The congregation of Second Baptist Church began on February 22, 1942, when nine followers of Christ met in the home of Brother and Sister R.H. Robinson on 625 Jackson Street for the purpose of organizing a church. This group of dedicated souls were: Brothers Verenette Anderson, Willie Harris, F.W. Wilson, Reverend B.T. Mayfield, Sisters Bessie Mayfield, Lola Hayes, Helen Marie Pope and the Robinsons. Rev. Mayfield stated the purpose of the meeting and Sister Hayes was selected as temporary clerk. Rev. Mayfield played a major role in getting the group organized.
After organizing the church the question of a name came up. Someone suggested that since the white Baptist church was named the First Baptist Church, their newly organized church should be called the Second Baptist Church. And that is how Second Baptist got its’ name. After a short while, the church decided to call a pastor and were led by the Spirit to call Rev. B.T. Mayfield. There was no place to meet and hold services so the members took turns meeting in one another’s homes. Prayer services were held each Wednesday night and Rev. Mayfield brought the lessons.
God blessed the members and they proceeded to purchase a parcel of land where the old sanctuary (fellowship hall) presently stands. The members contributed money and bought a 20’ X 40’ tent for $35.00. They worshipped and praised the Lord in that tent for approximately nine months. Due to the rapid growth of the membership, they were forced to erect a building to accommodate the congregation. In one year, the membership had grown to a commendable enrollment of 300 and they added more than sixteen departments to the church.
Over the past 70 years, seven pastors have served Second Baptist Church. The Holy Spirit led Reverend Mayfield to Reno, Nevada. Reverend C.H. Haden became the second pastor, serving for approximately two years. Reverend I.W. Lewis was the third pastor and he served for about one year. It was under his leadership that in 1949 a $3,500 building fund was established. In October 1949, Reverend V.C.L. Coleman accepted the call as Pastor, becoming the fourth pastor of Second Baptist Church. Pastor Coleman served faithfully for over 25 years until failing health caused him to retire. He is fondly remembered for his service and dedication. Reverend Joseph Jefferson became the fifth pastor serving for approximately two years. In June 1978, Reverend Willie Davis accepted the call to pastor what is now called the “Miracle on Madison Avenue”. He was the sixth pastor. Reverend Davis’ 29 years of leadership is noteworthy. Through his vision and leadership the Second Baptist Church membership, ministry, and outreach grew tremendously. In November 2008 the membership called the Reverend D. Edward Chaney. Pastor Chaney was installed in March 2009 as the seventh pastor of Second Baptist Church during our 67th Church Anniversary Celebration.
BUILDING AND EXPANDING
Under the leadership of Reverend Mayfield the membership grew and prospered to more than 300 and the membership decided to build a church edifice. The building was completed at a cost of $4,500 and more than 26 departments were added to the church.
Under Reverend Coleman’s leadership, the members decided to build an even larger edifice to accommodate the ever-increasing membership, which resulted in the completion of the old sanctuary. In 1966 construction of an educational building began. This effort blessed Second Baptist with a pastor’s study (which is now the Evangelism Office), seven Sunday school rooms, a Sunday school superintendent’s office, finance room, choir room, ladies lounge, food storehouse for the poor and needy, a kitchen and dining area.
Under the leadership of Reverend Willie Davis, the membership increased even more and in January 1985 architectural designs were drawn and in July 1987 ground breaking began on the present sanctuary that is the place of today’s worship. On March 17, 1991, the Second Baptist Church family and Las Vegas community celebrated the completion of Phase I with a grand opening and dedicatory service. Reverend Jesse L. Jackson was the 3:00 pm guest speaker. It was at this service that he honored Second Baptist and gave her the name of “Miracle on Madison Avenue”.
Phase I included a new sanctuary with a seating capacity of 1600, a small chapel that was dedicated in the memory of former First Lady Mrs. Jeannette Davis, and 13 additional classrooms. Phase II included eight additional classrooms, a pastor’s study, administrative offices, finance office, commercial kitchen, custodian room, and deacons’ boardroom. Sister Lillie Scott donated all the furnishings for the deacons’ boardroom and it was dedicated in loving memory of her husband Deacon Jewel Scott. A state-of-the art sound system and radio broadcast studio were also installed and a marquee placed in front of the church, which displays the church name and upcoming events.
The old sanctuary was converted to a fellowship hall that is used for new members training, Bible Study, banquets and special events. It was named the V.C.L. Coleman Fellowship Hall and dedicated in his honor in May 1995.
In March 1996, the cornerstone was placed dedicating the “Miracle on Madison Avenue”. In 1997 additional land was purchased to accommodate additional parking.
In March 2004, Second Baptist celebrated its 62nd church anniversary and Mortgage Burning Ceremony. In March 2009 we underwent a “face-lift”: We made renovations to adjacent properties, the parsonage, repaired pews, purchased new pews, installed new carpeting and floor tile, purchased a church van, and installed a state–of-the-art multi-media system. Today the church is debt-free and to God be the glory!
BUILDING UP THE BODY OF CHRIST
Second Baptist Church continues to reach for higher ground in its ministry and service to others. Seeing the lack of worship times to better accommodate the various schedules of many people in Las Vegas, Second Baptist became the first African-American congregation to begin an early morning worship service. To build upon the evangelistic charge of “meeting the people where they are”, the worship service began a live broadcast dedicated to those individuals who were sick, shut-in or unable to attend a church for regular fellowship. Even today, listeners can tune in on Sunday mornings from 8:15 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to KCEP FM 88 for a spiritual uplifting.
Second Baptist started an outreach ministry ten years ago and continues to provide food, clothing, and other amenities to the needy, homeless and many others who have fallen on hard times. A live radio worship service is broadcasted on KCEP FM 88 at 8:15 a.m. each Sunday morning for those unable to attend a regular service.
A NEW BEGINNING
In November, 2008, Second Baptist Church was once again blessed with the leadership of yet another dynamic anointed shepherd, the Reverend D. Edward Chaney to lead the congregation as its seventh senior pastor. He came to us with a wealth of biblical knowledge, high energy, extraordinary vision, and strong outreach sensitivity. He is enthusiastic, committed and innovative.
In 2009, Reverend Chaney led the congregation of the Second Baptist Church through a quarter-million dollar sanctuary and vestibule renovation which included: the installation of new multimedia technology, new carpeting and pew refurbishment, vestibule redesign to include a welcome center, and bookstore. With his guidance and direction, Second Baptist has purchased a national landmark the old “Hamburger Heaven Restaurant”. Second Baptist is being led through structural reorganization which is fostered by leadership training and development, biblical teaching and doctrinal education.
WE’VE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH; STILL PRAISING GOD
We praise God with love and thanksgiving for the privilege of reaching another anniversary milestone in our rich spiritual history. Those that have built the foundation are remembered with honor for leading, teaching, and praying for us. We stand on the foundation of the Holy Scriptures. We will continue to love one another with an agape love. We will remain diligent in our prayer life, continually seeking our Heavenly Father’s guidance in all endeavors.