It is only by the grace of God through which all things are manifested and diligent prayer, that the membership down through the years have been able to accomplish the feats which go into the development and continuing history of the Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. We give all thanks and praises to God our Father for all that He has allowed to be accomplished by faithful members down through the years and up until this current day and time.
The Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1881 and in its 139-year history it has never split off to create another church. We have had pastors to come and go, but we have never had one that left under circumstances that would cause him to establish another Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
When the church was established, services were held in a small frame building on 26th and College Street. A man by the name of Mr. Wilburn donated the lot and the existing structure to the church. This building remained for a period and sometime later, Rev. C. C. Porter, who was serving as pastor, decided the time had come to build a new sanctuary. It was then that two trustees, Bro. Lee Brown and Bro. Moses Brown, found a buyer for the land at 26th and College, Mr. Scipio A. Jones, and the membership made plans to purchase a lot at 24th and Rock Street.
Due to segregation laws in Arkansas during that period, the membership was denied the right to build at the Rock Street location. As a result, they were forced to look for another site, finally locating a small frame house on East 24th Street and it was in this house that they held services. In 1932, under the leadership of Rev. Charlie Holmes, a frame building was built at 514 East 24th Street, which was next door to the house where services were being held.
As the church stood, several pastors were called to serve, among whom were Rev. Miller, Rev. Reynolds, Rev. Woody, Rev. Felix Evans, Rev. Will Gatlin and Rev. Rice.
After the resignation of Rev. Rice, Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church went in prayer for a new leader. In 1960 the Rev. Johnnie Anderson, an associate pastor of Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church at that time, was called to be its leader. Rev. Anderson brought with him a dream and vision of improving the church with respect to leadership and membership. The sanctuary, by the time Rev. Anderson took over the pastorate, had again become dilapidated and in need of much repair. In addition to saving souls, Rev. Anderson brought with him a vision of improving the cosmetic appearance of the church.
In 1962 renovations began to turn the framed building into a brick building designed to hold approximately 100 people. Because the church had very little money at that time, Pastor Anderson arranged to purchase some bricks at a fraction of the cost it would have been had they been bought new. The bricks were purchased from a building that had recently been torn down. He then enlisted the membership’s help and together they worked diligently in the cleaning of the bricks. The pastor then contacted the bricklaying teacher at Horace Mann Senior High School who agreed to help out with the project by allowing his students to do the bricklaying work. The pastor, who was a carpenter by trade, and other members of the congregation made all the necessary repairs to the inside of the sanctuary. God had richly blessed them by allowing them to eventually reach their goal of a complete renovation.
For needed parking, the church purchased the lot next door to the sanctuary and made it into a parking lot. Besides turning the frame building into a brick building, additional work included the annexation of a fellowship hall, and new pews were acquired. The membership continued in growth, and God blessed the church to become debt free after a relatively short period of time.
Under Rev. Anderson's leadership of 25 years, seven members were ordained as deacons. They were: Bro. Johnnie Turner (deceased), Bro. Winston Donahue, Sr. (deceased 06/2014), Bro. Porter Woodbury (deceased 1/1998), Bro. Lawrence Hale (deceased 2/2011), Bro. Elton Smith, Bro. James C. Donahue and Winston Donahue, Jr. Four members were called into the ministry: Rev. Willie Dale (deceased 4/1993), Rev. Johnnie Turner (deceased 8/2000), Rev. Lee Bland, and Rev. O. D. Phillips, Jr. The following ministries are now shepherds over their own flock: Rev. Bland and Rev. Phillips.
After the retirement of Rev. Anderson in 1985 due to ill health, the membership petitioned God to send a new leader. In January of 1986, Rev. Cleo R. Nellum, Sr. was called as pastor. During the first year of his tenure, the membership voiced a desire to build a new edifice because of the slow deteriorating condition of the sanctuary that would have been too costly to repair. The membership went in prayer and voted to tear down the old church completely and build a new one. Another factor that precipitated the desire for a new sanctuary was the fact that the membership was steadily growing and as a consequence more seating space was needed.
Because of the tremendous growth in membership, Rev. Nellum and the membership (by majority vote) accepted the task of starting a building fund drive to raise the necessary monies needed to build a new sanctuary. After much prayer and supplication, an additional lot was purchased during that time and by December of 1988, through the blessings of God and through diligent prayer, $55,000 had been raised. An additional $75,000 was secured through a bank loan and the ground-breaking ceremony for the new sanctuary was held in early 1989. On the first Sunday in September 1989, God blessed us to march into the newly constructed Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, constructed to hold approximately 275 people.
