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Our History

The history of Messiah Baptist Church dates back to the spring of 1892. The first worshippers met in the Calvary Methodist Church building located on North Clinton and William Streets in East Orange, New Jersey. Some of the founding members decided to move to another site which was located at Maple Avenue and Church Street and there they incorporated the name of North Clinton Baptist Church. Reverend George Reed became the first pastor of this small flock.

With their first pastor and a handful of members, the church saw growth during the early years. In 1897, North Clinton Baptist Church was registered among religious societies and granted charter in the Essex County Hall of Records. Deacon Richard H. Foster, Chairman of the Deacons, was responsible for initiating the charter. The organization of the church included a seventeen member Board of Deacons and a ten member Board of Trustees.

Reverend Edward B. Samuels followed Reverend Reed as pastor and the church worshipped in a building located at 523 Main Street. In October 1904, the church once again moved, this time to 13 Oak Street in East Orange, New Jersey. The acquisition of the property at 13 Oak Street was attributed to Reverend Samuels. Church members and the Board of Trustees raised funds to purchase the property and historical records show that the mortgage transaction was completed in the early 1920’s. Reverend H. M. Hutching followed Reverend Samuels and under his pastorate the interior of the sanctuary was remodeled, rehabilitated and refurbished. The church continued to prosper and grow for the next decade.

Early in 1952, Reverend N. Spencer Glover came to occupy the pulpit of North Clinton Baptist Church as pastor. After his arrival, the church purchased the property next door located at 17 Oak Street. In 1954, under the leadership of Pastor Glover, North Clinton Baptist Church officially became Messiah Baptist Church. Messiah saw phenomenal growth under the leadership of Pastor Glover and with that growth came a new sanctuary adjacent to the existing church. The new sanctuary was completed in 1965. Pastor Glover served faithfully until 1970, and after his resignation, Messiah extended a call to the Reverend Harry L. Batts of Petersburg, Virginia.

Under the pastorate of Reverend Batts, Messiah continued to grow and with that growth came: installation of a baptismal pool; installation of an air-conditioning unit; expansion of the church parking lot; purchase of a 15 passenger van; purchase of a 49 passenger bus; the formation of the Messiah Baptist Church Federal Credit Union; a daily food program that provided hot meals for the hungry in the East Orange community; and the burning of the church mortgage. In August of 2003, Reverend Batts resigned as pastor and returned back to his native Virginia.

A search committee was formed to lead the church in selecting a new pastor and in May of 2004, Messiah extended a call to the Reverend Dana P. Owens of Dayton, Ohio. Reverend Owens began as Pastor on June 20, 2004 and since then he has been leading Messiah in the direction of spiritual growth and bringing lost souls to Christ. The worship services have been enhanced with weekly Bible Studies, noon and evenings, and Sunday School for youth and adults. Under Reverend Owens pastorate Messiah welcomed its first female Assistant Pastor. Property purchases, upgrades and improvements include: purchase of 40 Linden Ave for further expansion of the parking lot; purchase of a hauling van; sale of property at 12 Oak St.; renovation of the fellowship hall and 3 restrooms; installation of a handicapped lift, audio/PA systems, a computer network, an alarm system, and new floors. With the formation of numerous new ministries, the church has been strengthened.

Rev. George Reed   
Rev. J. M. Bryant
Rev. Edward B. Samuels
Rev. J. R. Thompson
Rev. H. M. Hutching
Rev. N. R. Hale
Rev. Leroy Wynn (Interim)
Rev. G. B. Letsinger
Rev. Franklin
Rev. N. Spencer Glover
Rev. J. D. Brooks
Rev. Harry L. Batts

Rev. Dana P. Owens