By Sister Evelyn Brown
MIAMI, FL Whether feeding the hungry, worshipping on Sunday mornings, or providing affordable housing, St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church has been a beacon of faith and service within the Miami community for 100 years. Founded in Overtown by Bahamian Pastors and settlers, St. Matthews invites the South Florida community to join the church in celebrating a century of worship, service, and community. The church will commemorate its centennial anniversary with a community worship service, a historical tribute, and a celebration banquet scheduled for Sunday, September 12, 2021. The worship service will begin at 10 a.m. at the church located at 6100 N.W. 24 Avenue in Miami. Themed Beyond the Centennial, the celebration banquet will commence at 3 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel Miami Airport (3974 NW South River Drive in Miami).
“Words cannot express how proud we are of the great heritage and legacy left behind by our Founders and first ministry supporters who built a solid foundation for our generation to stand on.” said Rev. Vincent Brown, Pastor/Teacher of St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church. “From 1921 to 2021, we are keeping the faith and setting our eyes toward higher heights of achievement and excellence while never forgetting from which we have come. Our vision is clear, and we have an exciting future ahead of us.”
Established on September 11, 1921, the Reverend Nathaniel Francis Clark welcomed its first parishioners into a modest storefront on Overtown’s eleventh terrace and second avenue. The church eventually transformed a wooden structure on N.W. 17th Street into its new ministerial home. The edifice served the Overtown community for more than 45 years. Under Rev. Clark’s leadership, the church marched into its current sanctuary in Miami’s Liberty City community in June 1969. Pastor Clark retired later that year. After a nearly two-year interim pastorate, the church installed Rev. Dr. Philip Clarke as its second Pastor on October 8, 1972. Clarke led the flock for four decades served until his passing in 2011. In April 2012, Rev. Vincent Brown was elected as the church’s third Pastor. Rev. Brown provides the vision and leadership needed to positively impact the community for future generations to come.
The celebration marks a century of faith, family, and service. Since its founding, St. Matthews has extended its service and ministry beyond the four walls of the church. The church family serves its community through spiritual enrichment, affordable housing, and dozens of active ministries to equip the saints for ministry and support the greater community.