to the Dayton area. God’s clear hand of favor showed itself on this union as hundreds of people joined or many who had withdrawn reinstated their memberships to Macedonia. A fresh emphasis on Christian education and relevant ministry paved the way for over twenty additional ministries, the purchase of Macedonia Manor, Inc. (24 apartments, 2 houses, and a commercial building), the development of many disciples, and a multiple staff. Doctor Robert E. Baines, Jr. served Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church until his resignation on May 10, 2009.
On the fourth Sunday November 22, 2009, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church ended a six month search for a Pastor when the overwhelming majority called the Doctor Jamison Hunter as its sixth Pastor. His person and presence in the Macedonia and Dayton community continues to distinguish itself in meaningful and impactful ways. Through him, the Lord is taking the ministry to new heights and at a rapid pace. In only a few years, the membership has more than doubled and the work is aggressively moving towards a million dollar operation. With a keen interest in discipleship and individual growth, there is genuine spiritual excitement in the air. The plans for a new facility have already been drawn to try and keep up with the blossoming numbers. As Paul penned to his beloved friends and cohorts in Corinth, “…eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of men what good things God has in store…” for the family of God labelled the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. We can’t wait!!!
The time-line below details the tenures of the pastors who have served the Macedonia Church family.
|1. 1928 to 1929||Reverend Forest Few|
|2. 1929-1947||Reverend John Wright|
|3. 1948-1949||Reverend Edward Varner|
|4. 1949 to 1993||Reverend Marcus Clark|
|5. 1994 to 2009||Doctor Robert E. Baines, Jr.|
|6. 2009 to present||Doctor Jamison Hunter|
As you can see, in our fourscore (plus) history, Macedonia has enjoyed the favor of God through some distinguished men who have given and one who now gives leadership to this ministry. The church has witnessed a city that was once a vibrant northern industrial haven for many persons who moved from the south, to the revisited economic challenges of the 1920s. In spite of these challenges, God has continued to extend grace to this ministry and afforded us the privilege of yet transforming lives and making disciples one person at a time.