THE HISTORY OF GREATER MONCRIEF BAPTIST CHURCH

CHURCH HISTORY

In the year 1929, on the corner of 22nd and Witschen Streets, a small group of God fearing people gathered together in union and organized another Baptist Church family working for God. In the eyes of God and man, this was another rock where another church was built within the walls of a little white edifice. Its name would be known as the Moncrief Missionary Baptist Church with the late Rev. F.S. Sams, officiating as Pastor. The late Deacon Ernest Wesley was Chairman of the Deacon Board and also Superintendent of the Sunday School. During his reign as Pastor, the membership began to grow in the Sunday School and the Church. The first choir was organized along with the B.T.U. Department. The late Rebecca Wesley Cowart was President of the Deaconess Board and the late Sis. Fannie Smith served as Treasurer and Mother of the Church. This position was held until her departure.  In 1932, the late Rev. G.W. Alderman was called to Pastor. In his two years as the leader, the membership continued to increase. He resigned in the year of 1934. Then Rev. C. Murray was the leader for a short period of time. In that same year, Rev. R.J. Jones was called as Pastor. His resigning led the members to call the late Rev. E.A. Cook. Under his leadership, God was with the membership as it continued to increase. During this time the mortgage to the property was burned. With only a few members participating as the living church of 1941, God sent a bold, hardworking young minister and his wife to aide and lead His chosen few. Rev. Richard Scott was called to Pastor this church, where he found much work to do. Rev. Scott worked hard and continuously. Under his dynamic leadership, the church was built with dedication and love. In the year of 1950, he resigned as Pastor of this church to continue his ministry in another place in God's vineyard. During his leave of absence, the Rev. Cohens was called as Pastor. After a short period, Rev. Cohens resigned as Pastor.  In the year of 1956, the Rev. Richard Scott returned as Pastor of this great edifice. “Let Him Ask No Other Blessedness, He Had Found It Well and Following It.” Many blessings continued on the flock throughout his 19 years of pastoring this flock. They had truly found an untiring Shepherd who tried to build and to lead his flock in a God fearing way. They had “come this far by faith”, leaning on the bond that they had with God as the leader and Rev. Scott as the Pastor. They knew they would make it in the name of Jesus Christ. Rev. Scott had a dream and that dream was to build a new Church. In preparing for his dream, Rev. Scott and the members put their heads together and started a building fund drive. During the year 1976, Pastor Scott and the members worked hard and diligently toward this dream. The process for raising funds was on the way. After eight years, Rev. Scott and the members had enough money to get started on the new church. In March 1984, the ground was broken for this dream which Rev. Scott and the members had waited. The permit went up for the dream. Rev. Scott saw the foundation laid and a portion of the church go up. After a sudden illness, he departed from this life in May 1985, to a better home prepared for him by the maker of heaven and earth.  During the same year, Rev. L.K. Ross, an Associate Minister of Rev. Scott came aboard. He had learned many of Rev. Scott's ways and what his dream was all about. The church called Rev. Ross for a period of one year. After serving that year, he was called to Pastor the church. This young man was now ready for the great task of God's work. Rev. Ross and the members worked hard in completing the Church from 1985 to May 1987. A dream was no longer a dream but a reality. All the hard work, trials and tribulations had come to an end. May 24, 1987, a march to a new MONCRIEF MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH was on the way. God had blessed Rev. Ross and the members with a determined mind to go on in his name. Prayers were answered and souls were saved. Rev. Ross and the members did not retire after moving into the new building, but realized their work had just begun. They were blessed with new robes for the Youth Choir and a new Piano for the church. “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD: I SHALL NOT WANT”. They knew the Lord did not want them to want for anything so they started working for proper seating and transportation for the church. They had “Come this Far by Faith” leaning and depending on the Lord. Rev. Ross and the members completed the dream of the late Rev. Richard Scott.    In the year of December 1989, Rev. Dr. Quovadis G. Thomas was called as Pastor of this great church, where he is presently the Under Shepherd of this flock. God sent another bold, hard-working, strong, persistent and dedicated young Minister to lead his people. Since becoming the great leader of this church, he has accomplished many things. In 1992 the RICHARD SCOTT SCHOLARSHIP was established. Out of this scholarship, we have set aside a day, which is called Christian Education Day, and this day was formed to recognize public and church school children for their achievements during the school year. Also established in this year was the Radio Ministry. Pastor Thomas being a visionary felt the call of God to take the Gospel to the airways through radio where the Shining Bright Ministry was birth. Once a week, 30 minute sermons would be shared with our listening audience in Duval, St. Johns, and Nassau Counties. This was our effort guided by the Holy Spirit to reach the sick and shut in, sinners and saints...   