As reporter for the association, King filed this account of the annual meeting of the Montgomery-Antioch District Association, the local affiliate of the Alabama Baptist Missionary State Convention, which in turn was associated with the National Baptist Convention. The district association elected King as reporter at the session.
The Montgomer-Antioch District Association met in its Sixty-first annual session October 20–21, at the Hutchinson Street Baptist Church of Montgomery, the Rev. H. H. Johnson, pastor. The session was filled with spiritual fervor throughout. The general theme of the session was: “The Church in a Chainging World.” All of the inspirational addresses grew out of this general theme. These addresses, delivered so ably by Rev. J. A. Turner, Dr. A. W. Wilson and Rev. R. J. Glasco, were both inspirational and informative.1
On Wednesday morning Dr. D. C. Washington of Seventeenth Street Baptist Church, Anniston, Alabama, gave a stirring message on behalf of the Minister’s Benefit Board of the Alabama State Baptist Convention. His message was accepted with warm enthusiasm.2
Sermons for the association were preached by Rev. William McCloud, Rev. W. S. Briggs, and Rev. J. J. Rose. All of these men preached from their hearts, and left their hearers with a real spiritual experience.
The highlight of the association was the first Annual Address delivered by Moderator G. S. Jarett since he succeded the late Rev. J. H. McIntosh. In introducing Dr. Jarrett, Dr. D. C. Washington referred to him as a man of facts, faith and fire, and there can be no doubt that his message proved the validity of thsi characterization at every point. Dr. Jarrett chose as a subject for his address; “The duties and Responsibilities of the Gospel Ministry.” He emphasized that “the duty of the Gospel Minister is to pursue his path of self sacrificing regardless of the danger of the task that may be just ahead of him.” He admonished his hearers to take heed unto themselves, for “self heed is the secret of public power for preparation of yourself is the preparation of your message.” Throughout his message Dr. Jarrett revealed a profound knowledge of the Bible. His message was delivered with force and power. After the address, the messengers voted unanimously to elect Moderator Jarrett for another term. All other officers were reelected with the exception of Rev. R. D. Abernathy who graciously resigned his position as statistician to devote his time to his newly elected post as Dean of the District Congress. Rev. J. C. Parker was elected to succeed Rev. Abernathy as statistician. The other officers elected to succeed themselves were: Dr. M. C. Cleveland, Vice-Moderator; Dr. H. H. Johnson, Recording Secretary; Dr. A. W. Wilson, Corresponding Secretary; Rev. W. E. Robinson, Treasurer.3 The body appointed Rev. M. L. King, Jr., to serve as reporter for the Association and all of its Auxiliaries.
One of the most significant notes of the Association was its endorsement of Dr. D. C. Washington and Dr. A. W. Wilson for the President and Vice-President respectively of the Alabama State Baptist Convention.
The session ended with overwhelming success, and it was the sentiment of the entire body that the Hutchinson Street Baptist Church serving as host under the dynamic leadership of Dr. H. H. Johnson along with the cooperation from other churches of the city manifested a hospitality that can hardly be surpassed.
Rev. M. L. King, Jr., Rep.
1. H. H. Johnson was pastor of Hutchinson Street Baptist Church from 1934 to 1971. A. W. Wilson (1902–1989) was pastor of Holt Street Baptist Church from 1939 until his death. R. J. Glasco, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Alabama, and director of the Baptist Center in Montgomery, later served as chair of the Montgomery Improvement Association’s finance committee and secretary of its transportation committee during the bus boycott.
2. Dennis Comer Washington (1905–) was pastor of Seventeenth Street Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama, from 1938 until 1959, when he became executive director of the Sunday School Publication Board of the National Baptist Convention.
3. After moving from Atlanta to Montgomery in 1950, Abernathy served as dean of men at Alabama State College and pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church in Demopolis before taking over Montgomery’s First Baptist Church in 1952. A student activist during his undergraduate years at Alabama State, Abernathy shared Martin Luther King, Jr.’s social gospel outlook, and the two became close friends after King arrived in Montgomery in 1954. For biographical information on Abernathy, see note 142 in Introduction and Abernathy’s autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down (New York: Harper and Row, 1989). Marshall Cleophus Cleveland, Sr. (1882–1978), was the pastor of Day Street Baptist Church and chair of the board of trustees of Selma University.
The Baptist Leader, 4 November 1954.