Mount Clemens Baptist church highlights 100th anniversary

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 16, 2021

  Pastor Terrance Standifer, left, is seen praying with the  Rev. Dr. Tyrone B. Martin, pastor of Greater Morning Star  Missionary Baptist Church in Mount Clemens. The church  is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month.

Pastor Terrance Standifer, left, is seen praying with the Rev. Dr. Tyrone B. Martin, pastor of Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Mount Clemens. The church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month.

Photo by Deb Jacques

  Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church kicked off its 100th anniversary April 2 with a car parade. The church was established as Second Baptist Church. In 1972, it was renamed Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.

Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church kicked off its 100th anniversary April 2 with a car parade. The church was established as Second Baptist Church. In 1972, it was renamed Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

MOUNT CLEMENS — The start of April meant the start of Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church’s 100th anniversary celebration.

The Mount Clemens congregation kicked off its centennial anniversary April 2 with a car parade.

Jean Dixon has been a member at Greater Morning Star since 2005 and organized the parade.

“We had way more cars than we thought we were going to have,” she said.

The nearly 30-car parade made its way to North Broadway Street, by North Walnut Street and looped around South Gratiot Avenue before returning to the church on Robertson Street.

The Rev. Dr. Tyrone B. Martin, pastor at Greater Morning Star, said the area of North Broadway and Colchester streets was one of the first communities where church members came from in the 1920s.

“We wanted to make enough noise and show our signs in that community,” he said. “In 1921, you didn’t even have 1% of African Americans in the Mount Clemens community.”

Martin has led the church for nearly 20 years.

The parade included a bike giveaway for children back at the church, with Easter baskets and a fish or fried chicken dinner to go.

“In this area, being the first Black Baptist church in Mount Clemens and the type of town it was, a lot of African Americans came here through the military,” Martin said. “As southern Blacks migrated to Detroit to work at Ford, GM and Chrysler plants, a few trickled into Mount Clemens.”

Dixon said the congregation, about 100 active members in size, has always been one of the largest churches in Mount Clemens.

“We’ve been a beacon of light to the community,” she said. “A lot of people have been through Greater Morning Star, and if you talk to people in Mount Clemens, they’ve at one time or another been a member.”  

As an example of connecting with the community, the church will serve as a COVID-19 vaccination site through the end of May.

“Having been a member for so many years and what so many of us who lived in Mount Clemens have gone through, it’s an awesome experience,” longtime member Ida McGarity said of being able to celebrate 100 years. “We’ve gone through some storms, but the church is still there.

McGarity, 73, has been attending Greater Morning Star since the 1950s.

“The people are loving, caring and teachers of young people,” she said. “We’ve not only been religiously educated, but taught us etiquette, manners and being good citizens.”

At its April 5 meeting, the Mount Clemens City Commission heard a proclamation for Greater Morning Star’s 100th year of service.

It highlighted that the church was established as Second Baptist Church at 79 Robertson St. In 1930, it was renamed Morning Star Baptist, with another name change coming in 1972 to what is now known as Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.

In the 1980s, the congregation celebrated the building’s mortgage being fully paid, saw multiple renovations and purchased a bus, van and additional property to allow for future expansion.

“As the church grew, several new ministries and mid-week praise and teaching services were added,” the proclamation reads.

One of these additional services was the Ministry of Caring, described as the church providing the food pantry ministry, clothes closet ministry, and a health and educational ministry.

In 2002, the church was able to accommodate homeless individuals and, beginning in 2005, expanded the food and clothing pantry to provide a full range of social services-like job training. It also aided in housing the homeless.

In 2010, The Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church continued to grow through its television broadcast “The Beacon of Light,” which is now live streamed across the U.S. and in Africa.

Advertisement