Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church celebrates 151st Anniversary with guest speaker
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, email@example.com
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Darlington celebrates its 151st anniversary on Sunday, February 12, with guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Luns L. Richardson, President of Morris College in Sumter.
“A big reason I wanted to have Dr. Richardson come and speak is that the founding pastor of our church (I.P. Brockenton) was instrumental in the founding of the South Carolina Baptist and Missionary Convention, which owns Morris College…I just wanted to connect his presidency with the history of this church,” says Macedonia’s pastor, Dr. Cecil Bromell. “And this is Dr. Richardson’s last year after 43 years of service as president. He will be retiring in June of this year.”
Bromell added that a gospel choir from Morris College was also scheduled to perform at this special anniversary service.
Macedonia Baptist Church was first organized on February 11, 1866 under the leadership of Dr. I. P. Brockenton, a former slave born in Lee County. Brockenton worked with a northern Baptist missionary named Dr. Corey to pull together the church’s thirteen charter members from the First Baptist Church of Darlington; Evans Bell, Adam Brockenton, Peter Dargan, Fred Duncan, Lazarius Ervin, Hamilton Keith, Samuel Keith, Antrum Mclver, Samuel Mclver, Samuel Orr, Samuel Parnell, Jesse Williams, and Augustus Smalls.
Initially, the congregants met in local homes and outdoors in brush arbors until they secured their first permanent church building at the corner of Hampton and Russell Streets. Brockenton helmed the Macedonia pulpit for 42 years until his death in 1908.
Under his guidance, Macedonia became a beacon for many local black citizens, and the official church dedication ceremony (held, according to the Darlington News, on July 21 of 1881) drew crowds of 5,000 to 6,000 people who came to Darlington to visit the church. News clippings from the late 1800s to the early 1900s relate the active role Macedonia played in the community by hosting well-attended meetings on the state of education, women’s roles in the church, art exhibitions, and the health of the African American community.
Dr. Bromell says he believes Macedonia’s endurance and vitality spring from the church’s commitment to young people and a spirit of involvement which inspires many congregants to take active roles in church leadership.
“The church has always had members who will be involved in ministry, be a part of the community. And the church has always had a concern for the youth. That has a lot to do with its long term stability down through the years,” says Bromell.
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is located at 400 S. Main St., Darlington. Phone 843-393-6361 for more information.