Macedonia Baptist Church of East St. Louis, Illinois, Inc. was organized in 1863 and was incorporated the same year under the laws of the State of Illinois. A small group of Christian women first organized the Church in Venice Island, IL. The Pastor of this newly organized church was Rev. J. Martin. The original name given to the church was “The First Colored Baptist Church.” Later the name was changed to “Macedonia Colored Baptist Church” and eventually the present name “Macedonia Baptist Church” became the permanent name. In 1892, the congregation moved to 506 Brady in East St. Louis, IL. This property was given to them by Mrs. Sarah Pittman.
In 1915, Rev. B. M. Hurd was called as Pastor. Under his leadership, the frame building was demolished and a brick basement was erected.
In 1920, Rev. Jesse F. Bowers became Pastor. In 1927 he purchased the land located at 1331 East Broadway.
In 1929, Rev. Walton was called as Pastor and served until November 1930.
December 1930, Rev. C. Morgan Miller became Pastor. The building at 1331 E. Broadway was remodeled from a two-story framed house to a church building. Under his leadership, in October 1933 the members moved from 506 Brady to 1331 E. Broadway.
In 1934, Rev. Robert Lee White was called as Pastor. Under his leadership, many changes and progress were made. There was much discrimination against people of color, during the earlier part of establishing a church for blacks.
In 1940, Rev. Thomas L. Watson served as Pastor. It was under his dynamic and progressive leadership that the mortgage on the church building was paid and mortgage burning ceremonies were held in June of 1942.
Rev. Horace George Begley served as Pastor from July 1943 until his resignation in August 1961. During his progressive tenure as Pastor, the church continued to grow in many ways. His main contributions: the creation of a church administration manual and construction of a new church building, to name a few. In April 1948, the groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the new Macedonia Baptist Church building. In February 1953, Rev. Begley led his congregation into the edifice, at 1335 E. Broadway.
Rev. David V. Robinson was called as Pastor in September 1961at the age of 23, the youngest to be called to Macedonia. Under his leadership, the basement of the church was remodeled and folding partitions were installed to provide separate classrooms for Sunday School. The kitchen was equipped and new pews were installed. The church office, pastor’s study and women’s lounge were completed. Rev. Robinson who had been nationally known as “Little David” the Boy Preacher” served the congregation well until resigning in December 1966 to pursue higher academic endeavors.
In January 1967, the Rev. Dr. Norman E. Owens was installed as Pastor. Under his leadership, the numerical and spiritual strength of the church increased tremendously. Improvements to the facility included the installation of a chair lift, air conditioning and establishing and equipping the church office. Rev. Owens led the church in retiring the mortgage at 1335 E. Broadway. In February 2004, Rev. Owens led the congregation to the present location 1400 E. Broadway Ave. After 47 years of dedicated service Rev. Owens retired and became Pastor Emeritus of Macedonia Baptist Church in 2013.
After three long years of searching for a shepherd, The Rev. J. Kevin James, Jr., was elected as Pastor on July 10, 2016 at the age of 25. Pastor James & Macedonia took on the motto: “A Church For All Generations.” As a multigenerational Church, Macedonia has begun to renew a passion for teaching, reaching, and building for the Kingdom of God. Offering over 20 ministries that seeks to Build a Body of Committed Disciples of All Generations. The following ministries have been created or reimagined: The Circle of Hope Empowerment, New Harvest Ministry, Trendsetters Young Adult Ministry/Choir, Children’s Choir, Mothers Board and the Macedonia Community Garden.
Pastor James has led Macedonia to expand in ground breaking ministry. In 2017, Pastor James ordained 21 individuals to office of Deacon. Reimaging the office of Deacon, allowed for 11 women to be ordained to this position. Another first was the licensing of female ministers to the preaching ministry.
As a model for ministry excellence, Macedonia has become a sought-after partner for community outreach and social empowerment. In 2017, the Civic responsibility ministry was created to be an avenue for social and political engagement. Macedonia has been able to host candidate forums and voter registrations to increase understanding and voice. As a result, over 1,000 citizens have been registered, between 2017-2018, to vote. April 2018, Macedonia established Manna Thursdays which is inclusive of a one-hour worship experience and food pantry. Since its inception the pantry has attracted over a thousand families.
Pastor James has led Macedonia into several improvement projects:
- The remodeling of our foyer and hallways
- Upgrade of our Fellowship Hall and Kitchen
- Installation of Security Cameras
- Total upgrade of our electrical system
- Acquisition of over 7 acres of property
After 157 years of Kingdom ministry, Macedonia is breaking barriers and bridging gaps. The best is still to come…