Humbled Beginnings

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might,
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lift Every Voice -James Weldon Johnson

In 1873, the organization of a state convention in Florida began with a resolution by the Rev. James Page of the Bethlehem Association, In Tallahassee, FL. This began the Florida General Baptist Convention. In 1873, several new associations were formed. Which brings us to the inception of our beloved association. In 1874, The Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Association was borne out of a blacksmith shop in Archer, Florida, when Rev. Frank Danzy paid a visit to the Blacksmith, Bro. William McKinney to share his vision about area churches ‘coming together” once a year, to participate in worship services. The first meeting was held at Old Shiloh Baptist Church in Archer, FL. The Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Association has had many leaders to follow Rev. Danzy and under their leadership the district has grown to include 39 area churches, with Gainesville as its core. Our Association’s history does not reflect any Moderators to serve from 1807-1904 but Rev. Frank Danzy. Jerusalem has a rich history of Moderators which are as follows:

  • 1904 Rev H.M. Flemings(Served 11 times as Moderator),
  • 1932- Rev. R.M. Lattimore(Served 14 different times),
  • 1974-1983 Rev. L.A. Tillman

In 1974 the Jerusalem Association began making plans to celebrate it’s first Founders Day which was a Centennial Celebration/Program. In 1976, under the leadership of Rev. Tillman, plans were formalized to purchase the Jerusalem District Center, in Fairbanks, Fl. To our knowledge , The Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Association is one of two in the state to own its own building. In 1983 Rev. Eugene Gainey was elected as Moderator of the association. At this session, it was recommended that the Center be renamed to the L.A. Tillman Center. After Rev. Gainey’s term of office we’ve had the following Moderators: The Late Rev. C.J. Johnson, Rev. James Ramsey,and the Late Rev. L.C.Hunt. Currently, our Association is being led by Moderator Samuel R. Seales Jr, pastor of Johnson Chapel MBC. From the Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Association, the following departments/auxiliaries were organized: In 1882, The Congress of Christian Education, The Women’s Convention, Federation of Unions, and Helping Aide Convention. Also, In 1882 the District Sunday School Convention was organized. The Baptist Training Union was organized years later. In 1956, the two organizations merged to form the Sunday School and B.T.U Convention which is now formally called the Congress of Christian Education.We are Thankful to our current Moderator Samuel R. Seales Jr. for his leadership and vision for our Association. 146 years later this Association is still true to its mission which is “Strengthening our Baptist Churches through Mission, Education, and Ministry with emphasis on the word of God.”