Church to celebrate 117th anniversary Sunday

Second Baptist Church has survived as the last remaining African-American church in Marshalltown.

On Sunday, the church will celebrate its 117 years in existence with a public program at 4 p.m. at its 516 Bromley St. location.

“That’s a blessing right there to be here for 117 years,” said Judy Bannon, a church member for more than 50 years. “I’m a third generation member and I was raised in this church.”

Rev. Nathaniel Johnson from Second Baptist Church of Clinton will be the guest speaker at the event and be accompanied by his church choir.

Bannon said it was important for the church to have a public celebration open to everyone.

“We want people to see we exist down here and we’re the only African-American church left here,” she said.

Clarie Miller, another charter church member along with Barbara Wilder and Denise Andrews, said Second Baptist has been a good family church.

“I had five girls and the church has helped me raise them,” Miller said.

A group of black citizens started the formation of church in 1891 and it was formally named the Second Baptist Church of Marshalltown in 1896. The church has been located at 516 Bromley St. throughout its existence.

Today, the church has more than 30 members and is led by Rev. Terance Cooley.

The church’s membership is open to people of all ethnicities, not just African- Americans.