Macedonia Past and Present (1908-2008)
In the year of 1908 in Newtown, the Methodist church was the worshiping place of both the Methodist and the Baptist faiths. Following a great deal of thought and prayer by a few people, it was decided that a meeting should be convened to discuss the building of a Baptist church. This meeting was held at a historic colonial inn called the Bird-In-Hand in Newtown. Mr. Robert Johnson acted as moderator at this meeting and was joined by Mr. Charles Elam, Mrs. Lillian Johnson, along with Mrs. Martha Primrose. Out of this meeting it was proposed that a new church be organized; thus becoming the first members of Macedonia Baptist Church.
Plans for the new church were presented to the members of the Baptist Board in Doylestown and were approved. Then the search for a place of worship began. Mr. Farmer and Mr. Williams, who were advisors from the Baptist Board, assisted us in the search. The small group was able to rent a church on Congress Street, formerly owned by the Methodist congregation. With the approval of the congregation, Macedonia’s first pastor was Reverend Liggins, who was a graduate of James Gardner Seminary School. He had a strong desire to aid this small, but faithful congregation. Reverend Liggins remained for approximately four years before beginning a new ministry in Lambertville, New Jersey.
Reverend R.L. Lewis, another student at James Gardner Seminary, became the next pastor of Macedonia. Under his pastorate, the movement to begin building a new church began. Through faith and determination, the small membership began carrying lumber and other building materials from the local lumber mill to the proposed site on the west side of State Street. Every member served in some capacity in the construction of the church around 1914. On April 8, 1925, the Board of Directors of the U. S. Bobbins and Shuttle Company, the corporation that owned the land the church was built upon agreed to sell the property to Macedonia for $1.00. The deed was signed on September 14, 1925 by Mr. William Nicholson, Mr. Noah Gordon, Reverend George Primrose, and the Trustee Board of Macedonia. Reverend R.L. Lewis faithfully served the congregation for 16 years. Several ministers succeeded him such as Reverend Primrose, Reverend McGlenn and Reverend Ford. As the membership continued to increase, it became necessary to renovate the basement, and build an addition to the church. However, there was still a need for a newer building.
In the early 1940’s, Reverend James B. Murray came to Macedonia. Reverend Murray’s first proposal was that a new church be constructed. On December 6, 1943, during a business meeting the membership and Reverend Murray proposed that a new building fund be started. The objective was to raise $3,000.00 and it was then decided that each member would initially raise $50.00 to reach the goal. In 1944, a planning committee for the new church was formed, with its goal to begin construction of a new building within two years. Members of the original planning committee were: Mr. Clarence Gordon, Mr. Thomas Jones, Mr. James Bass, Mr. Lewis Baylor, Mr. Fred Ellis, Mr. John Taylor, Mrs. Agnes Bryant, Mrs. Dorothy Mozee, Mrs. Ellen Primrose, Mrs. Mary Holden and Miss May Hopkins. These people, as well as others were the cornerstone of faith and determination in the building of Macedonia, as we know it today. In the summer of 1944, a search committee was formed to secure land on which to build the church. They eventually acquired property on the land next to the church, formerly owned by the Hopkins’ family.
On December 12, 1945, the membership met to discuss the actual cost of the new church. It was voted that the structure would cost $7,000.00 and blueprints should be drafted for the building. In May 1946, the building fund had reached $5,000.00. A goal reached through much prayer, faith and perseverance.
On September 6, 1946, Reverend Murray resigned as pastor, and the Reverend M.L. Gouffney came to Macedonia. Reverend Gouffney made major contributions to Macedonia, such as: the increase of the building fund; the institution of a civic committee for better housing for the poor of Newtown; the organization of a Senior Choir and Adult Bible Class; creation of the positions of Financial Secretary and Assistant Financial Secretary.
Reverend Gouffney resigned on June 6, 1947 and was succeeded by Reverend R.P. DeBerry; Reverend DeBerry’s successor was Reverend Earl Johnson.
In 1952, Reverend James Reid came to Macedonia. He was instrumental in the building of our present church, and made the construction of this building his first priority. Reverend Reid enlisted the aid and support of many members of the business community. There were others that were instrumental in providing financial support for the new building: the Lavelle Aircraft Corporation, The Pickering Estate, the Savidge Brothers Department Store, and the Temperance House Restaurant.
In the beginning of 1953, a groundbreaking ceremony was held. On December 6, 1953, the church was dedicated. Newtown commemorated this occasion with a parade and ribbon cutting ceremony.
In 1959, a mortgage burning ceremony was held. We received a monetary gift from Miss Elizabeth Chambers, who was the employer of one of our most faithful members, Mrs. Evelyn Jenkins.
