Reflecting on the past one hundred nine years, Second Nazareth Baptist Church has experienced many memorable moments. Some in laughter, some in tears - but always in praise to God. The Musical Choir concerts, presented to a standing room only crowd, glorified God and edified the Nazareth family. "Coming, Lord, To Thee" was synonymous with the Second Nazareth Jubilee Choir during Pastor Bowman's "Old Ship of Zion" radio broadcast. The adventures or misadventures at the church picnics kept us laughing for weeks, especially when we had to unload the bus for it to make it up the mountain. But we sang "Climbing Jacob's Ladder" with all the gusto we had. These are examples of the rigors of a true church family.
Just as we have relied on our physical strength in times of fun, we have relied on our spiritual strength in our seasons of grief. Second Nazareth Baptist Church, is made up of people--people who have publicly professed our faith in Jesus Christ, followed Him in baptism and who have joined together in this church so our worship, witness and ministry will glorify God.
Pastor Myers served from 1903 to 1933 during which he organized the Deacon Board, Jubilee Choir (the first in Columbia), Musical Choir, Usher Board, Deaconess Board, Pulpit Aid Club, Trustee Board and the Baptist Young Peoples Union. Four ministers and fifteen deacons were ordained during this time. Rev. W.M. Gordon and Rev. Frank Watkins served as assistant pastors. Dea. Callie Patterson served as Chairman of the Deacon Board from 1924 to 1951. In accordance with the laws of the State of South Carolina the church was incorporated in 1910. Pastor Myers was an advocate of self-sufficiency and encouraged home ownership.
Four churches were established from Second Nazareth during Pastor Myers' era: Ebenezer Baptist Church (1910), Jehovah Baptist Church (1918), Trinity Baptist Church (1921) and Friendship Baptist Church (1930).
It was during this time Second Nazareth began to actively address community issues. As the result of a boyhood injury for which he was not properly treated, Pastor Bowman had a strong commitment to racial equality and challenging the status quo. He instilled this commitment in the Second Nazareth family. Meetings of the local branch of the NAACP were held at the church as well as several statewide strategy meetings for civil rights. In May 1969 Second Nazareth acquired its Life Membership in the NAACP. He encouraged the church to financially support the founding of the Columbia Free Medical Clinic and the Edgewood-Read Street Cooperative Community Improvement Council, Both of these relationships continue to this day. Second Nazareth became actively involved in other religious affiliations, such as the Gethsemane Baptist Association, the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention and the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
The current administrative annex housed the headquarters for the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention for South Carolina. The first "Soup Kitchen" in the community was opened by Second Nazareth, an effort continued today by the YWA in partnership with the Gethsemane Baptist Association. The annual thanksgiving project of the Brotherhood Club, Project Angel Tree, and the adoption of several community long-term care facilities are a few of the ongoing activities initiated during the leadership of Pastor Bowman. In conjunction with efforts to revitalize the Edgewood community the church, at the urging of Pastor Bowman, purchased a liquor store and converted it into a Boy Scout hut.
Vacation Bible School, church picnics to Table Rock and Atlantic Beach and the outstanding season of the Second Nazareth Baseball Team were the highlights of the summer at Nazareth. Printed bulletins, The Nazarette (church newsletter), Women's Day, Men's Day and Youth Day originated during Pastor Bowman's pastorate.
Because of his dynamic preaching, radio persona, the leadership positions he held in the community and his length of service as pastor, the Second Nazareth family began to increase dramatically. To meet the needs of the growing congregation Pastor Bowman ordained nineteen ministers and twenty-four deacons. Organizations formed during the Bowman era are: Annie Myers Missionary Circle, Jones/McClerklin Missionary Circle, Bowman/Alston Missionary Circle, Young Woman's Auxiliary, Junior Missionary Society, Brotherhood Club, Junior Deacons, Junior Brotherhood, Nurses Fellowship, Nazarene Gospel Choir, Officers Wives Auxiliary, Willing Workers Club, Progressive Club, Benevolent Club, Voices of Faith, W.M. Bowman Children's Choir, and Male Choir. Nineteen ministers were ordained under Pastor Bowman. During his forty-eight years of leadership sixty-eight trustees were elected. Several ministers served as associate pastors during Pastor Bowman's tenure. Reverends Clarence Williams, William Henderson, Leon Johnson and James Abrams, Jr. held the position of assistant pastors. Chairmen of the Deacon Board were Callie Patterson (1949-51), P.M. Bowling (1952-71), and Marion Hart (1972-96). Upon his retirement in 1996, he was honored as Pastor Emeritus until his passing in 2000.
From 1996 until July 4, 1999 Second Nazareth Baptist Church was without a pastor. Rev. Ed Francis served as quasi-interim pastor. Invited ministers filled the pulpit.
Pastor Hills continued the church's commitment to community service by encouraging the establishment of the Edgewood Foundation, a 501(c)3 entity. The church has also partnered with local schools as a part of Richland School District One's faith-based initiatives. During Pastor Hills' time Second Nazareth instituted its prescription assistance to the elderly, formalized its CARE Ministry, launched its website and published Spiritual Nourishment, a monthly devotional. (Spiritual Nourishment has been renamed Seasoning for the Soul.) The church's logo was also commissioned during Pastor Hills' administration. The Joint Board of Officers began updating the manual on church policies and procedures. Pastor Hills' tenure ended July 25, 2005.
Pastor Noble instituted several annual events Unity in the Community, a day for all of the church family, residents of the community, educational field, and public service could come together for a day of singing, eating, fun, and fellowship. The Christmas Gala, a time for friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors to come together to commemorate the birth of our Savior, celebrate the miracle of Christmas, and present our youth ages 16-21 to society.
Under Pastor Noble's leadership the vision to fufill Christ's command to preach the gospel to all the world is foremost in our minds. Our church is focused on five areas of emphasis: outreach/evangelism, ministry, worship, fellowship, and discipleship. Pastor Noble has lead the church to purchase additional property to meet our ministry needs, and reorganized the Edgewood Foundation and its Board of Directors to better serve our community and families. The Edgewood Foundation also partners with other like minded private and civic groups to deliver Summer Camp, afterschool programs, and informational workshops.
Second Nazareth is excited about the future God has in store for us. Plans are being made to build a new 1,200 seat sanctuary, fully equipped with cutting edge technology and amenities to edify the body of Christ and serve humanity in greater capacities. God truly has smiled on the Second Nazareth church family.