Church History

Second Baptist Church of Toms River

Celebrating our 95th Church Anniversary

1921 – 2016

Church History

The Second Baptist Church of Toms River was organized in 1921. As there was no church in the area at the time, a group of neighbors on Bushwick Avenue, now known as Center Street, began having prayer meetings in their homes. The group included Brother Nathan and Sister Clara Watts, Sister Sarah Teale Harvey and Brother Otis Worthy, and a well-wisher, Sister Gail Wells (for whose family Wells Chapel A.M.E. Church was later named after). Reverend J. W. and Sister Griffin of Lakewood joined with them. Rev. Griffin organized the prayer group into a church. The church purchased from Mr. James Howard a parcel of land with a small building used as a restaurant and converted the restaurant for use as a church. Rev. Griffin and the church began witnessing and inviting new members into the church. Rev. Griffin traveled each day from Lakewood, hauling salvaged lumber, by which to enlarge the building for the growing congregation.

In 1924 the council of the Seacoast Missionary Baptist Association met with Rev. Griffin and the church and accepted the church into the Association. On that same evening, three deacons were ordained, Otis Worthy, Wallace Clark, and John Infante’. Rev. Griffin served as pastor from 1921 to 1925.

Reverend George Crawley became pastor in 1925. As the membership grew, Rev. Crawley and the church made plans to build a new building. After the church was denied a mortgage by a local bank, Deacon Wallace Clark and Brother Emmitt Worthy, Sr. met with the president of the bank and offered to put up their homes and properties as collateral for the loan. Such was the character, reputation and integrity of these two men, that the loan was reconsidered and a personal loan was given, base solely on their word; and without their homes and land being used. The church purchased lots on Elm Street, South Toms River, and began to build. Fortunately, there were carpenters and others with building skills among the members and everyone joined in to help with the work. On October of 1928 the church moved into the new sanctuary. Rev. Crawley continued to serve until 1935, when he resigned

The following pastors served from 1935 through 1972:

Rev. Walker M. Wyatt 1935-1938

Rev. Edward L. Tillman 1938-1948

Rev. John A. Langhorne 1948 – 1956

Rev. James W. Jackson 1956- July 1962.

Rev. Clarence M. Evans July 1963 -1972

Rev. Arthur L. Powell was called as Pastor on January 1, 1973, and served for 3 months, when he resigned. Rev. Powell and some of the members of Second Baptist Church organized the New Hope Baptist Church, now located on Tenth Street in Manitou Park.

In June of 1973 Reverend Louis R. Harmon, of Bridgeton, answered the call to pastor and continued with the plan for building a new sanctuary. Seregey Padukow of Toms River was hired as the architect; the trustees were authorized to serve as general contractors; and Brother Edward Tolbert, having knowledge of and experience in the building trades, volunteered to serve as Clerk of the Works. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held on June 11, 1977 and the building was dedicated on May 17, 1980. Rev. Harmon continued to serve until November, 1982.

Reverend William E. Lawson accepted the call to pastor on March 1, 1983. The church continued to prosper under Rev. Lawson’s leadership and when he resigned in February 1989, Associate Minister John Milton led the congregation until Rev. John D. Joyner was called in November of that same year. The Lord continued to bless the church and Rev. Joyner served until May, 1992.

In October, 1992 Reverend William A. Greene was called and began his pastorate here. Under his leadership, new ministries were begun and others expanded. These include the Nursing Home Ministry, the Prison Ministry, and the ministry to the homeless through the Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Church of Promise in cooperation with the United Way of Ocean County. For approximately eight (8) years, the church produced a television program “Evening Worship” which aired on two cable networks and the Community Technology Center provided classes in computer literacy. The Food Pantry Ministry distributes one (1) week of food to families in the community on the third week of the month. The church converted from oil to gas heating in 2012.

We are proud that over the years God has called six (6) members into the preaching ministry. More recently, Rev. Marcia Grayson, Rev. Gail and William Simmons and Minister Stephanie Lynn were licensed to preach. Rev. Grayson was ordained on June 26, 2011 and Rev. Gail Simmons was ordained on July 15, 2012.

The church has ordained as deacons, Warren and Nina Clagget, and David and Susan Mosley. Reverends Sidney and Mary Crudup served as Assistants to the Pastor from 1992 through 2011, 19 years, before retiring to Virginia.

We thank God for 95 years of service in the community and for his wisdom, guidance, and blessings as we seek to do His will in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, and ministering to the church and community.

Second Baptist Church is an important member of the South Toms River Community. We offer many special services to our neighbors and the community, including a nursing home ministry, an outreach ministry, which includes a food pantry and an annual Celebration of the Holiday Season which includes convenient delivery of Thanksgiving Dinner to the less fortunate,  as well as other services. The church has an anointed and dynamic  worship service, every Sunday.  As well as an enlightening Sunday school and Bible Study, which teaches the Word of God. Please call for upcoming event details.

Hours: Sunday School, 9am - 9:45am

Sunday Worship, 10am

Wed Bible Study, 7pm

Parking: Free lot

Denomination: Baptist

Services: Community Outreach, Nursing Home Ministry, Ladies Ministry, Mens Ministry, Study groups, and Youth programs.

Phone:  732-244-3309