On August 29, 1984, a body of faithful souls, hungry to fulfill the Will of God, met at 413 Mercer Avenue in Albany, Georgia, for the first official organizational meeting of the First Monumental Faith Missionary Baptist Church. As Presiding minister at the meeting,
Rev. Johnny Arnold summarized the group’s credo for establishing a church by stating, “We, a ban of baptized believers in Christ Jesus have decided to establish a church. As long as it meets the requirements of God, He will approve.”
Rev. Arnold stated that the first step in the process of establishing a church that God would approve of was to appoint a clerk for the meeting.Sis. Lottye Atkins was so appointed. Secondly, he asked and the group unanimously agreed that it wanted to organize a church. Thirdly, the body agreed that the following be so:
- The church is being organized on the Bible and will obey the Bible
- The church will be governed and guided by the existing Covenant of the Church.
- The church will stand on the Articles of Faith, eighteen in number, which should be adopted by Baptist churches at the time of organization.
These are based on Biblical Scripture and tell us the way we should conduct ourselves with God and our fellow man.
The fourth order of business that was conducted was the election of church officers. Being led by God, the following leadership was established. Rev. Roosevelt Carter, I, was called as Pastor by the unanimous vote of the body. Additional leadership was established as follows: Church Clerk – Sis. Lottye Atkins, Financial Secretary – Sis. Geraldine Trice, Church Treasurer – Sis. Ernestine Potts, Missionary Treasurer – Sis. Lucinda Mathis, and Sunday School Superintendent Bro. Darryl Stokes. As Pastor, Rev. Carter appointed a Board of Trustees, which included Bro. Darryl Stokes, Bro. Emit Wiley, Sis. Minnie Brown, Sis. Geraldine Trice, Sis. Ernestine Potts, Sis. Verdie Potts, Sis. Queen Malone, Sis. Lucinda Mathis, and Bro. Johnny Luster. As a Deacon, he appointed Bro. Darryl Stokes, and as Mother of the Church, he appointed Sis. Lucinda Mathis. Rev. Carter then asked that Presidents be elected for the Choir and Ushers, which would be Sis. Minnie Brown and Sis. Lucinda Mathis respectively.
The final order of business conducted at the initial organizational meeting was the selection of a church name. After some discussion and consideration, it was unanimously agreed. The church shall be named FIRST MONUMENTAL FAITH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH. Rev. Arnold spoke to the newly formed church congregation saying, “You should keep your actions in peace, love, and reverence and God will bless you. Whatever you have, use it for the Lord. God will be with you in you put Him first and pray over decisions. Be adherent to your Pastor. If he leads you wrong, God will chastise him. This is a new church. All old things are in the past. Don’t forget the commitment you made here tonight.”
In an address to the congregation, Rev. Roosevelt Carter, I accepted the calling to Pastorship. He also asked Rev. Arnold and his wife, Sis. Barbara Arnold, to assist with weekly Bible Study classes to be held on Wednesday nights. The first official invitation to discipleship and membership of the newly formed First Monumental Faith Missionary Baptist Church was extended as the newly birthed congregation sang Come Ye That Love the Lord.
For one Sunday, services were held at Mercer Grove church on Hwy. 300/Cordele Road. After that, the congregation met at 413 Mercer Avenue for about one year. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church began meeting at a rented church building located at 1203 South Jefferson Street in Albany, Georgia. During the almost five years services were held at this location, the structure was remodeled, a mural was installed, and new pulpit furniture was purchased. Plans were being made to purchase the building, but for reasons beyond man’s wisdom but in God’s Perfect Will, the purchase was not completed.
The first building and property purchased by the church was located at 700 South Jefferson Street. The purchase was transacted on April 21, 1992. First Monumental Faith Missionary Baptist Church held services at this location and grew abundantly as the Holy Spirit used Pastor Carter and the members to spread the Word of God and the work He was doing in the body. What seemed to some to be a tragedy, but was understood as a move of God by Believers in His Holy Word occurred in 1994. The Flint River flooded and the facility at 700 South Jefferson sustained damage. Renovations were conducted and the church continued to meet and worship God there. Another tragedy in the eyes of man occurred on November 9, 1999. During the week’s celebration honoring Pastors Appreciation, a fire sparked by electrical wiring totally destroyed the church building at 700 South Jefferson. Thanks be to God, no one was injured, but God’s House sustained substantial damage.
Pastor Carter and the congregation had experienced a heart-rending loss, but the work of the Lord had to move forward. Hence, while the Man of God sought God’s guidance for the right decision – whether to rebuild at 700 South Jefferson or seek out new property – the church was aided by its sister church, Greater Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Lorenzo Heard, who shared the use of its Sports Complex. First Monumental Faith Missionary Baptist Church held services at the Sports Complex located at 103 Dewey Street in Albany, Georgia, from December 1999 to March 2001.
Although few could see or grasp the vision of the Man of God, Pastor Carter, God led him to a property located at 3404 Gillionville Road. Formerly the American Legion building and an empty shell of a building, no one but Pastor Carter could really see what God wanted to make of the building. He began “writing the vision and making it plain” and the property was purchased in November of 2000. Under his Anointed leadership, craftsmen and contractors turned the empty shell of a facility into an awesome sanctuary where God’s Name is praised and honored. The First Monumental Faith Baptist Church Complex located at 3404 Gillionville Road in Albany, Georgia, not only houses a 1,000-seat sanctuary, but also a Bookstore, Nursery, fully-equipped Industrial Kitchen, private Dining Room, Bridal Suite, the Benny Holmes Fellowship Hall, classrooms, fully-equipped Media Room, Baptismal Pool, and Pastoral Study and Suite.
A firm believer in serving God by serving His people, Pastor Carter has, with the constant and steadfast support of his wife & ministry partner, Co-Pastor LaVerne Shinault Carter, established several outreach entities. The First Monumental Faith Community Outreach Center was established to serve the community. It has done so in many ways and through various projects, which include Job’s Place, the first HIV/AIDS facility in the City of Albany; and Crossroads Transitional Housing Program, the first transitional, long-term housing program for homeless families; Monumental Development Center, a state-of-the-art child educational facility.
As of the publication of this church history, First Monumental Faith Baptist Church is celebrating 22 years of service to God and the community. Our Senior Pastor is still Rev. Roosevelt Carter, I, and we Thank God for his leadership. In June of this year, 2006, our faith was tested when our Man of God was diagnosed with cancer of the throat. But we could not despair. We could not lose hope – because the Man of God would not allow it. Through the awesome Power of the Miracle Working God, Pastor Carter underwent treatments for nine weeks altogether, the final one being Saturday, October 28, 2006. Our testimony is that God has worked a miracle. The physicians, with all of their medical training and years of experience, were themselves admittedly amazed at God’s work in the Man of God’s body. Today he is cancer-free and his strength is being restored daily. We Thank God for our miracle.
During the 22 years that God has allowed us to remain a blessed church family, we have seen difficult days. But our good days have truly outweighed our bad days. We do not contend that we have done everything perfectly, but that our desire to please God and to hold fast to the original intent for establishing this ministry has remained steadfast: to be a strong body of Believers who serve God in Spirit and in truth.
Keeper of Records – Sis. Lottye A. Atkins, Church Secretary
Transcriber – Dr. W. R. Coleman