Many other strides toward improvement were made under Rev. Nellum's leadership. The membership roster more than doubled. The mortgage on the church, after only nine years, by 1998, was paid in full. Also, during 1998 a rental property and the one remaining van on which a balance was still due was paid off. All outstanding debts, with the exception of an additional house that was purchased and a piano and an organ, were paid off. Two of the four houses owned were being used as rental property.
During Rev. Nellum's tenure as pastor, Deacon Lawrence Hale, Sr. was called into the ministry in 1989 (deceased 2011), and he was ordained in 1990, along with the late Rev. James Johnson. In the year of 2001, Bro. Garfield Bridges and Deacon David Donahue answered a call into the ministry. Previous ordinations of Deacons were held for the following: Bro. Morris Donahue, Bro. Jimmy Dyer, Bro. L.V. McCoy (deceased 11/2013) and Bro. John Pickens.
Currently there are a total of (18) active ordained deacons working in the church. They are: Deacon John Brimley (Asst.-Chairman), Deacon Roy Browning, Deacon Johnny Bunch, Deacon Raymond Coleman, Deacon Jerry Donahue, Deacon Winston Donahue, Jr., Deacon Terrence Francis, Deacon Dennis Hansberry, Deacon Alonza Irvin, Deacon Cornelius Jones (Chairman), Deacon Edward Manley, Deacon Chris Montgomery, Deacon Charles Nelson, Deacon Allen Scruggs, Deacon Lloyd Shephard, Deacon Elton Smith, Deacon William (Ray) Webster, Deacon Harold Woodbury.
There are currently (8) ministers in service at the church:
Rev. Ted Allen, Rev. Erick Brooks, Rev. George Coleman, Rev. David Donahue, Rev. Morris Donahue, Rev. Jeff Hampton, Rev. Mark Heard and Rev. Robby Hillman.
In April of 1999, after serving 13 years as pastor, God blessed the congregation to offer Rev. Nellum, and which he accepted, a full-time position as pastor. Until 1999, along with his regular duties as pastor, Rev. Nellum was employed with an outside company.
In the year 2000, after eleven years in the sanctuary built in 1989, it became evident that we had vastly outgrown those facilities and were in the need of a larger sanctuary. The body began actively raising money toward that end to add to what had already been raised through our regular building fund. Property in and around the present location continued to be purchased in anticipation of a new building and future growth. We have purchased the lot directly across from the sanctuary (2420 Bragg) which we presently use as additional parking. At this time the church owns a total of 17 lots that include three rental properties.
By 2002 plans for the new church had been drawn, financing secured, and the final steps taken to began building. Groundbreaking services were held on April 13, 2002. On July 6, 2003, the Lord blessed the congregation to march into the newly constructed sanctuary. Located at 600 East 24th Street, the building is one block east of the former location, has a seating capacity of approximately 950 people, houses six classrooms, an ushers’ room, three administrative offices, and a conference room. The sanctuary is the first phase in a series of developing long-range plans. The renovation of the old sanctuary at 514 East 24th Street was recently remodeled into a fellowship hall and was named Memorial Hall in honor of those members who helped paved the wave through Spiritual prayer and faithfulness.
Because of the faithfulness of the members in supporting this effort, we praise God because He blessed us to go into the new sanctuary with owing just the note on the building. All furniture and equipment that was purchased was paid for in full.
As the membership continues its growth, all praises are given to God Almighty and we glorify His name for all His blessings. We thank Him for sending us a leader such as Rev. Cleo Nellum Sr., who for the past 34 years has kept us on the move for Christ. Rev. Nellum continues to lead and teach this congregation on Bible-based principles and he is regularly and consistently improving the programs being offered to the congregation through his study of God’s Word.
Due to the tremendous growth of the membership, Rev. Nellum through prayer formed some of the following ministries: Armor-Bearer, Finance Committee, Greeter’s Ministry, Men of Unity, New Journey Class, Parking/Transportation, Security and Children’s Church. Also under Rev. Nellum’s tenure, the church recently purchase property adjacent to the church that houses a building facility, sits on over one acre and serves for multipurpose use such as parking and church outdoor activities. The purchase of a 40 passenger Coach Bus and new vans have been added to the church.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep His flock at the Greater Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. To God be the glory!