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Leetsdale church celebrates storied history

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The cornerstone of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Leetsdale will be celebrated on Sunday.

The church will mark the 125th anniversary with an 11 a.m. service featuring the Rev. Benny Tate of Atlanta as guest speaker. Tate is an elder and member associate of the Eagle's Nest Church in Atlanta. Tate has family connections to church members and officials.

A second service at 4 p.m. features the Rev. Lance B. Whitlock, lead pastor of Legacy Church in Canonsburg, as guest speaker.

“We welcome the public to attend,” said Mary Cloud, who joined the church in 1947, when her father, the Rev. William Evans of Ambridge, was elected church pastor. He served until his death on Jan. 13, 1969.

Cloud said the head of the anniversary committee, Marlene Tate will speak about the history of the church as part of the celebration.

According to church leaders, the William Robinson family arrived in the area from Ohio and attended the Baptist Church on Beaver Road in the Fair Oaks neighborhood of Leet.

As more people move to the area, Robinson was inspired to start a church. In 1889, this was accomplished. The new church, First Missionary Baptist, was a small, frame structure, located on Third Street in Leetsdale. The first pastor was the Rev. J.C. Taylor.

The building was washed away in 1936 by the St. Patrick's Day flood.

Joseph Robinson met with Marcus Stoner, owner of the Stone Church, Beaver Road, and arrangements were made for the congregation of First Missionary Baptist to worship there.

In 1961, the church purchased the property from the Stoner family.

Today, the Rev. Bryan K. Crawl serves as pastor of Missionary Baptist Church.

Larissa Dudkiewicz is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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