Glad Tidings Missionary Baptist Church has served Medina for nearly a century
Illuminating Orleans, Volume 1, No. 7
By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian
MEDINA – In 1925, Sister Mary Johnson, a member of the Baptist Church of Rochester, felt called to assist the Black people of Medina who had been searching for a spiritual haven. With the assistance of Elder Caldwell and Rev. Henry Young of East Rochester, Sunday services were held at 811 Genesee Street, Medina, the home of Sister Johnson. At first, attendance ranged from five to 12 people.
They were given the use of a 12- by 18-foot building at 404 West Oak Orchard Street, which had been purchased for $20. The first service was held in this building on December 15, 1926. There were nine members: Sister Mary Johnson, Brother Thomas and Sister Martha Chambers, Brother John Royal, Brother Arthur and Sister Lydia Johnson, Sister Grace Schyler and Sister Alice Jones. The first offering was 10 cents a week, with special offerings on Sundays and holidays. Church history records that the location was “tried by fire and water”, once flooded and once almost destroyed by fire.
In 1929, the community purchased the lot at 404 West Oak Orchard Street from Charles Gilbert for $500. The cornerstone for the new wood frame building was laid in the winter of 1930 and it was erected by Brother Robert Johnson and Deaconess Sister Mary Johnson with the help of others who donated their time and labor.
The name “Glad Tidings Missionary Baptist Church” was formally adopted in May 1937. Membership increased from 65 members in 1952 to 125 in 1956. A basement was completed in 1954 and an addition to accommodate the growing congregation was completed in 1957. A flood in 1968 destroyed church records and the basement kitchen. The church was also incorporated in this year.
By 1973, the condition of the 1930s building had deteriorated and a decision was made to replace it with a new Barden pre-structured building at an estimated cost of $50,000.
This ambitious project was completed under the leadership of Pastor Oscar Amos, and the new church, with the distinctive cross in front, was dedicated May 23, 1973.
The Mission has been served by many dedicated pastors including Rev. Willis Eavens who served from 1932 to 1954.
Dr. Rev. Lambert Duncan is the current and longest serving Pastor of the church, having served for 35 years. He has been New York Chaplain for six years. Originally from New York City, he lives in Rochester and is retired from Kodak. He holds three Doctorates from the Carolina University of Theology. His wife, Sister Elaine, holds a Doctorate in Christian Counseling and is also active in the church. Pastor Duncan’s focus is on outreach to the entire community.
Elder Neil Samborski and his wife, Kathy, have been associated with Glad Tidings for ten years. This Lyndonville couple are actively involved with the food ministry, distributing food from the Open Door Ministry in Rochester. Elder Samborski is also actively involved with the Medina Area Association of Churches.
In keeping with the church’s missionary goal, the Samborskis have undertaken several missionary trips to Malawi in South Africa, through the African Mission for Christ Worldwide. Elder Samborski is also a bishop of the newly founded church at Ntaja, Malawi.
Current officers of the church are: Elders: Elder Nathan Little and Elder Neil Samborski, Mothers of the Church: Sister Mattie Jackson and Sister Glennis Chinn, Deacons of Ministry: Deacon Gregg Boose and Deacon Jack Byrd. The Deaconesses of Ministry are: Mother Mattie Jackson, Sister Kathy Samborski and Sister Easter Boose. Sister Elaine Boose is President of Usher Ministry.
The church takes as its motto the words of Matthew 28: 19-20, urging members to spread the Christian message. Glad Tidings Missionary Baptist Church has been the “Mother Church” for the establishment of several other churches locally. The legacy of Sister Mary Johnson and the original founding members flourishes.
The Glad Tidings congregation has gathered in prayer at this 404 West Oak Orchard St., Medina, location for 95 years.