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Week of november 6 - 13, 2002

Gethsemane MBC celebrates 51st church anniversary

Gethsemane MBC, 8775 Flagship Dr. in Houston, celebrated its 51st Church Anniversary on October 20. Special guest speaker at both morning worship services was Rev. A.W.A. Mays, pastor of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Austin, Texas and Janice Moore of Trinity Fellowship rendered solos. The welcome and occasion for the 7:00 a.m. worship service was given by Beverly Davis and the theme speaker was Chancellor Dickson. The welcome and occasion for the 10:30 a.m. worship service was given by Sandra Austin Long and the theme speaker was Jai Sims.

At the 4:00 p.m. service, the special guest speaker was Rev. Paul Landrew, pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church. The welcome and occasion was given by Anita Warren and the acknowledgement of membership tenure was by Margaret Howard and Shirley McPherson. Inspirational Singing was provided at all three services by the Voices of Victory.
Chairpersons for the anniversary committee were Bro. and Sis. Albert Fore and co-chairpersons were Bro. and Sis. Roscoe Stewart, co-chair. Committee members included; James Barksdale, Brenda Brewer, Joyce Carey, Debra Edwards, Gladys Giles, Margaret Howard, Kay Joshua, Jacqueline Malone, Kim McGruder, Shirley McPherson, Levert Mills, Ray Murray and Jean Shorter.
On October 13, Homecoming services were held for the church with guest speaker Rev. Harry Blake of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana at both morning worship services. After the 10:30a.m. service, a tree dedication was held in honor of Estalla Sagers, the last remaining founder member of Gethsemance MBC, which uses the theme “A Church with a Fellowship and a Pastor with a Message.”

Rev. Dennis C. Jones, pastor of Gethsemane stated, “Today we pause to celebrate the 51st Anniversary of the Gethsemane MBC. Words cannot adequately express all that God has done for us, however, we can look back and embrace our cherished memories and many blessings. Therefore, we thank God for His underserving favor shown toward us.”

On August 12, 1951, twelve people met in the beauty shop in the Pleasantville Shopping Center with Rev. S.J. Johnson, presiding. A prayer band was organized and ultimately the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church came into being. The charter members were Rev. and Sis. Shepherd J. Johnson, Bro. Grant White, Sis. Alma White, Bro. Reuben White, Sis. Bertha White, Bro. Daniel Franklin, Bro. Willie Randall, Bro. Bernie Robertson, Sis. Estella Sagers, Sis. Cora White and Sis. Mattie Davis.
On January 22,1952, this organized group purchased four lots at 1621 Pleasantville Drive, Houston, Texas for the sum of $3,500.00. The groundbreaking service was held on the fifth Sunday in March 1952, with Rev. A.A. Lucas, presiding. In August 1952, the first service was held at the new site.
Johnson’s tenure was from August 1951 to February 1953. Rev. J.C. Wilson succeeded him until June 1954. Rev. H. A. Ratcliff Jr., was elected the third pastor of Gethsemane on September 20, 1954. Under his leadership, the church continued to grow and prosper. On August 12, 1962, a new edifice for GMBC, located at 1621 Pleasantville Drive was dedicated. Ratcliffs pastorage ended in October 1963.
God joined together the Rev. Hayward Edward Joseph Wiggins and the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church family on April 13,1964. Under the inspired leadership of Pastor Wiggins, the membership grew tremendously. The church was blessed spiritually and financially, thus realizing unprecedented growth during the 33 years that Wiggins served with valor and uncommon distinction until his death on August 8, 1997 a little over a year after groundbreaking services were held for the new edifice on Flagship.        
The members mourned for a season and then resumed the work of making the “vision a reality.” They stood on God’s word and Wiggins’ memory and prepared to enter the next chapter in their church’s history. On October 19, 1997, they celebrated the dedication of their new edifice. This was also the 46th Church Anniversary. The vision was now a reality!

On April 11, 1998, Rev. Dennis Carl Jones of Shreveport, Louisiana was elected the 5th pastor. His first sermon at Gethsemane was May 2,1998, and his investiture service was on June l4, 1998. What a day of rejoicing in the Lord.

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