Church reaches halfway point
A brick wall will serve as a memorial for the efforts of a congregation member.
By JULIE A. WAGNER
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- "So Build We the Wall" from Nehemiah 4:6 has become the theme of a building project at an East Side church.
When worshippers attend services in the sanctuary of the new Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, they will pass a panel of memorial bricks that celebrates the Bible passage about the walls of Jerusalem. The wall honors James Monk Tillman, a now-deceased member who helped raise money through the brick sale.
The congregation, under the leadership of longtime pastor the Rev. Henry Clinkscale Jr., has raised $300,000 toward the $750,000 project and will dedicate its new church next weekend.
The first of two construction phases, the new building includes a sanctuary that will seat 561, offices, two boardrooms and restrooms. The facility's entrance will be on ground level, providing easy access for the elderly and the handicapped.
The project's second phase will adjoin the building and house the EB Family Life Center, where the church hopes to expand its community services, said associate pastor the Rev. J. Dwayne Heard.
The second phase will have a youth center, gymnasium-multipurpose room and other facilities where the church can continue to expand its services to the community's young people, the Rev. Mr. Heard said.
The church already provides an HIV/AIDS prevention program to youths, day-care services and food distribution. Mr. Heard says those programs could be expanded in the new center. Church members also hope to renovate a nearby playground. Meanwhile, those programs will continue to be offered at the old church, which is nearby at 2 S. Garland Ave.
The church will have a dedication service at 4 p.m. July 18 in its new building at 1210 Himrod Ave. The Rev. Dr. Morris Lee, pastor of Third Baptist Church, will be the guest speaker.
The congregation of about 300 will welcome old friends during the morning service July 18, when members of the Bethel Baptist Church of St. Augustine, Fla., are guests at the 10:45 a.m. service. The Rev. Sidney Hardy Jr. is Bethel Baptist's pastor and will conduct the services. Several members of the Florida congregation are former Elizabeth Missionary members who will be returning for the services.
The next special event in the new building will be in August when the Rev. Mr. Clinkscale celebrates his 35th anniversary as pastor.
Elizabeth Missionary, one of the oldest black churches in the Mahoning Valley, was founded 82 years ago. It was organized April 22, 1922, on Cherry Street, by the Rev. C.W. Lee and had 25 members. In 1931, Caroline Hazeltine donated property at 1846 Lawrence St. to the church. In 1954, the church became divided, and about half of the membership left and organized what is known today as Phillip Memorial Baptist Church.
Under the leadership of the Rev. Lonnie A. Simon, who became pastor in November 1954, church membership increased, and the B.Y.P.U., Pastor's Aid, a youth choir and a deaconess board were established. The Rev. Mr. Simon later accepted a call to pastor New Bethel Baptist Church on the city's South Side.
Jan. 8, 1956, the church moved to 328 S. Forest St. with the congregation repaying its six-year mortgage in 21/2 years. In April 1969, the church moved to 1452 Wilson Ave.
Mr. Clinkscale, then pastor of Beulah Baptist Church, became Elizabeth Missionary's pastor in 1969. The church bought its current building, the former Emmanuel Baptist Church, paying off a 61/2-year mortgage in less than three years. It has since remodeled the building, which is about 80 years old.