The History of the St. Stephen Baptist Church (SSBC) from 1903-Present:
First Permanent Edifice 604 Charlotte 1903-1921
Second Edifice 910 Harrison 1921-1938
Third Edifice 1414 Truman Road 1938 - Present
The birthplace of St. Stephen Baptist Church began with a courageous young preacher, Reverend James Wesley Hurst, along with a few dedicated followers. They worked, prayed, and sacrificed on a street corner in "Bellevidere Hollow." As a prominent leader, he became the second President of the National Baptist Convention of America.
Reverend Raymond James Jordan, the second pastor, boldly instituted changes which placed St. Stephen at the vanguard of the community of churches. Not only did the church survive a devastating fire and a world war, it achieved a firm financial footing, a large increase in membership, and several enhancements were made through the building improvement program.
Under the capable leadership of the third pastor, Reverend John Wesley Williams, the remodeling was accomplished, and the mortgage burned. Other achievements of this period were, auxiliaries reorganized, church staff expanded, the newsletter began, scholarships initiated, radio broadcast began, retreat facility and buses purchased, national and international conventions hosted and the participation of members in many civic, social and human rights were on the move.
The fourth pastor, Reverend Mac Charles Jones led to the multiple staffing throughout the church. Expanded ministries in Evangelism, Discipleship Training, Christian Education, CITI and Extended Care (weekly food-service program), Social Services, Second Start (Drug Program), Economic Development-including an Entrepreneurship Corporation, Visitation, Bus and TV Ministry which helped the church express the tenets of its logo, FAITH, LOVE, and PURPOSE.
On March 5, 1995, Reverend Eric Duane Belt joined the Saint Baptist Church family. The next Sunday, Reverend Belt preached his first sermon, “Truly, He Is the Son of God” Matthew 14:23-33. Reverend Belt served as the Assistant to the Pastor of Dr. Mac Charles Jones for one year and nine months. Upon the resignation of Pastor Jones, the church body voted unanimously for Reverend Belt to serve as Interim Pastor on the first Sunday, January 5, 1997.
Through the prayers of the saints and by the power of God, on August 27 1997, Reverend Eric Duane Belt was elected as the fifth pastor of the Saint Stephen Baptist Church. Under his leadership and professional tutelage, the membership and active participation of the membership has grown in their faith and commitment to service. Through his preaching of Jesus, many lives have been changed, hearts transformed, and minds renewed.
The church building is mortgage free, and several renovations have provided specific services to meet the needs of our Seniors and have expanded the children and youth ministries. St. Stephen boldly advocates equality, economic opportunity, respect, and love for one another. From “Bellevidere Hollow" to 6th and Charlotte, to 9th and Harrison to 15th and Paseo, we have persevered. “To God Be The Glory.”