In 1993, Pastor Thomas established the Youth Church of Moncrief Baptist Church. The theme for this year was “Praise God”. The Youth Ministry fosters Christian Education for the youth. This ministry offers rap sessions and Christian principles taught for every age. Our first Youth Pastor was appointed in our early years of this ministry which was Rev. Curtis Murray, preceded by Rev. Eddie Faison, Rev. James Gilkey and Rev. James Smith III. Currently our Youth Pastor is Rev. Sinatra Thomas. Under the leadership of Rev. Sinatra Thomas, he is taking the youth to a new level in Christ and has reorganized the youth ministry. Rev. Sinatra Thomas has established a Teen Bible Study Class that is held every other Wednesday. He has re-established Children Church that is held every 2nd Sunday of each month and Teen Church that is held every1st and 3rd Sunday of each month. He is also in the process of starting a Youth Evangelistic Team; this will allow the youth the opportunity to minister to youth their age. As you can see Rev. Sinatra Thomas has brought a new excitement to the youth ministry. May God continue to bless our youth ministry and its very fine volunteer staff. Also established in 1993 was Christian Education and Evangelism. “His last command is our first concern”. Christian Education and Evangelism has always been in the forefront of this ministry. The introduction of the church's library, all the way to our awesome evangelistic church van ministry, it has proven to be the driving forces for this ministry. Evangelism efforts partnered with Trinity Rescue Mission has also proven to be a great success. Every 2nd Monday of each month at 6:30 pm, our evangelistic thrust is used in services rendered by Pastor Thomas as he continues to reach out to those who have lost hope. Our focus remains today to reach the lost at any cost. We strive to “Go Ye Therefore” our Great Commission. The Bible says that we must be a praying and seeking force for him. The Evangelistic work is an ongoing and great work. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) Another ministry established in this year is the Marriage and Singles Ministry. Both of these ministries were formed to aide married and single individuals through Christian education workshops and classes on Christian family values. These classes over the years have been instrumental in healthy Christian life style changes for all who have attended. In 1995, the Arms of Mercy Ministry Inc. was birth out of the burden of souls for people enslaved by drug and alcohol. The theme for this year was “Lord, Thank You.” Pastor Thomas understood that this problem could not be ignored anymore. A partnership was made with Drug Rehabilitation facilities to give people the clinical help they were in need of. Later the burden for abused women weighed heavily on our organizations leader heart. Partnerships with abuse centers were made and Arms of Mercy was used as a starting point for lifestyle changes. In the current years, Arms of Mercy expanded their aide to a hurting society through various programs. These programs were designed to assist hurting people make necessary positive life style changes. Pastor Thomas has led this ministry since its existence to be a place of service to this hurting community. This ministry has been a success due to God and the willing and giving volunteers of the Moncrief Missionary Baptist Church.    Beginning in 1996 until Present, Arms of Mercy has been providing this community with an annual Community Fun Day and Drug Free March. This week of festivities start off with an anti-Drug Revival. Drug awareness lecturers and workshops are offered by the Jacksonville Sheriff Office, River Region, Gateway Community Services, City Rescue Mission and Trinity Rescue Mission. The weekend activities include Health Screenings, Clothing Giveaway, Teen Pregnancy information, Drug Rehabilitation information, Free Food, Games and more. Also in this year was established our Drug Free March. This exciting Victory March was in the mind and heart of Pastor Thomas. We partnered with Trinity Rescue Mission, Gateway Community Services; Quench the Violence Outreach Ministry, River Region, MADD DADS, and other like-minded ministries. We let our voices be known on our stand against substance abuse, violence against women and children. We address the current ills of our times in this Unity March. God blesses us in our effort to lift up Jesus as the ultimate solution. The theme for this year was “One in the Spirit”. How fitting for such a time as these. The Prison Ministry was established in 1999 by Pastor Thomas and First Lady Sharon Thomas. Due to the increasing rate of incarceration of our communities’ men and women, this ministry was birth. Internet personal correspondence, bible studies and Christian books, have been sent to the Florida Department of Corrections facilities as well as the Federal Prison system. We have been faithful in sending Christian books, bibles and aides to the inmates for over 10 years. Our purpose for this ministry is to mentor inmates for ministry in such a way that the word of God is shared behind prison bars. Our streams of development