Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
This is perhaps Houston's most historic church. The congregation was founded by two white Baptist ministers and nine former slaves in 1865 upon hearing that they had been emancipated. It was Houston's first black church. The original sanctuary was built a year later, but not on this site. The current building dates from 1875, but was much smaller than the structure you see today. Just 16 years later, it had to be enlarged. By 1936, it was once again in need of expansion, and as part of that project it gained height, ornamentation, and the trademark "Jesus Saves" sign. But the original marble cornerstone remains, cemented neatly in place below the sandstone one that followed it. Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is often thought to be the oldest church in Houston. It is not.
>July, 1994 - The church becomes a Texas Historic Landmark.
>May, 1991 - Britain's Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II visit the church.
>1986 - Highly-publicized internal strife rocks the church. The Reverend Michael Patrick Williams is removed from his post when parishioners fear he is planning to move the congregation to a new location. Real estate companies have tried for decades to get their hands on the church's property. The land is worth millions.
Houston Chronicle, 18 July, 1994
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