Memorial Baptist Church began modestly as a Sunday
School in the home of Bettie Houston on the 2300
block of Stewart Street in North Philadelphia on
August 4, 1895.
They quickly outgrew their small quarters and
moved to the tiny rear hall of a building located at
the corner of 23rd and Jefferson Streets.
In 1902, the Rev. S.J. Comfort, formerly of Cherry
Street Baptist Church, became the pastor.
Under his reorganization, Mt. Calvary Gospel
Mission became Miller Memorial Baptist Church, a
memoriam to the life and legacy of Reverend Theodore
Miller, pastor of Cherry Street Baptist Church.
1905, the Reverend Wilkins E. Jones was called to be
Pastor. The churchís attendance increased so
rapidly that they were forced from the rear hall to
the front hall, and even the front hall wasnít
adequate after a few short years. The church bought
an old machine shop at 21st and Jefferson
Streets and remodeled it into a church in 1907.
Eighteen years later, in June 1925, Rev. W.E.
Jones broke ground for his still ever-growing
congregation at the present site at 1518 North 22nd
Street, at the cost of $150,000. The cornerstone was
laid in September of 1925 and the main sanctuary was
completed in February 1926.
Rev. W.E. Jones was a pillar in his North
Philadelphia community, encouraging African
Americans to own their own businesses and to buy
their homes. He was referred to as a benefactor,
philosopher, teacher, citizen and beloved pastor.
He believed wholeheartedly that the church
should stand for the preaching of the gospel in its
serving diligently as pastor for 30 years, the Lord
called his servant from labor to reward in 1935.
1936, the church body called Wilkins E. Jonesís
son, John Luke Jones to be their under shepard.
The meteoric rise of Miller Memorial
continued under J. Luke Jones.
Under his pastorate, the Excelsior School of
Religious Education was opened in 1939.
He also oversaw the building of a quarter
million dollar educational annex, containing more
than twenty rooms, two large assembly rooms and a
In December of 1964, three days before
Christmas, the sanctuary was partially destroyed by
a devastating fire set intentionally by arsonists.
Rev J. Lukeís faith remained steadfast as
he continued to have worship services in the lower
auditorium until the sanctuary was reconstructed.
His strength in the midst of tragedy kept the
congregation together and thriving.
The welfare of others was a throbbing must
in his heart. J.
Luke was adamant about allowing Christ to use our
hands, feet, tongues, and resources to do Godís
work on earth.
After 35 years of faithful service, poor
health forced Rev. J. Luke Jones into emeritus
was called home May 27, 1972.
church had to select a new pastor and again they
decided on a son of Miller- the Reverend Dr. Roland
V. Jones. Rev.
R.V. Jones was no relation to W.E
Jones or J. Luke Jones, but was a
longstanding and active member of MMBC just the
had begun his service in Sunday School and B.Y.P.U.
(Baptist Young Peopleís Union) and was director of
Youth Activities for many years.
After receiving his license and ordination at
MMBC, he went on to serve as pastor at the First
Baptist Church of Darby in Darby, PA before being
called back to his home church.
R.V. Jonesís vision was to revitalize the
church and community and to get the membership
started Vacation Bible School, the Scholarship
Committee and the Deaconess Board.
Under R.V. Jonesí pastorate, many
traditions began that still continue today such as
Good Friday Service, Easter Sunrise Service, and
serving Holy Communion to shut-in members.
R.V. Jonesí service to God was not
restricted to the walls of MMBC.
He was a member of many organizations,
including the NAACP, the National Baptist
Convention, and the Pennsylvania Baptist State
Convention. He was founder and president of the
North Central Council of Churches.
R.V. Jones was instrumental in the
development of preachers of the gospel and gave
birth to at least a dozen ministers in his
twenty-two years as pastor.
In January of 1993, God called R.V. Jones
MMBC family now had another difficult decision to
make in choosing a pastor to guide them into the
They chose another son of Miller, the
grandson of Wilkins E. Jones- Reverend Wilkins O.
Rev. W.O. Jonesís vision for the MMBC
congregation to be a catalyst in rebuilding the
North Philadelphia community where the church was
located became the churchís vision as well.
Many new events were organized with this goal
in mind, such as Community Day: Bridging the Gap, in
which members of the community joined with members
of the church for a summer day of games and food; as
well as health screenings and motivational speaking.
The Missionary Society also began the
Share-A-Blessing program, which provided meals for
disadvantaged community members weekly and on
addition, Miller Memorial partnered with Reynoldsí
Elementary School in a mentorship program created to
assist the students, faculty and parents in any ways
November of 2001, after bringing the congregation
into the 21st century, the Lord said well
done to His good and faithful servant.
2001, Rev. Henry Baldwin, former Tuskegee Airman,
preacher and teacher of Godís word was appointed
to be Interim Pastor. His spiritual leadership and
wise counsel kept the congregation unified and
committed to Godís work.
Many ongoing projects were completed under
his leadership, including the installation of a new
love of Godís word was central to his philosophy
as a man of God.
Following years of searching and praying, the
church was finally ready to select a new pastor for
Miller Memorial Baptist Church.
On February 1, 2004, the Reverend Wayne M.
Weathers was installed.
In the short time since Rev. Weathers has
picked up the mantle, he has instituted several new
committees and ministries such as the Intercessory
Prayer Ministry, Public Relations Committee, and the
Policy and Procedures Committee.
He has started a monthly tradition called
Fellowship Sunday, in which Miller Memorial worships
and fellowships with another church.
we stand boldly on the threshold of the future, we
know that God still has great work for us to do.
With eager and dedicated hearts, and with the
guidance of the Heavenly Father, Miller Memorial
will march on.
As our proud past buoys us and our present
prayers strengthen us, we are certain that our
future will be bright.
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