Our Church History
This church was organized in the home of Brother and Sister J.B. Foreman, 615 Jensen Drive, on the night of December 27, 1944, with the following persons present: Rev. Roosevelt Gaines, Rev. W. A. Thrower, Bro. Eddie Marshall, Bro. Eugene Fisher, Bro. Melvin McFarland, Bro. Charlie Jones, Rev. D.C. Mitchell, Sis. Lionel Jackson, Sis. Mable Minor, Sis. Lillie Jones, Sis. Bertha Wilks, Sis. Eurlee Wartell Green, Sis. Eula Mitchell, Sis. Frances Fisher, Sis. Mattie Marshall and Sis. Jean Mitchell. At this first organizational meeting Rev. Roosevelt Gaines presided and Sis. Eurlee Wartell Green acted as secretary. Rev. D.C. Mitchell was chosen as Pastor and remained until his death, June 16, 1962. Sis. Mattie Marshall was appointed secretary by Pastor Mitchell and remained until December 31, 1962 when she resigned. The church was first known as Second Corinth Baptist Church.
The church held her first service Sunday, December 31, 1944 at 2:30 PM at Mt. Corinth Baptist Church With Seventy members present. The names of these seventy members were not recorded and today we have no accurate listing, but these members are worthy of recognition.
At that first service, the choir, nurse’s aid and ushers were on duty. It was at this service that the organizational name of Second Corinth was changed to Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church. The church continued to hold services at the Mt. Corinth facility through February 11, 1945. On February 18, 1945, the church held her first service at the I.L.A. Hall, 1306 Schwartz Street. The church grew from every angle. Within three months the church purchased four lots on Gregg Street @ Oats to build a church, but Houston Independent School District wanted the property for a child center and purchased it from the church. The church then purchased property at 1713 Bringhurst, where a beautiful edifice was erected.
In 1962, the church was without a leader from June 16 until October 8, when Rev. F.W. McIlveen was called as pastor. Under his dynamic, courageous and inspiring leadership, the church grew from 589 members to 1,141 members. Several improvements were made and a fund was established in December, 1965, for the purpose of expanding the church facilities. On the 20th Anniversary, the church debt was retired. HISD then had need for the Bringhurst property, so the church building was sold. The church then purchased property at 4300 Noble Street construction of our new edifice was started. On May 26, 1968, the church held her first service at the sanctuary on Noble Street. Approximately 11 years later this debt was retired and under Pastor McIlveen’s leadership, the church continued to grow. On March 20, 1989 Pastor McIlveen resigned.
On September 3, 1989, Rev. Delbert Allen Mack accepted the church’s call to become her new pastor. Under Pastor Mack’s leadership, the church continued to grow in spirit and number. Pastor Mack instituted ministries and programs designed to make this church all that God wants her to be. Pastor Mack immediately embarked upon programs involving the community, making Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church available during the week to Senior Citizens and the young people of the church became involved with the total church program. Rev. Mack subsequently accepted the call to become the pastor of the Cathedral of FaithBaptist Church,Beaumont, Texas and on January 4, 1994, Rev. Mack preached his last sermon as pastor of the Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Mack will be remembered for his dynamic teaching of the Bible.
On January 11, 1994, Rev. Leonard N. Barksdale III became interim pastor of the church. He was ordained and chosen to lead the teaching and preaching ministry while the church was without a pastor. On May 16, 1994, Rev. Barksdale accepted the church’s call and became pastor of the Fifth Ward MBC.
Under Pastor Barksdale’s leadership, the church continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not only were we growing in grace, but we were growing in spirit, love and numbers; with this growth in numbers, the need to expand the church facilities became apparent.
In 1997, two new classrooms and a women’s lounge and restroom were added to the church building. To Ensure That We continued to grow, the church purchased the properties extending the church grounds to the southwest corner of Noble @ Waco, where a sign bearing the church’s name has been erected. In a continuing effort to “Seek the Peace of the City”, Faith Revitalization Center has been incorporated by the church to better serve the community. In Addition the church acquired property on Jensen Drive to be developed for Community Revitalization. On September 12, 2000 in a special meeting, the church united to vote yes to make Pastor Barksdale’s Vision Multi-Purpose Center a reality.
On January 22, 2003, a certificate of occupancy was issued to Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church For the now Completed Multi-Purpose Center. The center sponsors positive cultural, recreational, social and academic programs that benefit all residents of Fifth Ward, especially seniors and youth. On June 23, 2003, the Multi-Purpose Center was dedicated and officially named the Carl Walker, Jr. Multi-Purpose Center; the fellowship hall was named the Gideon L. Sanders Banquet Hall; and the church library was renovated and named the Mattie M. F. Marshall Library.
In 2009, 2 more lots were purchased on Sumpter Street for future expansion and in July of 2009 a media display system was installed in the Carl Walker, Jr. MPC to recognize those members who pledged and contributed to the building fund for the Multi-Purpose Center. Also in 2010, the old building that housed the barbecue pit and other outdoor cooking appliances where meats were prepared for major events was torn down and a new building was erected.
Pastor Barksdale’s love for his church family; the love he wanted the church family to have one for another; and his goal to “Seek the Peace of the City” by taking the work of the church outside the four walls of the church; and hi overall vision for the church can be best seen in the FWMBC Mission Statement, “FWMBC members will endeavor to provide a strong foundation of LOVE, we will stand on BIBLICAL TRUTHS; and we will equip another to spread the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST in our community and in our world.” Pastor Barksdale resigned as Pastor and accepted the role as Pastor Emeritus until he was called home to be with the Lord on May 14, 2018.
On December 6, 2015, the Church elected, Rev. Timothy Wayne Criswell as her new Pastor and on February 21, 2016 Rev. Criswell was installed as the next Pastor of the Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Criswell expressed a desire to be a Servant to both God and the congregation. Our Servant Criswell is encouraging the members to love and serve one another as we engage in team building as the church moves forward recognizing that “We’ve Come This Far By Faith”.
Under Pastor Criswell, there have been some important projects taken on and important goals accomplished. In January of 2016 the note for the Carl Walker, Jr. Multi-Purpose Center was retired, a major milestone that was the vision of Pastor Emeritus Leonard Barksdale.
Also in 2016 under Pastor Criswell the Air Conditioning/ Heating system for the church had to be entirely replaced. The sound and video system had to be relocated because of the AC work and a new AV booth was built. That debt was retired as of December 4, 2018.
In February of 2017 a Dedication ceremony was held and a cornerstone plaque was presented to Pastor Emeritus Barksdale in memory of his vision to build and retire the debt of the Multipurpose Center. The plaque was placed on the entrance wall to the building. Pastor Emeritus Barksdale went home to be with the Lord in May of 2018.
In June of 2019, the church started another major project under Pastor Criswell’s leadership. Work began on a total remodel of the church sanctuary which included new pews, lighting and windows. The project was scheduled to be completed by the church anniversary but because of delays, it was postponed for 2 weeks and on December 29, 2019 FWMBC celebrated their 75th Anniversary in a new sanctuary.
Under the leadership of Pastor Criswell, the church has continued to grow. Pastor Criswell has encouraged the church members to take on the role of servitude and his vision of a church that embraces “Love, Hope & Healing”.