Metropolitan Baptist Church: Serving the Northside for 160 years


Few existing Northside institutions can trace their history back to the years before the Civil War. Time, economic changes and population shifts have often caused the decline and disappearance of what were, in their day, thriving organizations and programs. That is why the story of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, which just celebrated its 160th anniversary, is so very significant.
Metropolitan was founded by members of the African American community in Allegheny City in 1850. That was the very year that the national government passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which created great unease among the communities of freemen and former slaves living north of the Mason-Dixon Line. That year, more than a decade before the onset of the Civil War, a group of African-American residents of Allegheny City founded a congregation know as "The First Colored Baptist Church of Allegheny City."
During its early years the congregation worshiped at several different locations in Allegheny City. By the early years of the 20th century the congregation purchased a site on Sampson (now Sampsonia) Street at the head of Reddour Street where they erected a church building for worship, education and fellowship. From this location, in what was Allegheny’s Second Ward, the Metropolitan Baptist congregation has played and continues to play a vital part in the Northside community.
Judge Joseph Williams, who grew up in the Manchester community, was the keynote speaker at Metropolitan’s anniversary celebration. Judge Williams reviewed the role this congregation has taken on in the Northside community during its 160 years of service. He emphasized how important it is that the clerical and lay leaders of this church to encourage the younger generation within the community to maintain the same commitment to ideals of education, justice and improving the quality of life within the Northside neighborhoods.
For the past thirty years the Rev. Lacy F. Richardson has led Metropolitan Baptist Church to increase the size of the congregation and to expand its many ministries that are responsive to the needs of its members and the surrounding community. Richardson and the entire Metropolitan congregation continue in the path set by those the 20-some members led by Pastor Phillip Broadwater in 1850.

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