Our Mission: To win souls to Christ.
Vision: To build strong families and relationships within our church and community
Second Baptist Church History
1888 – 2018
On March 31, 1888, Reverend Edward Lindsey, along with his wife and six (6) children arrived in Fresno, California from North Carolina where they found no Negro Baptist Church. With the aid of other families, a small group was organized and met in different homes for prayer meetings. In August of that same year, Reverend DeWitt of First Baptist Church assisted the group in organizing a Baptist Church. Reverend Lindsey was elected Pastor (1888-1898), with Mr. Daniel Lewis and Mr. Ben Doakes as Deacons. There were 8 Charter Members: Mrs. Bridget Lindsey, Eliza Lopast, Henrietta Bigsby, Mario Jones, Eliza Eilson, Lucy Watkins, Mario Farney, and D. Oakes. The Church was originally named Ebenezer Baptist Church In 1898 Reverend Timothy Smith was called to be pastor. Under his leadership plans were negotiated to erect a church on the corner of Stanislaus and E Street. The building was completed, but the church members were never given the deed to the property.
Later in 1898, Rev. S. A. Smith was called to be pastor. It was under his leadership that the church changed its name from Ebenezer to Second Baptist Church. Under his leadership and through the efforts of Mrs. Eliza Lopast, the church was able to purchase property at Merced and F Street for $600.00. The members worked very hard to raise the down payment of $30.00, and to keep up the payments on the note. The church continued to grow, and the mortgage was paid in full by 1903. Rev. S.A. Smith resigned due to health issues and moved to another state.
In 1903 Rev. John Collins was called to pastor the church. In 1905, the church was destroyed by fire. On May 6, 1906, still under the leadership of Pastor Collins, Second Baptist Church was incorporated. During this time the church began to rebuild under the leadership of Rev. John Morgan and Rev. John Sanders. This project was completed and dedicated in 1912, under the pastorate of Rev. John Sanders (1909-1912).
Pastors Arlin, Cohen, and T.M. Davis served between 1912 and 1922 when Rev. Henry H. Mitchell was called to serve as Pastor from 1922-24. Rev. D. J. Crawford served from 1924-1926. In 1926 Rev. J.D. Wilson (1926- 28) was called to pastor the church and under his leadership, the parsonage at 1720 F. Street was purchased.
Between 1928 and 1945 Pastors F.D. Haynes, A. W. Hubbard and Oscar Pedescleaux served as senior pastors. In 1945, the church called Rev. William C. Dixon of Chicago, to be pastor. Under his leadership a Building Fund Drive was launched in 1946 to purchase land for a new facility. The original site purchased was located at Tuolomne and “B” Streets. This land was purchased, however, it was realized it would be inadequate for the future needs of the church. This property was sold and the church purchased 5 acres of land bound by Bardell, Jensen, Fig (current day MLK) and Garret Avenue for $14,000. The present building was completed in July of 1953. The first service was held in the new building located at 1041 E Jensen on Sunday, July 26, 1953 and the Dedication Services was held in August of 1953.
Upon Rev. Dixon’s resignation in 1958, Rev. Henry H Mitchel, Jr., grandson of former pastor Rev. Henry H Mitchell was called to service and he served 1959-1966. Rev. Mitchell was instrumental in aiding the church in obtaining finances for the parsonage at 908 E. Garrett and the Education Building.
In 1967 Rev. Matthew L. Daw, Sr. was called as pastor. He would serve Second Baptist from 1967 until the Lord called him from labor to reward in1990. Pastor Daw, kept the church aware of the changing world outside of our fellowship. It was during his pastorate that Second Baptist had the joy of burning the mortgage in 1973, and Second Baptist was instrumental in founding the African American Historical & Cultural Museum.
Upon Pastor Daw’s departure to glory, Rev. Joseph Richard served as interim pastor from April 1990 until April 1992 when the church called Rev. Kenneth L Smiley to be pastor. Rev. Smiley pastored Second Baptist from 1992-2001. Rev. Smiley was committed to the word of God and his joy was preaching and teaching the word of God while preparing lay leaders to go forth and teach others. He had a compassion for the community and addressed several social issues. Under his leadership Second Baptist Church partnered with Fresno City College to bring education to the community by providing evening college courses here at the church in the educational building. Second Baptist Church also hosted several informative conferences, such as The African American Women’s Wellness Conference, Homeownership, and Self Esteem, to name a few.
From 2001 – 2003 the church was without a shepherd as they prayed for a leader, God provided guest speakers to come feed the flock. From 2003-2016 the following Pastors and Interim Pastors served Second Baptist: Rev. Maurice Harris, Rev. Alan Daw, Rev. Brian Brewer, Rev. C. C. Carter, Rev. Wilbert Carter, Rev. Melvin Whittle, Rev. Marvin Whittle and Rev. Brian Young, Sr.
Our current pastor, Rev. Lawrence E. Clinkscales, was elected in May of 2016. Since then he and the leadership team of Second Baptist Church have diligently been working for the advancement of the church. We have now hosted two Women’s Conferences, our first Men’s Conference, have held 2 successful Spring Revivals, reestablished our Children’s Church ministry and have had 3 successful Vacation Bible School sessions. We are currently in the process of establishing a tutoring and literacy program, a homework education lab-library and partnering with Black Men United to establish a mentoring program. We were part of Cal State Fresno’s Church Sunday in February 2018, and various other community-based organizations to strive for the advancement in the community we serve.
Truly the Vision and Legacy of Second Baptist continues to develop as we grow and follow God’s direction. Our faith is strong, and our future is bright for truly God has been good to us these 130 years.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37