Morning Star Baptist Church
Morning Star Baptist Church was organized in August 1917 as a Mission. Under the leadership of the late Rev. J. R. Davis, a small group of people formed a mission and rented a storefront on the corner of West 28th and Detroit Avenue. There were twelve persons present for the first service. The late Rev. J. R. Davis presided. All twelve persons joined the mission including the late Mr. John Thornton, Mrs. Hattie Foster, and Mr. Sam Davis. In 1919, the mission became organized as a church located at 2402 Superior Avenue. Mrs. Nancy Holt named the church, Morning Star, because she wanted the church to be a “bright star” for all people to see and attend.
Ministers, Rev. C. C. Ailer and Rev. Freeman were a great help in organizing the church. Nine ministers were called during this period with each serving only a short time. Rev. Davis served as pastor for one year before ill health forced his retirement. He was succeeded by Rev. Butler in 1920. From 1923 to 1928, six Ministers served until the Rev. C. C. Stewart was called.
A church house was purchased on Mulberry Street in 1924, and later the government purchased the property for a housing project. A place of worship was rented on Detroit Avenue in June of 1925. On the fourth Sunday in July, 1935, this site was demolished by a bomb; everything was lost but a Bible and a Baptist Hymnal which were left intact. Following this event, services were held with the Good Saints on Main Avenue. During this time, Rev. Stewart was pastor. Following his departure, the pulpit was vacant for a period of six months. However, a faithful few tried to carry on.
On July 5, 1936, Rev. S. L. Cole was called as Pastor and became the 10th pastor of Morning Star. He began holding services in a storefront at 2226 Franklin Avenue. Rev. Cole promised that he would lead them to a church home. In 1939, a house was purchased at 2674 East 63rd at Beaver Street and remodeled as a church.
In the latter part of 1949, as the congregation began to grow, it was agreed that another church site be purchased. The membership acquired the property at 650 Parkwood Drive and marched there on the first Sunday in August, 1950. The mortgage was burned on Parkwood Drive on November 27, 1960. On July 11, 1976, after 40 years of dedicated service, Solomon L. Cole retired.
On January 22, 1977, Rev. Earl Preston, Jr., was called to pastor and began his pastoral duties on Sunday February 6, 1977 using the personal theme of “Making Our Neighborhood a Brotherhood”. In 1987 we began an outreach program to assist young men in the middle schools. This program mentored 7th, 8th and 9th graders in good sportsmanship and assisted them in developing skills in their preparation for manhood. Rev. Preston developed outreach ministries to meet the needs of people.
On December 28, 1997, under the leadership of Pastor Preston, the members of Morning Star left their church home on Parkwood in search of a new place of worship. After the sale of the Parkwood properties, the congregation was temporarily housed at Glenville High School. During the three years at Glenville High School our ministries grew as well as our families.
On December 17, 2000 Pastor Preston and the congregation moved into the edifice at 10250 Shaker Blvd., where his commitments and visions never wavered. He initiated the Hot Meals Program; the Rubye Walker Hunger Center, the R.E.A.D. Literacy Program for adults; the acquisition of the WSEM Program for middle school children; The Toy Give-A-Way, established in conjunction with the Cleveland Police Department’s Cops, Kids and Christmas; and a summer Children Lunch Program.
After 35 years of dedicated service to the Lord, the Church, and many people across this great nation of ours, Dr. Earl Preston, Jr. retired from the pastorate on December 31, 2012.
A meeting was held on January 5, 2013 and Rev. Clarence W. Hall, Jr was nominated and voted in as Interim Pastor. For more than 3 years Rev. Hall led the church during a difficult time of transition. Finally, at a special meeting called on February 21, 2016 a vote was taken and Rev. Clarence W. Hall, Jr. was called to be the 12th pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church and was installed as Pastor on May 15, 2016.
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