HISTORY OF SPRINGFIELD MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
In 1932, several members moved their membership from the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and established a sanctuary in a house at 1710 Dodge Avenue.
The church was named LONG MEMORIAL after the founder and Pastor, Rev. G. A. Long. Services were conducted in the house without running water, using a large potbelly coal stove for heat, with pipes which froze in the winter and a ceiling that leaked. After pastoring the church for three years, Rev. Long resigned in 1935 and removed his name from the church. The late Mother Mary Moore then named the church the Springfield Baptist Church.
In 1935, the late Rev. J. Perry was elected the first Pastor of Springfield Baptist Church. Although Rev. Perry was a highly educated man with several degrees, the membership gradually diminished to only twenty-five. Rev. Perry resigned in 1940 and services were continued under the leadership of the following associate ministers who are all deceased: Rev. Crawford, Rev. C. Lane and Rev. J. White.
The Membership continued to diminish to only eighteen. But then God saw the need and heard the prayers of the righteous few. On Easter Sunday in 1941 the Rev. L. M. Geter became the second Pastor of Springfield Baptist Church. He accepted the position knowing Springfield could not pay him a salary. The first love offering to Rev. Geter was $12, and he gave it back to the church to help buy coal for the potbellied stove. Rev. Geter was a great spiritual Leader, Worker and Pastor. Under his humble leadership the Church grew. In 1943 Rev. Geter and the officers of the church incorporated and chartered the church. The church then became the SPRINGFIELD MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH.
Rev. Geter was a pastor with vision, and the Lord placed it upon his heart to build a tabernacle that would be a light house for God’s people. With the help of the entire Springfield family and through large pledges and sacrifices, the lot at 1801 Emerson Street was purchased.
On July 7, 1946, Rev. Geter and the Late Mayor Ingram removed the first shovel of dirt to pave the way for a larger church. With the late Sister Ruth Geter by his side, and a faithful membership, the foundation was laid and the basement completed in 1948. Thus, in 1948 the members marched from 1710 Dodge Avenue to 1801 Emerson and services were held in the basement until the upstairs sanctuary was completed.
On February 1, 1956 the upstairs sanctuary was completed and services began in the main auditorium upstairs. Soon thereafter the main auditorium became too small and a second addition was made to the church which extended the main auditorium all the way back to the alley, to its present structure. This extension was in 1968.
Rev. Geter, during his tenure, organized the Junior and Senior Usher Boards, Gospel Chorus No. 1 and No. 2, the Junior Choir, the Courtesy Club, Utility Club, Willing Workers and Mayflowers Club, Junior and Senior Nurse’s Aide Boards, Junior and Senior Missionary Groups and Male Chorus. After 34 years of faithful service, Rev Geter resigned as pastor. Springfield is a beautiful edifice which stands as a testimony to his leadership and as evidence of the dedicated labor of our Christian forefathers. It is indeed a lighthouse for the community and for present and future generations.
In March, 1975, Rev. Jerome Brown was elected pastor of Springfield. In November, 1980 he ordained Rev. James Lane and Rev. Larry Edwards. In March 1982, he ordained Rev. Georgia Lane and Rev. Reginald Tucker. He ordained twelve deacons; and on December 11, 1977, the church mortgage was burned. New wall to wall carpeting, pews and an organ were purchased for the church. In 1978, Rev. Brown organized Phebe Circle. Rev. Brown served as pastor until December 1984.
In the interim, the church was without a pastor for eight months and many members left, but services were carried on under the leadership of the associate ministers, Rev. James Lane, Rev. Georgia Lane, Rev. Joseph Harris and Rev. Reginald Tucker. The administration of church affairs was carried on under the leadership of the chairman of the board of Deacons, Deacon J. Frank Gibbs. The church celebrated its golden 50th year anniversary during this time.
On October 12, 1985, Rev. Larry B. Crews was elected Pastor of Springfield and he was installed on March16, 1986. Rev, Crews passed away on Tuesday, June 16, 1987. Rev. Crews was a very effective leader. He organized the Inspirational Ensemble, the Matrons, the Men’s Fellowship, initiated the purchase of a church van for the convenience of getting members to church and a lunch center to feed the homeless at the church. One hundred and thirty-seven members joined, 53 were candidates for baptism, and the offerings grew to 6 figures as Rev. Crews taught the blessing of the tithes and offering. Rev. Crew’s theme was: “Much prayer, Much Power, Little Prayer, Little Power, No Prayer, No Power.”
Again without a pastor from June 16, 1987 to June 1988 the church again continued under the pulpit leadership of associate minister Rev. James A. Lane and the day to day administrative leadership of Chairman J. Frank Gibbs.
On June 6, 1988 Rev. James A. Lane was elected the fifth pastor of Springfield. His installation service was held on September 11, 1988. In one year as Pastor, Rev. Lane led the church on a trip to the Holy Land (Israel) in August 1989, licensed two ministers Rev Moses Butler and Rev. J Frank Gibbs and he ordained three deacons, Curtis Williams, Lionel Williams and Robert Foster and initiated a soul saving revival conducted by the Rev. Katie M. Nugent in September 1989. Rev. Lane received several commendations conducted a number of marriages, christenings, baptisms and funerals. With his enthusiastic support an educational scholarship was established in honor of Rev. Geter’s long dedicated service to Springfield Missionary Baptist Church and the community, The Rev. L. M. Geter Educational Scholarship.
Rev. Fred E. Harris, Jr. became the pastor on April 29, 2000. During his tenure, he organized a Women’s Ministry; Drill Team and Liturgical Dance Troupes and performed numerous baptisms.
Rev. Christopher J. Murry became pastor on January 2, 2007. During his tenure he organized the Voices of Springfield choir and the Dreamers & Conquerors Ministry.
Rev. Emmitt T. Williams, III accepted the call
to become the pastor of the historical
Under Pastor Williams’s leadership; we have become increasingly active in the community spiritually and socially; restructured the Christian education ministry filling the atmosphere of the church with love. Purchased a new organ and air conditioning unit; placed new wall to wall carpet on the floors; painted the sanctuary as well as paved the church parking lot. We have created a church website and formed a media ministry. Developed a praise dance ministry along with a drill team so our youth can express their love for Christ!
Much has been done by God’s grace, but there is still much more to do. Pastor Williams’s prayer is that we as a church will continue to learn and live the word of God and become more committed to the work of God’s house. We must understand that we are the church! Everyone does count.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing of that called the WORD OF GOD! "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor.5:7)