The First Missionary Baptist Church of East Thomas was born of a need to serve Christians and to provide a place for worship and social
functions in the East Thomas Community. For years the church was located on the corner of 4th Street and 11th Court. At this time, the church
was known as New Hope Baptist Church. Rev. John Allen Hayes was called as pastor. The congregation was not able to maintain this
edifice and soon found themselves with no place to worship due to foreclosure by the lien holders.
Through the efforts of Mary Coty, who was a member of the congregation and janitor at East Thomas school, the Birmingham Board of
Education permitted the displaced parishioners to use the East Thomas School for worship service. The body was established as First Baptist
Church of East Thomas. After several months, the members moved their worship service to a store front located on the corner of 6th Street and
12th Avenue. Prayer meetings, missionary society meetings, Bible Study and other meetings usually held at the church were held in the homes of
The women of the Congregation played a key role in raising funds to keep the church operating. They also organized various functions to raise
money for the construction of the Church building. When enough money was raised to purchase the lot where the church is presently located,
Rev. Hayes contracted to build the church. He hired a Black contractor, Eugene Powell, to build the First Baptist Church of East Thomas.
Eugene Thomas, Ben Briggs, Greek Vanhooks, Tucker Vanhooks, Richard Washington, John Wright, Pete Hamilton, Silas Hudson, and Louis
Thornton were among the first deacons of the church.
First Baptist Church continued to prosper under the wise counsel of Rev. Hayes. To continue to provide for the membership and ensure the
growth of the church, Reverend Hayes named the following deacons to continue the legacy of the church: W. L. Patterson, John Martin, Januo
Glover, C. C. Combs (who served as Superintendent of the Sunday School), McArthur Stuckey, Joe Noye, Lee G. Pugh, Gabe Lando, William
Blanton, Charles Maull, John Smith, Joe Rowe, Aaron Favors, Forrest Nelson and Daniel McGill.
A Board of Trustees was formed with John Johnson as the first trustee.
The church grew by leaps and bound following the development of the St. Marks Village Community.
REVEREND JOHNNY JAMES HOWZE, SR
Second Pastor (1971 - 2004)
REVEREND JOHN ALLEN HAYES
First Pastor (1938 -- 1971)
In 1971, a calm mild-mannered man, the Reverend Johnny James Howze, Sr, was called to pastor the First Missionary Baptist
Church of East Thomas.
Reverend Howze was licensed and ordained by the New Salem Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. He received hit B.Th. degree from the
Birmingham Baptist Bible College while pastoring First Baptist Church of East Thomas.
Prior to his coming, the church was in turmoil. Reverend Howze's first sermon, "Disturbed But Not Destroyed", was the message of hope and
encouragement which the congregation needed to continue on its Christian journey.
Under the pastorate of Reverend Howze, the church continued to grow. Deacons were added and the Trustee Board was expanded. Many
members were added to the church through baptism and Christian experience.
Deacons who served under Reverend Howze include: Joe Noye, W. Blanton, Gabe Lando, Wiley H. Andrews, Willie Woods, Sr., Charles
Maull, John W. Smith, Dave Vinson, Lorenzo Blutcher, Norman Bester, Sr., Richard Dorsey, Sr., Raymond Cochran, Sr., Nathaniel Thomas,
Alfred Woods, Sr., Yul Cochran, Sr., Norris Howze, Sr., and Willie Boykin.
Two ministers, Reverend Daniel Wright and Reverend Robert Stewart, were licensed.
In 1997, Reverend Howze was awarded the honarary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College for his
outstanding leadership and accomplishments in the ministry.
The accomplishments of Reverend Johmmy J. Jowze's Administration include: ordination of seven deacons; substantial increase in the
Church's budget; expansion of the Music Department to incldue the Sunbeam Choir, Male Chorus and Mass Choir; installation of new pews
and carpeting; intallation of a sound system; the purchase of pulpit furniture and church hymnals; renovation of the church building including
the Church Sanctuary, Felowship Hall, Pastors study, sitting room, and the addition or a new ladies restroom.
Additional purchases include robes for the Youth Choir, a bus, two vans, several properties, a piano and set of drums. Assistance was
provided to the homeless and meals for the hungry.
Upon his retirement in 2004, Reverend Johnny James Howze, Sr. was awarded the honarary title, Pastor-Emeritus for the First Missionary
Baptist Church of East Thomas.
REVEREND GEORGE LEWIS ROBINSON, JR.
Reverend George Lewis Robinson, Jr., was called to pastor the First Missionary Baptist Church of East Thomas in September,
Reverend Robinson was licensed and ordained by the Antioch Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama. He delivers the Word that "God is
Love." and emphasizes a "post benediction ministry to equip God's people to live Godly lives"..
Under the pastorate of Reverend Robinson, the church continues to grow.
The following deacons are currently serving under Reverend Robinson: Richard Dorsey, Sr., Raymond Cochran, Sr., John W. Smith, Alfred
Woods, Sr., Yul Cochran, Sr., Norris Howze, Sr., Willie Boykin, Derrick Combs, and Frank Grant, Sr.
One minister, Reverend Anthony Howze, has been licensed.
Reverend Robinson's accomplishments include the reorganization of the Deacon's Ministry, the Missionary Department, teh Youth
Department and the Music Department. The following departments and ministries were organized: The Seniors Department; the Young
Adult Department; the Young Adult Choir; the Puppet Ministry and Liturgical Dance Groups for Teens and Children. Reverend Robinson
instituted Friday afternoon "Lunch with Jesus" for Seniors and a Men's Conference, a Women's Conference, a Youth Conference and a Family
Other accomplishments include the installation of an upstairs restroom and the acquisition of additional properties.
With God's continued blessings, the First Missionary Baptist Church of East Thomas and its administration, under the leadership of Reverend
Georeg Lewis Robinson, Jr, consinues to press forward on its pilgrimage of faith.
|419 11th Court West | Birmingham, AL 35204 | 205.252.2633
First Missionary Baptist Church of East Thomas