The history of Burnside Community Baptist Church as told through the eyes of the late Mother Ernestine Porter, the former 1st lady of Burnside.
The vision of Burnside Community Baptist Church was conceived in the mind of Mother Cordella Wesley when God brought the message of a new church, what HE wanted it to do and who it’s leader would be. At the urging of Mother Cordella Wesley, Mother Bernice Wills and Mother Sarah Cammack, senior women of St. Stevens Baptist Church at that time, a meeting was scheduled in early June 1969 at Tuley Park Fieldhouse. Sixteen (16) people attended this meeting. After some discussion, another church was established. Those persons attending were: Rev. F.L. Porter, Jr., Ernestine Porter, Frances Porter, Freeman Pollard, Rosie Pollard, Marian Monroe, Walter Monroe, Sarah Cammack, Annie Merel Lawrence, Bernice Thomas, Eddie Mae Susberry, Mattie Blair, Cordella Wesley, Bernice Wills, Katie Johnson and Roy Johnson. The first worship service was on June 8, 1969. The following Wednesday, June 11th, the church was organized, and its name selected: The Burnside Community Baptist Church, which was suggested by Deacon Freeman Pollard. This name was selected because of our commitment to this community and because all of our previous church affiliations had been Baptist.
The Reverend Florezel Louis Porter, Jr. was elected as pastor during the June 11th meeting. We supported our pastor as President of The Chesterfield Community Council, President of Burnside Scholastic Academy (formerly Burnside Elementary School), Local School Advisory Council, Leader of Fathers Acting In Their Neighborhood (a men’s group which deterred gang activity), General Manager of five boys baseball teams and Sinners Anonymous (a Spiritual drug intervention program).
All of these activities were efforts to support the life of our community. Several members of this congregation are still active in these areas. For several weeks our church services were conducted in the basement of one of our founding members: Mother Eddie Mae Susberry home in the Burnside community, until the need for a larger quarter lead to the need to seek out other places to carry out the ministry of this church. After pursuing several avenues unsuccessfully, Pastor Porter, along with a few of the Mothers of the church, found a suitable location in the Burnside community, a storefront location until a permanent church location could be found.
In July of 1969 with a focus and energies of the members, we developed the church motto: “Where The People Have a Mind to Work.” The worshipped, conducted church business, socialized, performed marriages, buried the dead, conducted Revivals, provided for community meetings, among many other things. In September 1972, the building now known as Burnside Community Baptist Church was purchased. BCBC finally had a stable, permanent home.
On September 17, 2003, God said “Well done my good and faithful servant, come and take your rest” to the founding pastor, Reverend Florezel L. Porter, Jr. Six months after his death, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the search for a new leader began. In August 2005, “our ram in the bush,” the Reverend Albert Moses Shears was elected as Interim Pastor and on March 11, 2006, we elected him as Senior Pastor. Under his leadership, the church has undergone the church and its ministries continue to flourish. Reverend Shears has continued weekly and special services, spiritual guidance to those in need of it, Spring and Fall Revivals, Bible studies and Especially For You (EFY), providing food, clothing, shelter and help for the sick and those in need. Reverend Shears also added ministries such as Prayer in the Park.