are to foster Christian education through large Christian book donations to the institutions libraries, to build the body of Christ through Christian book clubs and sharing of God's word, to develop our incarcerated members into mature sons and daughters led by the Holy Spirit, to build the body of Christ as living stones set in place and shining for His glory in a dark place. Our goals have been to accomplish the mission based on the vision, which is to win souls, make disciples, equip, develop, train mature souls and build mighty men and women of God who will walk in the purpose of God. This ministry has truly been a blessing to the body of believers behind prison bars. We have sent over 1,200 books to the prisons as to date. In the year of 2000, the After School Tutorial Program was formed. This program was held from July 2000 until March 2001. Using our partnership skills once again, proved to benefit our community. Pastor Thomas received help from the Jaguar Foundation to aide in a quest for educational excellence for the youth in our community. Tutoring sessions were held at the church every afternoon with a retired Duval County school teacher on staff. This program truly would not have been a success without the many Moncrief Baptist Church volunteers and role model teams. From October 2001 until May 2002, the Canvas Project was held. The Jacksonville Cultural Council partnered with Pastor Thomas and the Moncrief Baptist Church. Our First Lady, Rev. Sharon Thomas had a passion for art which drove the church in a new direction. For the first time the Cultural Council allowed a church to host the canvas project. This program offered art classes to low income youth. These classes offered instructed classes on art theory, hands on classes in water color painting acrylics, charcoal and various other mediums. All students would be paid minimum wages for all the time they spent in the class. This gave some of the youth of this community and our church their first job experience. The children were exposed to various cultural events and were greatly enlighten. Our talented and dedicated volunteer staff made a difference in teaching our community youth good work ethics. In 2001 until 2004 the first summer camp was organized. Camp Mercy was formed after seeing a need for safe summer activities for the youth of this community. Pastor Thomas sought assistance from the partnership that we established with the River Region Human Services and the Department of Children and Families through Arms of Mercy. These organizations helped us take on the much needed task for three summers. This summer camp was free of charge and was offered to low income families. Camp Mercy offered Christian based, character driven curriculums, group counseling for the youth, positive affirmation workshops, drug abuse & awareness workshops, cultural learning workshops, art, computers and more. This camp proved to be quite a success. The Moncrief Baptist Church volunteer staff offered valued, long lasting impact to the youth in the community. The Arms of Mercy Food Pantry was established on January 31, 2002. Partnership once again was formed with the LSS Second Harvest Food Bank.  Over the years we have endeavored to meet the needs of the hungry in our city through our Sunday feeding program to over 50 homeless individuals per week and meeting the needs of individual families with day to day needs. The volunteer staff of Arms of Mercy has served this community with consistent love and care for 6 years and is still currently serving in various capacities. On July 26, 2003, Rev. Quovadis Thomas received his Doctoral Degree from the St. Thomas Christian College. He is continuing his education as God leads him to do so. The theme for this year was “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me” This was truly a befitting theme for this year. In February of 2005, we experienced the burdens of ministry when our church flooded due to faulty pipes. This was a financial setback for the ministry, but a Spiritual Victory. From June 2005 until February 2006, remodeling of the church took place.    The process included tiling of the floors, wall replacements, office expansions, a face lift for the Sanctuary and replacement of the Steeple. We did it all, thanks be unto God. From February 2006 until June 2007 a Florida Pregnancy Support program was established. This pilot program was presented to Pastor Thomas along with several other faith based institutions through the State of Florida. The purpose for this program was to support mother's – to - be to go full term with their pregnancies. Our goal was to encourage mothers not to abort their babies. This was done lovingly through the volunteer women of this church. Going a step further, we decided that we would not only offer information on pregnancy but through our church donations, offer diapers, cleaning necessities, clothing and food. This ministry (program) showed our love to God for his precious treasures, “Babies”. Still today, some of the former participants of this program stay in touch with our ministry. In April of 2008, God yet instilled another spiritual vision into the mind of Pastor Thomas. The church was in need of a new name to reflect the Great and Wonderful things that were happening here in the ministry. On May 13, 2008 we became officially known as the Greater Moncrief Missionary Baptist Church. In October