By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY—The main meeting area at the headquarters of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is being used this summer as a Sunday morning worship center for a historically African-American Baptist church.
Starting on July 4 and running every Sunday at least through Aug. 15, the Gold Room in the Baptist Building is being set aside at 10:45 a.m. for Second Baptist Church, Jefferson City. Sunday School is being held in various parts of the building in the 9 o’clock hour.
Second’s sanctuary is undergoing a renovation for its 150th anniversary celebration Sept. 19. That has created a need for some temporary meeting space.
When MBC Executive Director David Tolliver was called with a request for “suggestions,” he had one right away—come worship at our place. For free.
Second, a Missionary Baptist church which had been preparing to rent space at a hotel, promptly sent two representatives to examine the Gold Room before accepting Tolliver’s offer.
“It’s a great thing,” said Tolliver, who participated in the service July 11. “It gives us an opportunity to serve that congregation.”
The Gold Room is large enough to accommodate the downtown Jefferson City congregation, which runs around 150 on a typical Sunday.
“They put the choir over in one corner,” Tolliver said. “They’ve got the platform out there for (Pastor Cornell Sudduth, Sr. or Assistant Pastor Lard Andrews) to preach.”
The MBC is providing one or more employees for set up and tear down duties along with sound and clean up. A “minimal” fee goes to the employees, not the MBC, Tolliver said. The MBC itself does not charge Second anything.
Second Baptist, Jefferson City, has grown closer to the MBC this year. The church purchased bags of Gospel literature for the God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) outreach around Easter. Joe Simmons, Second’s chairman of the deacons, described the relationship between the church and the MBC as “very, very, very accommodating, exceptionally friendly.” It was so inviting on July 4, Simmons noted, that a person felt led to join the church.
Tolliver said he is pleased with how the bond between the MBC and the downtown church, which is very close geographically, is developing.
“I want to do everything that we can to enhance the relationship between us and the traditional African-American churches,” he said. “Where appropriate, I would certainly like to see us partner with them in every way possible, including them affiliating with the Missouri Baptist Convention.”