OUR HISTORY

 

The Church has always been the hub of the black community.  More than just a structure, it represented that feeling of security, family and belonging that the community could find nowhere else.  It was here at Friendship that those in the black community could reaffirm their faith without restraint.

In 1908, Corning’s small black community decided to establish its first church.  That first church, the Beulah Baptist Church, was located at 263 E. Market St. and its pastor was Rev. H.T. Hogan, father of Mrs. Willie B. Sweats.

The first church only survived for about one year.  For about 10 years, members met and prayed in each other’s homes.  However, as the church grew, members needed to temporarily use the facilities of established churches such as Trinity AME Zion Church and St. James Chapel on Market Street.

Members soon focused their efforts on organizing a Baptist church of their own. Genesis T. McGrady, one of Friendship’s founding members, said that he knew a young minister in Troy, Alabama who had the expertise to reorganize the church.

On Aug. 7, 1919, Rev. Morgan M. Days and his wife Ruby Mae came to Corning and headed the church for the next two years. The new house of worship was called “Friendship Baptist Church,” in memory of the church in Troy, from which most of the Corning members had originated.

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