In 1883, the love of God inspired a faithful few worshippers to establish a place of worship and a church family. For approximately twenty-five years they struggled without much visible progress. The Bay City Times in 1884 listed the Second Baptist Church home at 244 North Monroe Street. Rev. John Collins was the church’s first pastor from 1884-1888, followed by Rev. Thomas C. Johnson from 1889 until 1895, Rev. E. F. Banks in 1896, Rev. George Martin and Rev. Isaac Smith, respectively, in 1896, and Rev. Henry S. Brown from 1906 until 1908.
In 1907, under the pastorate of Rev. Henry S. Brown, a major building project was completed when the church building was raised and a basement was added to the structure. During those years, the congregation was made up of the total “colored” population of Bay City. From 1909 to 1923, there is no record of the church having a pastor. There was another congregation occupying the Second Baptist church building at that time. Rev. Richard Mitchem was the pastor from 1924 until 1926.
In 1934, Rev. William McCottry became pastor and the church began to experience a period of growth and progress. A junior and senior choir was organized at that time with Sister Ella Nora Burney as the organist.
Rev. Obie Matthews succeeded Rev. McCottry as Pastor in 1953. During his tenure significant gains were made. A parsonage was purchased at 1109 N. Monroe as well as a lot adjacent to the church. The church edifice was remodeled in 1955 after an explosion and a new cornerstone was laid. The junior choir that was organized by Rev. McCottry was named in his memory the “McCottry Choir.” In addition to the McCottry and the Senior Choirs, another choir was organized. The congregation increased and began to experience spiritual, numerical and financial growth.
In 1957, what is now known as the Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church was organized as a mission and sent out as a local body of Christ. And in 1957, what is now known as the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church was organized as a mission and in 1958, sent out as a local body of Christ named the Madison Avenue Baptist Church.
In 1964, Rev. W.L. Daniel became pastor. He initiated a building fund treasury and another lot near the church was purchased.
In 1971, Rev. Cullian W. Hill became pastor. He further directed the building fund that ultimately led to the purchase of 16.9 acres of land for a new edifice at Scheurmann and Youngs Ditch Roads in Hampton Township on September 29, 1973.
In 1977, Rev. Marvin A. Jennings, Sr. became pastor. Under his leadership the $11,000.00 balance owed on our land was paid off. A $47,000.00 Mortgage Burning Service was held April 2, 1978 and on Sunday, November 12, 1978, the groundbreaking ceremony for our new edifice was held.
On Sunday, April 22, 1979, our church congregation celebrated its 96th Church Anniversary at the old site and on September 16, 1979, the Cornerstone laying took place under the auspices of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Detroit, Michigan. Under the direction of Pastor Jennings, and with the blessings of God, our prayers were answered. We had reached a milestone in our history by moving into our new edifice.
On May 11, 1986, Rev. Seth Randolph Doyle Jr. began his pastorate. He was installed on August 11, 1986. Under his leadership, the church completed various procurement and renovation projects, including the purchase of a parsonage on 2.9 acres, and internal and external improvements to the property. On September 14, 1997, we retired the debt and burned the mortgage on our church edifice located at Youngs Ditch and Scheurmann Roads, to the Glory of God!!!. For this, we are extremely excited because this brings to reality a dream that came forth from the minds of our congregation and started under the leadership of Rev. W. L. Daniels in 1964.
On May 31, 1992, what is now known as the Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church, was organized and sent out from the Second Baptist Church under the pastorate of the late Rev. James Davis and is now pastored by the Rev. John H. Davis.
In an effort to meet the challenges of the new millennium, we have embarked on some innovative projects including organizing our puppet ministry and sponsoring it on a mission to Zimbabwe, Africa in 1993 and establishing a day care center that was opened in 1992. The purpose of these ministries are to initiate community awareness, and stimulate and enhance spiritual growth for the betterment of all people in the community as they meet the daily challenges of our society.
Pastor Doyle emphasised Christian growth and stewardship. In 2001, the Second Baptist Praise Team was organized. In 2002, Pastor Doyle established for Second Baptist to be: A converted church, a consecrated church, a conquering church and a committed church. The congregation -- with a commitment to move forward -- embraced these goals.
In 2010, a praise dance ministry known as the “Triumphant Dance Team,” and in 201,1 a mime ministry known as the
“B. O. Y.S. Mime Team” were established with the purpose of initiating community awareness, stimulating and enhancing spiritual growth for the betterment of all people in the community, as they meet the daily challenges of our society.
Also, in 2011, our church’s Christian Education and Mission Ministries were enhanced with the establishment of the Christian Education Leadership School, fully accredited by the Dept. of Christian Education of the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA Inc., and our Mission Circle Ministry consisting of five mission circles.
Lastly, the church’s Multi-Media Ministry was revived and a media room was erected. Audio and video services are controlled from this room.
Pastor Doyle served faithfully until February 1, 2019. He continues to inspire us with these words: “As we move forward in this 21st century, we must be prepared for the challenges ahead. We must put on the whole armor of God and boldly lift up the name of Jesus. As we move on by faith, let us continue to look to our God for strength, guidance and direction.” We are a city that sits on the hill. We are the light for the lost. We are the “Beacon of Hope” in the community.
On March 8, 2020, Rev. Marcelle T. Smith was elected, and on April 1, 2020, succeeded Rev. Doyle as pastor. Answering the call amidst a growing pandemic, Pastor Smith assumed divine appointment under nontraditional circumstances. To his leadership, several technological advancements are embraced, including: Online giving, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and an HSBC logo. Pastor Smith continues to seek wise counsel on earth and in Heaven as we learn to navigate our new normal, and leads with an emphasis on these words: "The building might be closed, but the Church is always open."