By Barney Blakeney
Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston where Rev. Isaac J. Holt Jr. is the congregation’s ninth pastor, Sept. 17-25 will celebrate its centennial anniversary with week-long activities culminating in a Sept. 24 banquet and Sept. 25 Sunday morning anniversary services.
Royal Missionary Baptist Church is one of the Charleston area’s most preeminent church congregations with over 3,000 active members and sits on a campus in the Liberty Hill community that includes two sanctuaries and a resource center.
It was founded by Rev. Hardy Washington.
For several years the congregation met in the home of Sis. Brooks before building a meeting place in Burton Quarters.
The congregation’s first sanctuary was built on Pearson Street in Liberty Hill where it worshipped until its current and main sanctuary was dedicated in 2004 on Luella Street in Liberty Hill.
Under Rev. Holt’s leadership since 1993, Royal’s congregation has grown from 200 to over 3,000 members.
That growth has been transformative to both the church and the community it serves, said Dea. Krenston Price, a lifelong resident of the Liberty Hill community and 21-year member of Royal.
Royal grew from a traditional small neighborhood church into one which thrives as a beacon lighting the way unto God’s Kingdom through some 34 ministries, he said.
That growth has been an asset to the residents of Liberty Hill also, Price said.
In addition to food and clothing ministries, the congregation had to acquire property which it bought from residents at top dollar rates while insuring those property owners secured other housing, often in the Liberty Hill community.
Liberty Hill residents also are the beneficiaries of the congregation’s social activism programs that include jobs training, youth mentoring and GED Preparation.
And Royal’s youth ministries are among the most prolific in the area.
Royal’s evolution has come about as the result of Rev. Holt’s divine vision, said Price. That vision has expanded the church’s reach into areas that include its Baptist Association, local public schools (the congregation has adopted Morningside Middle School), Benedict College and Rev. Holt’s alma mater, Morris College.
As Royal has grown so has its evangelism. Led by Rev. Holt, the church’s main focus is spiritualism, said Price. Through its ministries and programs, the church takes every opportunity to spread the Gospel of Jesus, he said. And the church’s centennial celebration will be yet another opportunity to do that.
The celebration opens Sept. 17 with its 4 p.m. Heritage Recognition Banquet. Guest speaker will be Rev. Matthew Southall Brown Sr. The Anniversary Service will be conducted Sept. 18 at both Sunday morning services. The Sept. 20 anniversary service will feature Rev. Charlie Murray of First Baptist Church of James Island; Sept. 21 anniversary service will feature Rev. Franklin Washington of New St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church, Bennettsville; and the Sept. 22 anniversary service will feature Rev. Larry Weston of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Sumter.
The 100th Anniversary Celebration Banquet on Sept. 24 will feature Rev. Dr. Charles B. Jackson of Brookland Baptist Church, West Columbia. The closing anniversary services held Sept. 25 will feature Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor Jr. of Community Baptist Church, Englewood, N.J. at both Sunday morning services. All services will be held at the church campus in the Liberty Hill community.