“And I say unto thee…and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
St. Matthew 16:17
The year was 1946. A group of Missionary workers organized a mission with Reverend B.J. Murray as their spiritual leader. Brother Sampson Dorsey was the devotional leader, and Sister Mary F. Myler was the teacher. As time went on this group was lead to organize a church, and on November 25, 1946, the OAKLAND BAPTIST CHURCH was founded at Beaubien and Bethune Avenues. Reverend B. J. Murray served as Pastor. This new Church used the facilities of the all Denominational Church, holding worship in the afternoon, while the all Denominational Church held its worship in the morning.
Because of ill health, Reverend Murray gave up some of his Pastoral duties, and in December of 1946 a young preacher named Reverend William Wilson was asked by the Pastor to assist him in carrying out the functions of the Church. At the direction of Reverend Murray, Reverend Wilson spoke to Mr. E. M. Mason about using the facilities of the Mason Funeral Home for worship. Soon the Church began to worship in the Mason Funeral Home, 8652 Oakland Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.
In early 1947, because of his continuing failing health, Reverend B. J. Murray resigned as Pastor of the OAKLAND BAPTIST CHURCH, and recommended to the congregation that they ask Reverend William Wilson to serve as Pastor. In March of 1947, Reverend Wilson preached his first sermon to this group, and on the second Sunday in May of the same year, Reverend William Wilson was called by God and confirmed by the congregation which consisted of seven members to be Pastor of the OAKLAND AVENUE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH. Those seven members were: Brother Ben Thomas, his wife Sister Florice Thomas; Brother James Brown, his wife Sister Idima Brown; Sister Bertha Usher; Sister Pearl Gaston and Mother Thomas.
At the time that Pastor Wilson was called, Brother Ben Thomas and Brother James Brown were on trial for the Deacon Board and were later ordained by Pastor Wilson. At the time that Reverend Wilson became Pastor, there were others who were assisting the members in the Church who later joined under Pastor Wilson’s leadership. The first of these were Sister Mary F. Myler and Mother Emily Thomas, who became the first PRESIDENT OF THE MOTHERS’ BOARD. Others were Brother and Sister Sampson Dorsey, Brother D. Carver, Sister Annie Carver and Sister Ola Banks. Brother James Brown and Brother Sampson Dorsey were the first Deacons to be ordained by Pastor Wilson. Deacon Sampson Dorsey was the first CHAIRMAN OF THE DEACON BOARD. Deacon Booker Williams served as the Church’s first CHURCH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT. Sister Florice Thomas was the first CHURCH CLERK and Brother Avester Meeks was the first CHAIRMAN OF THE TRUSTEE BOARD. Reverend Anthony Williams was the first ASSOCIATE MINISTER.
The Church grew spiritually and numerically. It grew to the point where it was able to pay Pastor Wilson a salary or $15.00 per week. Prior to that time the Church was unable to pay him anything, yet he served and contributed each week. As the Church grew, many others joined its ranks and put their shoulders to the wheel of service.