Second Baptist Church at 717 Adams St., Steubenville, is celebrating its 122nd anniversary this weekend, an observance that begins today with youth involvement and continues Sunday with a guest speaker.
At 4 p.m. today, as many as 30 children in the church will be part of a Tom Thumb wedding, according to the Rev. Calvin McLoyd, Second Baptist's pastor for 22 years.
A Tom Thumb wedding is a wedding pageant in which small children play all the major wedding roles.
COMMITTEE — Involved in planning the anniversary celebration at Second Baptist Church, 717 Adams St., Steubenville, are seated, from left, Cynthia Smith, Pastor Calvin McLoyd, First Lady Vivian McLoyd and Patricia Herring; and standing, Keith Murray, Terri Dixon, Gail Johnson, Diane Benjamin, Ayonna Muhammad, Ernestine Lee, Cynthia Macon, Lora Clausell, Juanita Slappy and Constance Vinson.
"This is the youth contribution to the church anniversary this year," McLoyd said.
Sunday's celebration will feature guest speaker Steubenville native Elder Weyman B. Stephens Jr., founder/pastor of New Revelation Full Gospel Baptist Church in Erie, Pa., at the pulpit for the 11 a.m. service.
The son of Rose L. Stephens, a retired schoolteacher, and Pastor W. Benson Stephens Sr. of Sandusky, he graduated from Sandusky High School in 1988 and is working toward his bachelor of arts degree in elementary education.
A resident of Erie, Pa., since January 2002, he has worked with children and youth as an intervention and prevention specialist in the Elyria City Schools as well as an assistant teacher, counselor and coach.
Stephens has served as assistant pastor, choir director, Sunday school teacher and superintendent of Sunday Church School; chairman of the Junior Deacon Board; associate minister; head counselor of the Young David's; announcer for a radio ministry; and president of the Sandusky Subdistrict Sunday School and B.T.U. Institute for six years. He also served as pastor at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Erie, Pa., from January 2002 through March 2006, when he began New Revelation, a new ministry, which has since united with Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship.
The anniversary celebration makes Matthew 28:18 come to mind for McLoyd. "And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying all power is given unto me in heaven and in Earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and in the name of the son and of the holy ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
"It is to this end that in the year 1891 that a small mission would band together to give birth to the Second Missionary Baptist Church," McLoyd notes.
"From mission to ministry under the leading of the holy spirit, what began as a thought is now a full-time missionary body of the living Christ," he said.
The congregation of baptized believers has now come to be known as "a going church for a coming Lord."
"It was through much prayer and unity of minds and resources that Second Baptist Church can be seen as the city on the hill in Steubenville, the state of Ohio in the National Baptist Convention USA and International. Those who paved the way, those who stood in the gap, those who, despite the odds, were totally committed to move from mission to ministry," McLoyd said.
Second Baptist Church was incorporated in 1921 with an array of pastors, deacons and lay persons and choirs having contributed to the success of the local body of believers, according to McLoyd, who said outreach programs "have been a beacon in the community."
Its success is attributed to "the teaching and preaching ministries that draw the lost, equip the saved and encourage all who seek salvation and direction," he said.
Its various ministries include the praise team, Waves of Glory, the Sons of Second, the Voices of Second, the Angelic Sounds, the Young Girls Praise Ministry and associate ministers and Bible classes.