To commemorate the anniversary, a virtual service is planned for Sunday, November 8, 2020.
By Frederick A. Hasney IV
Photo: Lauren Stauffer
The Metropolitan Baptist Church is celebrating 170 years of continuous service and community outreach. The church’s chairpeople have planned a virtual service for Sunday, November 8 at 11 a.m. to reflect on their history and honor the legacies of their parishioners.
The service, available to live-stream through their website, will feature guest speaker, Elder Otto Gross Sr. A lunch to-go program will be available following the service for the church family to share a meal while also keeping safety in mind.
Jerry Ann Allen discussed the anniversary event over the phone. A longstanding and impactful member of the community and church, Allen explained that there is “so much history within [Metropolitan Baptist Church’s] walls and so many great people throughout its history that deserve remembrance.”
The church itself, now located on 22 Sampsonia Way in Allegheny City Central, was founded in 1850 under the name of “The First Colored Baptist Church of Allegheny City,” making it, according to Allen, the oldest Black Baptist church in western Pennsylvania. Throughout the late 1800s, the church’s congregation steadily grew and the location of their house of worship moved multiple times. It was not until 1904 that the church’s current site on Sampsonia street was purchased and established as the main location that still stands today. Over time, the church has undergone various renovations, such as the installation of stained glass windows and an air conditioning system to, according to Allen, better accommodate their parishioners and maintain a highly presentable building.
In 1981, Metropolitan’s current pastor, Rev. Dr. Lacy F. Richardson, began to lead the congregation. “The longer you stay with a church, the more you can see all the ways you have aided the church and the community,” Richardson said; He has been the pastor for the longest period of time in the church’s history.
The chairpeople of Metropolitan are creating a souvenir book that will be available on November 8, the same day as the virtual service. It will include current members’ life stories as well as details on how the church has influenced them over the years. The focus will be on celebrating heritage and history.
Find more information on what the church has planned for the big day on their website at www.mbcpgh.org/.