458 Madison Ave

Akron OH 44320


Providence Baptist Church was organized in 1921 with Rev. G.W. Mack as Pastor. Charter members were as follows: Bro. and Sis. Sherfield, Bro. and Sis. Raymond Weems, Sis. Margaret Warfield Thomas, Sis. Helma Warfield Kirk, Sis. Estelle Warfield Bell, Rev. Strickland, Rev. Baker, Sis. Rosa Hord, Bro. and Sis. Willie Watson, and Bro. and Sis. Isaiah Watson. Records of chartered members are yet to be completed.

Providence Baptist Church was organized in a storefront on the corner of Edgewood and Euclid Avenues. Later, the church moved to 173 Bluff Street. In 1928, Rev. Aaron Engram was called from New Castle, Pennsylvania to become Pastor. He remained as Pastor until 1931. On August 31, 1931, Rev. John W. Wheeler was called to Pastor. The first member to join under his leadership was the late Sis. Catherine Davis.

In 1942, the church burned. Rev. Charles Thomas, Pastor of the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission, opened its doors to us. We stayed there for fourteen months. In April, 1943, we purchased the edifice at 772 (774) Raymond Street. God showered His blessings upon us and many souls were saved. On January 26, 1975, God blessed us again and we moved to 458 Madison Avenue, where our church is located at present. At that time, we gratefully acknowledged the goodness of Almighty God and dedicated the church to His glory and service. It was God who kept the membership together and made it possible for the burning of the mortgage on August 27, 1978.

Pastor Wheeler faithfully served and labored with God as his leader for 49 years. He was a God-sent man and experienced many trials and tribulations during his leadership, but God enabled him to carry on the work of the Lord. Pastor Wheeler retired with honor and praise in 1980. He continued to consult and advise the members and associate ministers of Providence Baptist Church. After 106 years of life, Rev. John W. Wheeler was called home to be with the Lord on November 4, 1986.

The Providence Baptist Church family elected Rev. W. Clifford Seay as Pastor on August 21, 1981 and he served for a short time. Rev. Jeffrey Dennis became the Pastor of Providence Baptist Church on August 24, 1983 and so served in that capacity for two years before being called to move on to another destiny.

Providence Baptist Church, on July 25, 1986, elected Rev. Samuel D. Searcy as its next Pastor. Under his leadership, the Sunbeam Choir and male chorus were revived, the John W. Wheeler Scholarship Fund formed, and 75% of the existing sanctuary was renovated. Pastor Searcy remained until November, 1992.

Throughout the years, the Providence Baptist Church family has had many faithful, dedicated, and praying members who refused to lose hope through the church’s trials and tribulations. The Providence Baptist Church family has continued to believe and trust in the Lord. Therefore, the church family, in the year or so that followed the departure of Rev. Searcy, continued to assemble regularly and pray for spiritual guidance and leadership through a series of visiting ministers.

On January 14, 1994, the congregation elected Rev. Richard Brown, Sr. as leader to minister to the needs of the congregation. Under the pastorate of Rev. Brown, the church purchased additional properties, installed air conditioning, renovated the kitchen and baptismal pool, installed glass block windows on the lower level, purchased new office equipment and musical instruments, fortified the roof and walls of the building, purchased a church van, renovated the pews, installed new glass doors, instituted the Lunch Program during the summer, and made numerous other improvements to the exterior as well as the church interior. He remained with us until December, 2001.

Rev. Calvin J. Dinkins was appointed Pastor in October 2002 and remained with us until September, 2004.

Rev. Glenn Brown served as Interim Pastor from June, 2006 until June, 2007.

On August 12, 2007, Rev. Vincent E. Peterson was installed as the ninth Pastor of Providence Baptist Church. As predicted last year at this time, another shepherd has been appointed to “feed and lead the hungry sheep!!”Amen.

(Reproduced from original submission by Sis. Clara Prier; updated by Sis. Lilyan Smith.)

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