After the death of our great leader and Pastor, the Rev. John Allen Hayes, a disturbance arose in the First Baptist Church, East Thomas over the selection of the new Pastor, the Rev. John J. Barfield. The matter got so out of hand until the Pulpit Committee who had been selected by the Church family, along with several others, were taken to court. The judge ruled in the opposing members favor. After the judge's decision, the First Baptist Church, East Thomas was split. The majority stayed and the others left. Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Rev. Barfield, along with a few followers founded The First Memorial Missionary Baptist Church on October 28, 1970 in the home of Bro. & Sis. Leroy Ward, Sr. at 1311 - 28th Street North in Norwood. The church was named in honor and as a memorial to Pastor Hayes.
Our first service was held at the 4th Avenue YMCA. It was a wonderful service and one member was added to the fold--Sis. Annie Payne (now deceased). The church progressed successfully under the pastorate of Rev. Barfield.
We later moved from the YMCA to the AG Gaston Boys Club in downtown Birmingham. The Holy Ghost would move in a mighty way seemingly every Sunday and new members were added almost every week. One Sunday morning we were blessed to have the Pastor of the Mountain Brook Baptist Church preach to us and we had a wonderful time in the Lord. Rev. Barfield was a man of vision and great faith and through his leadership, by faith and with God's leading we were able to purchase our present location--"without a dime in our pockets." On Sunday, May 23, 1971 at 10:00am, a motorcade of dedicated members, along with our pastor, moved from the Boys Club to our present location in Norwood at 3012 15th Avenue North. Our first service and litany of dedication was held the same day at 2:45pm.
Rev. Barfield resigned in 1971 and we were in need of an under shepherd. On November 5, 1972, the Holy Spirit led First Memorial to extend a unanimous call to the Rev. Hugh L. Foster to be our pastor. He accepted our call on November 12, 1972. Under Rev. Foster's leadership, the Gospel Chorus was organized and two of the sons of our church were called by God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ--Bro. Mose Sturdivant and Deacon Zonnie Stuckey, Sr.
Rev. Foster left amidst controversy in 1975, along with a few members and again we were in need of leader. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, on August 31, 1975, during his Ordination Service, First Memorial called one of its own to be Pastor--Rev. Zonnie Stuckey, Sr. The Rev. J.W. Croom, Sr., (then pastor of the Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, ACIPCO) served as Moderator.
Under the leadership of Pastor Stuckey, the church ministry began to expand with a fully organized program. The members who left returned and the struggle and courage of our church attracted groups of people from around the area. Many of them united with our church which helped to further the ministry of Jesus Christ.
The financial condition of the church also expanded with the influx of new members. We have accomplished many goals during the last 40+ years which include building a new Family Life Center which includes a kitchen, and restrooms. We also were blessed to renovate our present sanctuary with a new pulpit, choir stand and baptistry, along with new classrooms and restrooms. Several members of our church were called to preach the Gospel throughout the years. They are listed below.
Rev. Mose Sturdivant (Deceased)
Rev. Zonnie Stuckey, Sr. (Deceased)
Rev. Nathaniel Smiley
Rev. Henry Spain, Jr. (Deceased)
Rev. Clifford Dillard
Rev. Eric McMillian
Min. LaStarr Files
Pastor Stuckey served our congregation for 35 years until his health failed him and he retired on June 1, 2011. Now God has sent a leader to First Memorial once again. In September 2012, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, First Memorial extended the call to Rev. Dr. Algajuan Moore to become our 4th Pastor and he accepted. He preached his first sermon as our Senior Pastor on Sunday, October 7, 2012. God has always answered our prayers and provided all of our needs at this church and through our new leadership we have continued to move higher and higher in the work of the Lord. Dr. Al, as we affectionately call our pastor, has an extraordinary vision for First Memorial. In his first year as our pastor, 81 new members united with the church, 15 new converts were baptized; an impactful Women’s Ministry, Glorious Ladies of Worship (GLOW) was formed, under the leadership of our First Lady, Sis. Shanine Moore; landscaping was completed at the front of the church and many other wonderful signs of growth! As we moved into our 6th year of Dr. Al's tenure, we had seen an increase of nearly 300 new members added to FMBC, upgraded our audio/visual technology, launched a new website and social media interfaces and implemented several new outreach and fellowship opportunities. As God continues to lead him, we will follow and watch the hand of God at work. Truly the Lord has sent us a “General” in His army! Yes, the Lord is in this place. We will keep the faith and keep moving upward and onward, in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
~ Original Officers & Chairpersons ~
Bro. Daniel McGill, Chairman* Bro. Milton Lomax, Sr., Chairman*
Bro. Albert English* Bro. Eugene Combs*
Bro. James Lockett* Bro. Herbert Harrison*
Bro. Alfred Peevy* Bro. Walter Stuckey
Bro. Lee G. Pugh* Bro. John Shaffer, Treasurer*
Bro. John Shaffer* Sis. Jacqueline McNeil, Secretary
Bro. Zonnie Stuckey, Sr.* Sis. Myra Davis, Church Clerk*
Sunday School Superintendent: Bro. Lee G. Pugh
Assistant Superintendent: Bro. Leroy Ward, Sr.*
True Love Missionary Society: Sis. Annie English, President*
Pastor's Aid: Sis. Annie Owens, Chairperson*
*Indicates member is deceased