Church History

The Second Baptist Church, a long-standing religious institution in Jefferson City, Missouri, and has remained a beacon illuminating the path of those who have sought salvation, liberty, freedom, and other elements of “the good life”. This document highlights the growth of a church which had its beginning under the duress of slavery.





Complying with an urgent request, the Rev. Emmanuel Cartwright, a black minister, came to Jefferson City to preach at the funeral of Julia Brock, a slave worshiper at the First Baptist Church where slaves were then permitted to attend worship services. Following the funeral, Rev. Cartwright held a series of meetings for several weeks, at the close of which there were 50-60 converts among the slave population.


The Church’s white members, many whom were their masters, decided that these slaves should have their own Church and Pastor, and in answer to a request, the Rev. Silas Woodson was sent from St. Louis to take charge of this group of worshipers.


This congregation of worshipers called a meeting of their own, elected deacons and trustees, and chose the following places to hold services: a small frame building between Jefferson and Main Streets; the “little stone Church” on Main Street west of Hotel Governor; and a property which they purchased for $1,150 near the corner of Main and Monroe Streets.


After receiving the deeds to this property, the growing congregation exchanged their location for the present site at the corner of Monroe and Miller Streets, chose the name SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH, and constructed a new building in 1866.


Among those baptized by Rev. Cartwright (who continued his monthly visits with them until 1873) was the then Private Logan Bennett, one of the last survivors of the 62nd U.S. Colored Infantry, which along with the 65th U.S. Colored Infantry, contributed monies toward the establishment of Lincoln University (then “Institute”). He is recorded as “one of the first in his regiment” to give money for this purpose. Some sources have quoted that these soldiers were paid only $13.00 a month. In recognition of him as a Founder, Bennett Hall on Lincoln’s campus is named in his honor. Mr. Bennett later became a Deacon and Trustee, Church Treasurer, and the first Sunday School Superintendent of the newly-formed church.


The need for a larger, more modern building led to the construction of a new edifice that included stained-glass windows and a baptismal pool. 1970 The building constructed in 1894 was demolished and the present one erected. A 98-year-old longtime member, Mrs. Estella Branham Diggs, deeded her Ashley Street house for the Church for use as a parsonage.


The present Church opened its doors for worship.


The Church celebrated a “MORTGAGE-BURNING SUNDAY”. Second Baptist Church had liquidated a 20-year mortgage in just 10 years.


Second Baptist Church (after about 11 months without a Pastor) called as its current and 25th Pastor, Reverend Cornell Charles Sudduth, Sr. (who is the most tenured Pastor of Second Baptist Church).


Through the blessings of God whom we serve, this “turn-of-the-
century” has evidenced phenomenal growth of Second Baptist

  • Renovation of the Church sanctuary, offices and foyer

  • Installation of “Video Monitors”.

  • Acquisition of a Church Van and shelter for the protection of the bus and van.

  • Acquisition of an original stained-glass window from the 1894 Church building, and installation of two new ceiling-high stained-glass windows: one on the south end of the sanctuary and one overlooking the baptismal pool.

  • Development and enhancement of the Drama Ministry, the Youth Praise Dance Ministry, the Young Matrons Ministry, Senior Adult and Single Adult Ministries; and the establishment of a Prison Ministry, and Community Action Ministry.

  • Bible Study has been revamped.

  • To assist Pastor Sudduth, the pulpit now includes an Assistant Pastor and Associate Ministers.