Community celebrates 108 years of the Friendship Baptist Church

AmNews Staff Reports | 6/14/2018, 5:18 p.m.
This past weekend the Brooklyn community came out to celebrate 108 years of the historic Friendship Baptist Church.
The Rev. Dr. Craig B. Gaddy Senior being installed as the new pastor Lem Peterkin photo

This past weekend the Brooklyn community came out to celebrate 108 years of the historic Friendship Baptist Church.

Honoring the legacy, the congregation learned that the Friendship Baptist Church was organized June 10, 1910, by the Rev. M. F. Logan at 393 Elton St. The church relocated to the living room of Nana K. Raspberry, one of the founding members, at 447 Elton St. in East New York, which currently houses the Bethelite Institutional Baptist Church. The Rev. Logan’s vision for the church is celebrated each year on the second Sunday in June.

After the Rev. Logan’s tenure, the church elected the Rev. Albert C. Matthews as pastor, and under his leadership, the church received its official certificate of incorporation Oct. 4, 1913.

After the Rev. Matthew’s departure, the church had a number of interim pastors until a minister by the name of Uriah B. Whitfield was asked to conduct a revival. He proved to be a dynamic, powerful preacher, as well as having knowledge of administrative procedures. He was the man Friendship had been praying for. In October 1938, the Rev. Whitfield was officially installed as pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. That was a new and joyful beginning at 447 Elton St.

The congregation grew under the Rev. Whitfield’s leadership. It became apparent that the Elton Street location was too small and in July 1949, the church building at 293 Howard Ave. was purchased.

The Howard Avenue location soon became too small with the continued growth of the congregation.

Again the Rev. Whitfield envisioned a new church building. It was brought to his attention that the Kismet Temple, a Jewish synagogue at 92 Herkimer St., was for sale. That was the building the Rev. Whitfield envisioned.

May 16, 1966, the Kismet Temple was purchased for $250,000, and Sunday, May 29, 1966, after a brief final service on Howard Avenue, the pastor and congregation marched to their new house of worship at 92 Herkimer St.

Under the auspices of the Rev. Whitfield and because of the dedication of the congregation, Sunday, Sept. 9, 1984, at 3:30 p.m., the mortgage on the Friendship Baptist Church was burned and the church was debt free.

The Rev. Whitfield led the Friendship family for 59 years, with courage, faith, belief and perseverance until his death in 1997.

Once again, the church was looking for a new pastor. In 1999, the Friendship Baptist Church called the Rev. Craig B. Gaddy Sr. to come forward, and Oct. 3, 1999, at 5 p.m., the Rev. Gaddy was installed as the new pastor.

Under his continuous leadership, over the years there have been extensive renovations to the interior of the church. He is also a devoted supporter of Friendship’s five foreign missions, which are in Ghana, West Africa; in Sierra Leone, West Africa; and the newest one, in Guanabacoa, Havana, Cuba.

May 13, 2017, the Rev. Gaddy received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University.