On June 4, 1967, Faith Missionary Baptist Church held its first service in St. Albans. Twenty people attended, convening in an abandoned appliance store.
The congregation was joined later that summer by its new pastor, the Rev. John Hoskins, a graduate of Tennessee Temple in Chattanooga, Tenn., who served in that capacity until his death 35 years later.
Fred Connery served as pastor after Hoskins, until 2005. A year later, the church called Mike Hager and his wife, Jeanne, to come to Faith Missionary Baptist. In June 2014, Pastor Josh Free and his wife, Mindy, joined Faith Missionary Baptist to assume, develop and oversee its youth ministry programs.
First Missionary Baptist Church will observe its 52nd anniversary with a special service getting underway at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 2.
On Sunday, Phil Acord will speak to the congregation. Acord is the president and CEO of the nonprofit Chambliss Center for Children in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is also the son of the late Woodrow and Pauline Miller. Pauline Miller was the oldest surviving charter member of First Baptist Missionary Church until her death on June 1, 2018.
“We moved to St. Albans about 1953,” Acord said from his Chattanooga offices last week. “We started attending Lower Falls Baptist Church, and then about 52 years ago, she and several members of the Lower Falls congregation had some issues doctrinally with the church, which was Southern Baptist, and they decided to go out and start their own church.
“They purchased this property down on U.S. 60 and established Faith Missionary Baptist. One by one, they all began to pass on; Mother was the last charter member,” Acord said.
“She loved that church faithfully. She was there Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening — whenever she was physically able, she was there,” he said.
“I was there last weekend. My brothers and sisters all attended the service. Mother and Father had a pew there, called Millers’ Pew. Mother always kept a little cushion and a shawl in it, and they’ve left them there where they normally sat. It’s sort of an emotional reminder, both of her faithfulness and what she meant to the church body,” Acord said.
“My siblings and I have joked that we were always in competition with our church family or that she loved them more than us, her children, because she faithfully prayed for the church and was always supporting and doing whatever needed to be done to help the outreach ministry of the church,” he said.
Acord said he and his siblings often sang in the church and that their parents renewed their 50th wedding anniversary vows there.
“Although I’m 430 miles away,” he said, “Faith Missionary Baptist is sort of my second home church, because I have such close emotional ties to the people there.”
Faith Missionary Baptist Church is located at 701 West MacCorkle Ave., one mile west of Winfield Road near St. Albans. It is an independent, fundamental, Bible-believing church. Sunday services take place at 9:45 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Joy Clubs, for children, meet at 6:30 p.m. and services for teenagers and adults get underway at 7 p.m.
For more information about the church or Sunday’s anniversary service, call Pastor Mike Hager at 304-727-9491.
More information about the church is also available online at www.fmbcwv.org