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Friendship Baptist Church
“And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and olive yards which ye planted not do ye eat.” Joshua 24:13 (KJV)
Friendship Baptist Church was organized in 1925, under the leadership of Rev. Clark in a small-framed house in Austin Quarters with a membership of twenty-five women. There were six pastors preceding Rev. Clark and Rev. Brown in 1932. The church was known as the “friendly church on the corner.” Following Rev. Clark, the church pastors were Rev. Johnson Brown, and Rev. H.A. Hamner. After many years the membership grew, and in 1944 Friendship Missionary Baptist Church moved from Austin Quarters to 2001 22nd Street.
A building committee was formed and Rev. Austin Byrd, Associate Minister, was appointed secretary. With no deacons, a few, faithful-working women borrowed money from Rev. F.M. Williams to construct a 30 x 40 feet framed building. Those women were: Sisters Bessie Sleigh, Viola Jones, Ester Williams, Sarah Griffin, Anna Moore, Beatrice Shelton (still actively serving), C. Williams, and Lisa Grant. Rev. H.A. Hamner left in 1946 and the pulpit was vacant. Rev. George Roberts served as acting pastor. In 1947, Rev. J.C. Carter, Sr. became pastor. Under his leadership, a block building was constructed and the membership grew rapidly. On September 5, 1957, Dr. O.S. Harvey preached the Dedication and Cornerstone Laying Service.
Rev. William King became pastor in 1962. During his administration, the church on 22nd Street and 29th Avenue was remodeled. In 1980, Rev. William King stepped down as pastor and for two years Friendship Baptist was without a pastor.
On December 5, 1982, Rev. Myron Hamner, Sr. became the seventh pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. Under his guidance, membership more than doubled and church improvements were made. On February 14, 1988, an early Sunday morning fire heavily damaged the church on 22nd Street and 29th Avenue; which had been the Church’s cherished worshipping place for 44 years. Friendship Baptist Church Members kept the faith and praised God in the midst of their troubles. A facility known as West End Christian School was secured as Friendship Baptist Church’s present location.
A new chapter began as the members gathered in front of the past place of worship to parade by motorcade to the present place of worship. Unity abound as the members arrived and Pastor Hamner cut the ribbon. GOD had once again given us a land by which we did not labor. In January of 1996, Friendship held a Mortgage Burning Celebration during the mid-Sunday morning services after seven years. The old Indian Rivers facility was purchased and is used for various youth programs and ministries. Pastor Hamner celebrated his 20th year as Pastor on the first Sunday in December 2002. In February 2003, Pastor Hamner celebrated 50 years of preaching the Gospel and 21 years as Pastor. On November 9, 2009, the Lord called Rev. Myron Hamner, Sr. to eternal rest. He served as Pastor for 27 years and his legacy will live on at Friendship Baptist Church because of the many accomplishments shown under his leadership. Rev. Myron Hamner, Sr. was instrumental in preaching the Word and bringing many unsaved souls to Christ.
On Sunday May 16, 2010, the Friendship Family elected Rev. Wade A. Lewis, Sr. as Pastor. Installation Service for the 8th pastor was held on Sunday, August 22, 2010. On July 21, 2014, the pastorate of Rev. Wade Lewis ended and the pulpit was declared vacant. Rev. Claborn May became Interim Pastor and served until he stepped down to become an applicant for the pulpit vacancy.
On September 20, 2015, the Lord answered the Church’s prayers and sent our current Pastor, Rev. Bruce W. Henderson, Sr. Rev. Henderson preached his first sermon as pastor on October 11, 2015. Installation service for Pastor Henderson was held on November 22, 2015. The journey continues as the membership grows and souls are being saved.