Second Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1866, by recently emancipated slaves and free people of color who banded together to form their own church. Several of them had been members of First Baptist Church of Columbia, founded in 1839; however, their desire was to establish a place where they could worship God in their own way.
So proud were they of their African heritage that the church was originally called the African Union Church; however, the Baptists in the group eventually settled on Second Baptist. The Founding Members were Henry Payne, Albert Delno, Thomas Jackson, Jack Smith, Henry Oldham, Jane Meyers, Polly Hickam, Mary Dorum and Vina Johnson. For the first five or six years, meetings were held in Cummins Academy located on the corner of Third and Ash Streets, near Flat Branch.
In March 1873, they organized and built a small one-room frame building on Fifth Street between Locust and Cherry which cost $2,500.00 and was dedicated in 1879.
The congregation met in the same location for the next twenty years where they experienced continual spiritual and financial growth. Finally, in 1884, under the leadership of Rev. Amos Johnson, plans were launched to build a new sanctuary. John Lange, one of Columbia’s most prominent Black citizens, and business manager for the renowned Columbia musician, John William “Blind” Boone, donated a parcel of land at Fourth and Broadway. When funding for the new building lagged, Boone provided a $3,000.00 loan. An additional loan of $4,000.00 came from Judge John Steward who owned and operated a livery stable on the northwest corner of Fourth and Broadway.
Exceptional stewardship and sacrificial giving supported the completion of a solidly built brick and masonry structure featuring Romanesque and Gothic styles, with elliptical arched doors and extraordinary stained glass windows. The sanctuary was completed and the Masonic Lodge laid the cornerstone, in 1894. Based on documents from the State Historical Society of Missouri, the new building cost more than $12,000.00. Nevertheless, by 1910, the mortgage was retired and the church was solidified as an enduring testament to the perseverance of its founders.
In 1923 plans were made to build an annex to the main sanctuary. Under the direction of Sis. Brooksey Smith and Sis Susie Wade, the Deaconess Board encouraged by Bro. J.H. Renfro, launched a fund raising program by asking each member to buy a concrete block. During the next three years more than $7,000 was raised in support of this vision. However, plans for the construction of the annex were terminated when a choir room and two restrooms were erected on the northeast corner of the sanctuary. Plans to construct an annex resumed in 1953 and on July 2, 1961, during a groundbreaking ceremony, this vision became a reality. Since 1961, there have been numerous renovations to both the annex and the sanctuary which include the following: new pews, carpeting, heating and air-conditioning systems, pulpit furniture, new lighting, new baptistery, additional restrooms, as well as the expansion of the administrative office areas.
In October 2004, it became imperative that we address the physical space requirements of a growing and vibrant congregation. Under the leadership of the current pastor, Rev. Clyde Ruffin, a capital campaign was launched in support of a vision to expand the annex and renovate adjacent areas in order to bring the complete facility in compliance with ADA requirements and to establish The SMBC Center For Christian Education which would provide dedicated classrooms, handicap accessible restrooms, new office space and an expanded fellowship hall.
With an estimated cost of $600,000.00 financed by Boone County National Bank, K. Bruce Goebel Architects, and Huebert Builders Inc. were selected to move the project forward. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held July 31, 2005, in conjunction with our 139th Church Anniversary. These ceremonies included our Pastor, Rev. Clyde L. Ruffin, Rev. T. Vaughn Walker, Pastor, New Gethsemane Baptist Church, Louisville, KY, Mount Carmel District Moderator Rev. Caroles Taylor, Pastor, Friendship Baptist Church-Columbia, and Dr. Elson Floyd, President, University of Missouri System.
We believe that the completion of The SMBC Center for Christian Education has enabled us to fulfill our mission by serving not only as a house of worship but also as a gathering place for the community and a center for education and training. Although we have an extraordinary history that is interwoven with the history of Mid-Missouri, it is the dedication of this congregation to the gospel of salvation, social activism and benevolent service that has established Second Missionary Baptist Church as a shining example of God’s provision and power since 1866.