King Jr. Memorial Baptist Church
In May of 1977, the vision of
beginning a new church in the Renton area blossomed in the mind
of Sis. Margie Williams, a Renton resident weary of traveling to
Seattle for church. She decided the local community needed an
African-American church. Sis. Williams contacted Rev. J. W.
Henderson of Seattle through her mother and asked him to meet
with her regarding her vision. That meeting took place on July
4, 1977 in Sis. Williams’ home. Rev. Henderson accepted the
challenge to pastor this church. They named it “Solid
Rock Baptist Church.”
After the first two church services were conducted on the patio
of Sis. Williams’ home, it was agreed that a building needed
to be secured for future services. The Renton Community Center,
located at 324 Smithers Street was secured. This building, later
named “The Odd Fellows’ Lodge” became the first worship
site for the Solid Rock
Realizing there was an African
American population in the Skyway area, Rev. Henderson and Sis.
Williams walked door to door inviting all who would listen to
come and worship at the new church. She promised to pick-up all
who wanted to attend but had no transportation. On July 24,
1977, Solid Rock Baptist
Church held its first service in the newly acquired
During the months of October and
November, our congregation continued to grow. It was also at
this period we lost the services of our first minister, Rev. J.
W. Henderson. Sis. Margie Williams, determined not to let her
vision die, contacted Mr. John Cannon, Executive Director of the
Ecumenical Metropolitan Ministries. After numerous contacts,
Sister Williams was referred to Rev L. C. Jones, Area Minister
for American Baptist Association, North Puget Sound Area. Rev.
Jones met with church members to discuss the development of the
church, and at that time it was requested a minister be found.
This request was taken to the core staff of the American Baptist
In December 1977, the first
services under the leadership of Rev. L. C. Jones, Area
Minister, were held. Assisting him was the Rev. Tom Fukuyama of
Tacoma. Rev. Fukuyama’s leadership abilities were of great
value. He was especially instrumental in setting up
inspirational prayer meetings, public relations contacts and
community input. It was during this period that the congregation
felt a new awakening and a new sense of direction.
On January 29, 1978, our
congregation overwhelmingly voted to change the name of the
church from Solid Rock
Baptist Church to Martin
Luther King, Jr. Memorial Baptist Church.
In less than a year, Rev. Jones
had begun to leave his “footprints on the sands of time“.
Under his leadership on February 26, 1978, MLK
Baptist Church was formally dedicated as an American Baptist
Mission by the North Puget Sound Area American Baptist Churches
of the Northwest. Peoples Institutional Baptist Church of
Seattle was the sponsoring congregation. In March, our first
baptismal service was conducted at Peoples Institutional Baptist
1978, Rev. Glenn Miles began the following ministries: Youth,
Music and Christian Education. To bring a joyous year to an end,
our first Christmas program was sponsored by the youth choir.
significant accomplishments were achieved through the years
under the leadership of Rev. L. C. Jones:
1985, 4.9 acres of land suitable for building was purchased for
$75,000.00 with financing arranged by the American Baptist
Extension Corporation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. A Ground
Breaking ceremony was held on September 18, 1988 and the
construction of the building we now occupy was begun on May 9,
first cornerstone was laid on Sunday, February 25, 1990, and on
September 23. 1990, we held our first service in the new
tabernacle located at 13611–S. E. 116th St. On September 22,
1991, a second cornerstone was laid. During this same period we
celebrated our first Black History Program and to honor the
memory of our first deacon, Walter Smith, a scholarship fund was
organized and implemented in his name.
1991, during the Lenten Season, a fellowship began with The
Panther Lake Community Church in Kent, Washington.
We have combined services each Ash Wednesday and Easter
Sunrise Services. The services alternate each year between the two churches.
A breakfast is served following the Sunrise Service.
September 1994, four women were ordained deacons of the church.
They were, Adrienne Lawrence, Roslyn Lowe, Bobbi Sims and
Alene Stephens. Rev.
Samuel B. McKinney performed the ordination services.
1995, the ethnic school was reorganized and named Jones Ethnic
Academy. In 1995, The Jones Ethnic Academy Drill Team was
organized. In 1997, a significant event occurred when women were
elected to head two major departments of the church: Trustee
Board and Diaconate Board.
September 25, 1999, Rev. and Mrs. Leon C. Jones said their final
good-byes as they retired from Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Baptist Church as Pastor and First Lady.
Leon C. Jones is now Pastor Emeritus of Martin Luther King Jr.
Memorial Baptist Church.
May 2000, Rev. Dr. Oscar C. Jones came to us as our Interim
Pastor and served until August 2001.
Under his leadership, several new ministries were
established during this time, including the Tape Ministry;
Margie Williams Helping Hands Center (a food and clothing bank),
G.L.A.D. (God’s Growing Leaders and Disciples), a young adult
ministry; and the Greeter’s ministry.
January 20, 2002, Rev. Herbert J. Carey preached his first
sermon as our new Pastor, and we are excited that God chose to
send us Rev. Carey and his wife Diane to continue with the
building of His Kingdom.
has truly blessed us over the years. Today our membership is
over 600 strong and over 200 have been baptized in the name of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Additionally, we own property
valued in the excess of one million dollars. Surely the Lord has
been good and has kept His promises. As we look forward to the
future, we will continue to trust in Him who is able to keep us
from falling and to present us faultless before the presence of
His glory with exceeding joy. To Him we give the Honor, the
Majesty, the Power and the Glory forever.