of 2009, we upgraded and now have a new and improved Media Ministry. This ministry has been in existence since 1990 and has grown to what it is today. It has been a blessing to our ministry. We made purchase of several key pieces of equipment such as, a Lumen Video Projector, Video Camera, New Labels for the Cd's and Dvd's, Cd and Dvd duplicators, a Projector Screen and much more. Now we are blessed to bring a new dimension to the delivery of God's word. We have also incorporated a Family Movie Night that is usually held the last Friday of the month. (Please check your church bulletin for the schedule). This is an effort to create a clean atmosphere for family fellowship. This ministry has brought to this fellowship and community a nice, clean fun outlet. In the year 2010, Pastor Thomas wanted to make sure that the seniors and those members who could not attend the Mid-Week night service would not miss the opportunity to learn more about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so he decided to start a Noon Day Prayer and Bible Study. This Bible Study is held from twelve noon until one pm every Wednesday. Christian life skills have been taught, implemented and have proven to catapult the twelve noon class into a victorious walk with our Lord and Savior. The attendance has really increased and it has been a great blessing to all who attend. In the later part of 2010, we were richly blessed by the Lord. Rev. Sinatra Thomas reunited himself with this ministry. Out of this birthed a new era in our spectacular Youth Ministry. This union has proven to be very beneficial and profitable to the youth and parents of this great ministry. On March 27, 2011 Rev. Sinatra Thomas was ordained for this great task. In May 2011, through the direction of the Holy Spirit, our Pastor Rev. Dr. Quovadis G. Thomas inspired us and challenged us to seek the Lord in prayer for 60 days. Under this miraculous anointing our church experienced a paradigm shift. This paradigm shift affected our hearts, but most of our entire mind set. We had a shift in our thinking. It has moved us from old patterns of thoughts to Godly mind sets. Through the teaching of this Godly Prophet, we have made a leap to accepting God’s truths-moving from what we thought was true to actual reality of what God says. Pastor Thomas decided during this paradigm shift that it was also time for a change in the name of the choirs so while seeking the Lord in prayer the Q.G.T. Mass Choir is now the New Sanctuary Choir and the Super Youth Choir has become the Q.G. Thomas Youth Choir. Now we as a united body in Christ walk as God’s Champions.    In November of 2011, Pastor Thomas along with the leaders of the church realized that we were in need of reliable transportation to support the vision of God adding more members to the ministry. After consulting God, he decided to ask for the support of the members and together we were able to purchase a New Van. This has allowed us to transport our members safely back and forth to the worship services, other outings and assist us in our outreach ministry. As the New Year rolled in, we decided that the church was in need of a new look. In the beginning of the year 2012, Pastor Thomas along with the members of the ministry worked together and started with the restoration of the church. The church has been painted, therefore giving us a new refreshed look. Along with this new look came new members, to date we have a total of 25 new members added and planted to the ministry. God has continued to keep his promise. Under the leadership of Rev Sinatra Thomas, with the help of Sis. Delores Foster, Sis. Patricia Neal, Sis. LaShawnda Greene and the entire youth staff, the youth department established various activities and programs that were provided for the youth. These programs were the Martin Luther King program, Black History program, Youth Rally/ Round-Up and Youth Conference, Resurrection Sunday Program, S.T.A.N.D (Stay True And Never Deviate) conference, Youth Musical and a S.T.A.N.D Adventure conference. The youth were also taught skills and development for employment as well as church and dining etiquette. As you can see the youth are definitely a priority in our ministry. In the spring of 2012, the Music Ministry blessed us with a Spring Musical. This musical proved to be a launch for continued success. The Music Ministry has grown through the perfecting of the individual gifts of its members. The result of this growth has proven to be an awesome praise and satisfactory sacrifice of worship. In 2013  Dr. Quovadis Thomas appointed Dea. Edward Foster as Leader of our Men Ministry.  In 2014, Dea. Edward Foster has put together a Men’s Choir and is actively working on various projects with our Men. We look forward to exciting and new things coming from this ministry. In 2015, we have been faithful, dedicated and steadfast in the work of the Lord. Our ministry has been putting into action the principle and precepts of our Biblical Teaching. As you can see, the vision is being unfolded everyday as we continue to grow in God's word. We have truly found a God sent Shepherd who builds and leads his flock in a God fearing way. God is truly with this membership because we are increasing with active members and prosperity.   Many souls have been saved and prayers are being answered in this little church that is “SHINING BRIGHT AND ON FIRE FOR THE LORD.”     �2 ;�>