- Faith & Family
With much praise, worship and special services, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church (MBC) of Miami, the oldest Black church in Miami-Dade County, is celebrating its 116th church anniversary throughout the month of October.
“People keep coming back for the love and respect we have for every person and every individual no matter what,” said the pastor, Rev. Rudolph Daniels.
Congregants of Macedonia MBC agree. Dorothy P. Lee, 73, has been a member of the church for over 60 years. She held several positions, from being a member of the Hospitality Committee, to president of the choir and on the board of directors. Lee says she continues to attend every Sunday because “of the closeness to other members, their friendliness and the inspiring worship services.”
Macedonia MBC was founded in 1895 when Black congregants of the open-to-all-races Union Chapel Congregational Church decided to offer worship services that catered specifically to their culture and traditional worship styles. According to church history, those 56 members founded a church, fittingly named the Fifty-sixth Baptist Church and enlisted Rev. S.A. Sampson as their first pastor. The church was renamed St. Agnes and then changed to Macedonia in 1922. As the congregation grew, the sanctuary underwent several renovations, eventually being relocated to its current site on Douglas Avenue in June 1948.
Since becoming the senior pastor in 1983, Daniels, 81, has continued with additional renovations and added several tangible assets including an ornate fence and some much-needed passenger vans. But he says he also works towards preserving church traditions, like the singing of traditional hymns.
“I sit among the seniors — you have to know the history of what we went through and what we’re [still] going through,” said Daniels, who grew up in Coconut Grove. “That’s what really brought us through 116 years.”
Despite their rich history, the church has also embraced change and innovation. They now have a street ministry, a prison ministry and a feeding ministry that serves breakfast to anyone every Sunday morning. And recently they added a dance and mime ministry that have become quite popular among the members.
According to Daniels’ wife, Sister Inez, 79, “Sometimes we have more young people than we do senior citizens.”
By Kaila Heard