Reverend Reid left Macedonia in 1961 and went on to play an important role in the creation of Community Baptist Church in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Reverend Franklin T. Barrett was installed as pastor of Macedonia on April 8, 1962. Under the leadership of Reverend Barrett, Macedonia saw many positive changes. Among these were: the building of closer relationships among the area churches, and an increase of family memberships to Macedonia. His spiritual guidance, as well as his deep and abiding faith in God, enabled Macedonia to triumph in the midst of a stormy sea.
On November 6, 1983, Reverend James L. Ferguson became the Assistant Pastor of Macedonia. Reverend Ferguson served faithfully in this position until October of 1997, when Our Heavenly Father summoned our beloved Reverend Ferguson to his eternal rest. Following the passing of Reverend Ferguson, Reverend Michael I. Talley, Sr., along with his family, joined the membership of Macedonia on January 4, 1998 and became our Associate Pastor. While at Macedonia Reverend Talley was ordained. In commemoration of our 90th anniversary, we hosted a variety of events including a concert performed by the internationally acclaimed African Children’s Choir, as well as hosting Krystal Gale Pressley, a 12 year-old Evangelist who rendered us a spiritual feast. While our friends from Orange Grove Baptist Church, in Virginia continued to exchange visits with us.
In keeping with God’s will on October 31, 1999, Phyllis M. Teat was ordained as our first female deacon. Deacon Teat became chairperson of the Deacon’s Ministry after Deacon Joseph Brown, Chairman of the Deacon Ministry, retired. Reverend Franklin T. Barrett was pastor of Macedonia for 38 years and retired. He is presently serving as our Pastor Emeritus. After Reverend Barrett retired, a pulpit search committee was formed. During this time Reverend Michael I. Talley and Reverend David Gipson served as interim pastors.
Reverend Michael B. Gerald was elected as pastor in June of 2004 and was installed on September 25, 2005. Under his leadership the plumbing was improved at the church. The Sunday School was re-instituted and he changed all organizations to ministries and new ministries were added, including the inception of G.A.N.G. (God’s Anointed Next Generation). The youth program grew and the Harmony Anointed Praise Dancers were started. A new audio system purchased, computers obtained and other technological equipment was installed. Drums were purchased also and the By-laws started to be updated. Reverend Gerald initiated the beginning of Macedonia being Incorporated and he initiated our radio ministry on WIMG 1300 AM. The broadcast is still ongoing. Under Reverend Gerald’s pastorate he brought in Reverend Lillian Gail Moore as assistant pastor in October 2005 to oversee the Women’s Ministry and Christian Education. Reverend Gerald received a new pastorate in 2007.
After Reverend Gerald’s reassignment, Reverend Lillian Gail Moore took over as pastor-in-charge. During that time the church had the wonderful opportunity to be named one of the “Historic Places” in Newtown. A standing placard was placed in front of the church to designate Macedonia as one of the historic structures in Newtown and a place of interest for tour groups. In October of 2007, the church unanimously elected Reverend Lillian Gail Moore the first female pastor of Macedonia. Under Reverend Moore’s pastorate a new stove was purchased, a Trustee/multipurpose room was built, a piano was obtained and a 21-passenger bus was purchased. She also established a deaconess ministry, and the by-laws were completed. Under her leadership the church did achieve it’s incorporation as hoped. As we enter into our centennial celebration, may we always remember our past struggles, our past pastors, our members who have gone on to be with the Lord, our friends and our neighbors who tarried with us for 100 years. In fact, many descendants of those who were instrumental in the building our present building are still worshiping with us today. We know that the spirit of the living God will continue to give us the hope and grace we need to keep us going. The Lord has met us in this celebration and will carry Macedonia into a new generation. Keep us in your prayers.
Pastors of Macedonia Baptist Church (in chronological order)
Reverend Liggins - First Pastor of Macedonia
Reverend R.L. Lewis
Reverend Smith - Interim Pastor
Reverend J.P. Ford
Reverend Gideon Davis – Assistant Pastor
Reverend J.B. Murray
Reverend Earl Johnson
Reverend James Reid
Reverend Franklin T. Barrett - Pastor Emeritus (Pastor for 38 years)
Reverend James L. Ferguson, Assistant Pastor
Reverend Michael Talley, Sr. - Interim Pastor
Reverend David L. Gipson - Interim Pastor
Reverend Michael B. Gerald
Reverend Lillian Gail Moore
Reverend Carla Royster, Assistant Pastor
Reverend Wakaki R. Thompson - Current Pastor