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Friendship 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.

As the church’s membership grew, so did its prominence within the community.  Friendship became a recognized and accepted component of the Corning community.

When Rev. Days left in 1921, he was replaced by Rev. Horn, who in turn was followed by Rev. Williams, and then by Rev. Warfield of Rochester.  Between 1936 and 1972, Friendship had three successive Philadelphia ministers:  Rev. Quentin Jackson, Rev. J. H. Beatty, and Rev. David N. Jones.

In 1977, Rev. Templeton Taylor of Binghamton and Rev. Arthur Todd of Syracuse each presided at Friendship.  The following year, Rev. Willie Wright became pastor of the church and spearheaded the drive for a new church building.  However, his sudden death occurred shortly after the foundation of the new church was laid.
An abundance of dedication, commitment and pride has been invested in Friendship Baptist Church, from the original structures on 85 East Market Street to 165 East Market Street, the St. Mark Church Building on Tuxill Avenue, and the building in downtown Corning.

Through disappointments, hardships, and internal strife, the call to build a new church building was heard loud and clear.
The task began, and after much persistence and hard work, the Friendship Baptist Church building was erected at the corner of Denison Parkway and Pearl Street.

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