Celebrating nearly 200 years of legacy, Second Baptist Church (SBC) is the oldest Black Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio. In 1834 a group of sixteen African American believers formed a “colored mission church” out of First Baptist Church and formally incorporated with the State of Ohio in 1844. This vibrant congregation has stood the test of time, standing against slavery, making strides toward integration and city-reaching endeavors especially in education, civil rights and serving the community. In addition, a rich part of SBC is their role as Mother Church to ten Baptist churches in the central Ohio area that are still serving the Lord to this day.
In 1847, as the United States suffered under the burning issue of slavery, Second Baptist’s Pastor, James P. Poindexter became an articulate and enthusiastic voice against slavery within Columbus. During this time, many members of SBC were active as conductors in the underground railroad and the Anti-Slavery Baptist Church emerged from SBC to spearhead even more militant activism against slavery.
With a Native American, African American as well as Caucasian heritage, Rev. Poindexter had a deep heart and appreciation for diversity and outreach to all ethnicities. In “Men of Mark,” by William Simmons, Poindexter is described as
“a man whose soul has been on fire on account of the outrages perpetrated against colored people, and who never lost an opportunity to speak and write with vigor against all species of outrages and to ally himself persistently with those elements that look toward the bettering of the condition for those for whom he advocated. His philanthropy has not, however, confined itself to his own race; but those who know him have always done him the justice to say that his interest extended to all classes who are oppressed and downtrodden.”
This fire in his soul led to his desegregation suit against Columbus Public Schools in partnership with Rev. Washington Gladdon of the First Congregational Church in 1881. Only one year later, Rev. Poindexter was elected to the school board where he had significant influence in the education of community youth. Rev. Poindexter’s legacy continues today where his life’s work is memorialized in the naming of one of the first affordable public housing complexes in Columbus.
In 1907, Second Baptist celebrated the groundbreaking for a new church building located where the present day church sits today at 186 North 17th Street. Later in the 1930s the Rev. Charles Frank Jenkins began his 35 year ministry where the church membership tripled under his leadership. Rev. Jenkins’ legacy was also memorialized through a special Senior Citizen housing complex at 1100 E. Broad St. in the 1960’s.
Rev. Leon L. Troy began his twenty year ministry at Second Baptist in 1976 where the membership grew from 250 to over 1,200 members. New ministries such as the Deaconess Board, Operation; Potato, Operation: Shoe Leather, Summer Camp, and Student Ministry (college students) were established. In 1984 the Second Baptist Church Housing Association, Inc. was authorized by the Church membership to provide housing for the handicapped and elderly.
Along with his wife, Minister Floria, Dr. Howard Washington is Second Baptist’s current Pastor. Among many roles, he currently serves as President of the Baptist Pastor’s Conference of Columbus & Vicinity and also serves as Dean of Congress on Christian Education of the Ohio Baptist General Convention.
Under Dr. Washington’s leadership, Second Baptist has expanded its service to the community with food and clothing drives, outreach to OSU students, and just recently, leading a Learning Extension Center for Columbus City School students during the pandemic.
In a recent interview, when asked about stepping into the role of leading a church with so much history, Pastor Washington’s face lit up as he expressed the honor of serving and the rich legacy of service to the community that preceded him. “It may seem cliche, but it really is true that we stand on the shoulders of giants.” He went on to express his deep desire to remain faithful and pass on that legacy to the next generation of believers. Second Baptist’s mission statement is to: "worship Christ, love one another and do God’s will." This commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is truly evident in the nearly two centuries this resilient church has existed.
Let’s partner with how God is moving through Second Baptist by praying for this congregation in the following ways:
Please pray for those who are unable to attend Second Baptist in person, but who are still connected online. Ask God to minister to those who are home-bound and help them maintain their fellowship with the body of Christ.
A number of church members are battling health issues and are in need of physical healing. Please pray for their healing and encouragement during this time.
Pray especially for Second Baptist to reach the next generation of believers and pass on the legacy of the ministry of the gospel to our city’s youth.
Pray also for the congregation’s members to model Christ’s forgiveness and faithfulness