The Antioch Baptist Church was a non-incorporated organization that was known to consist of Deacon George Williams, Deacon Clarence Johnson, Sister Lillian Johnson, Reverend Bennie Baker, Sister Mary Hall, Sister Mamie Travis, Sister Eva Bryant, Sister Rosa Franklin and Sister Hollen Jackson. These members sought leadership at a time when the Black contribution to the "City of Churches" began to be felt through the proliferation and growth of Black churches in Brooklyn. It was then that Rev. Moses Prophet Paylor, D. D., (1877-1958), a native of Mebane, North Carolina, was called. This zealous minister is credited with founding and organizing the Antioch Baptist Church in 1918. With this small congregation and a small investment, Rev. Paylor rented the church at Fleet Street for a short period of time. As membership and finances grew, Antioch's first real estate, the parsonage and church building, was purchased from the Concord Baptist Church congregation at 163 and 165 Duffield Street (now MetroTech) in Downtown Brooklyn.
Rev. Paylor, a native of Mebane, North Carolina, had arrived in New York State circa 1910, attended school in White Plains, and became a student at Columbia University. He was an active member of the Empire State Missionary Convention, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity, and National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and a charter member of the Eastern Baptist Association of Brooklyn and Long Island, which held its first meeting at the Antioch Baptist Church in 1922. Educated at Columbia University, Clayton Williams University of Baltimore, Maryland, awarded Rev. Paylor, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity (1922) in recognition of his many achievements.
From 1918 to 1931, Antioch's finances increased and its membership surged to 6,000. By November 27, 1944, Antioch paid its last indebtedness in full and the mortgage was burned in a two-week ceremony. It wasn't long before Antioch needed a new home. In 1950, the congregation took a walk and didn't stop until they reached 828 Greene Avenue between Lewis and Stuyvesant Avenues. The Greene Avenue Baptist Church (with a rich history of its own) was purchased and became the new Antioch Baptist Church. Rev. Paylor served faithfully for 40 years and was called home from the pulpit Sunday, March 2, 1958 as he rose from his seat to deliver the word. Hew as 81 years old. He left having enriched the lives of many and having led Antioch to become one of Brooklyn's prominent African-American congregations.
An up and coming young minister, Rev. George Lawrence (1928-1983) was called as Antioch's second pastor. He served from 1959 until his death in 1983. Rev. Lawrence was a close associate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and held many prominent positions. During his tenure, leaders and notables of the time poured through Antioch's doors. People such as civil rights leaders Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Congressman "Keep the faith, baby" Adam Clayton Powell, Julian Bond, Congressman Shirley Chisholm (first African-American and woman nominated for US President), politicians such as New York's Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller (whose family originated the Greene Avenue Baptist Church), NY Mayor John V. Lindsay and African-American celebrities in many fields such as "Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Jackie Robinson and Langston Huges.
Antioch's third minister arrived from Lynchburg, Virginia in the form of Rev. Philip E. Elliott. Rev. Elliot assumed the pulpit in May of 1986 with the exuberance of youth, a love and gift of preaching and teaching, and a warm spirituality. During his leadership, Antioch Place (a housing partnership) sprung up behind the church. Antioch Community Services was formed, and Antioch's ties to the Easter Baptist Association were strengthened. It was also during this time that Antioch Baptist Church and Neighborhood House was recognized with Landmark Preservation status on November 20, 1990.
Antioch's fourth pastor, Rev. D. Darrell Griffin, came to us having served as the Assistant Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY under Dr. Calvin O Butts, III. Rev. Griffin's installation at Antioch took place on May 4, 1977, although he had assumed the pulpit on the first Sunday in January of 1997. Under his readily accepted motto, "Let us rise up and build" (Nehemiah 2:20). Rev. Griffin began to do just that. There were roof repairs and a new boiler was installed. Architects had been called in to determine what it would take to restore a building of Antioch's age and status. Soon thereafter, a Capital Campaign Fund was established with members stepping forward to finance Antioch's future. Rev. Griffin returned to the mid-west in 1999 to lead the congregation of Oakdale Covenant Church in Chicago Illinois.
Under God's direction, Antioch soon found a new leader, Rev. Robert M. Waterman, to fill Antioch's pulpit.
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