Morning Star Baptist Church • Roanoke, VA • Rev. L. A. Lewis Pastor

Our Church Heritage

Morning Star Baptist Mission was organized in 1930 in an upstairs storefront building in North East Roanoke, by Rev. E. Blake of Salem, Virginia. With the required number of members, clerk and treasurer, he continued with the mission only a few months before moving on to other work.

In 1931, Rev. W. A. Webb was called as Pastor of the Mission. In August 1932, Rev. Webb called a council and the Mission was recognized. The name was changed to Morning Star Baptist Church. Under Rev. Webb, 65 souls were saved and the membership continued to grow. Soon after, much to the regret of the church, Rev. Webb resigned.

The Lord had another leader in mind for our church. In 1933, Rev. I. A. Law was called and accepted. Under his leadership, the church continued to grow to a spiritual mountaintop. Many souls were revived and the church grew in favor with God and man.

In 1939, Rev. Law resigned and Rev. J. E. Stevens became the Pastor. He was a fine young man from Virginia Seminary & College. After a brief pastorship, he resigned to care for his ill father in Amherst. Rev. Matthews became our new Pastor. His tenure was but a few months before resigning.

Morning Star was not to be without a Pastor, and in 1942, the building was offered for sale. Under the courageous leadership of Rev. Moore, the building was bought for $1250. With 15 dependable members, renovations began costing over $1,000. Other expenses, including new pews, floors, heating, lighting and painting cost approximately $3,000. The members of Morning Star Baptist Church felt a deep gratitude to our Pastor, deacons, trustees, member and friends for making this achievement possible. We all knew that without God, this could not have been.

In 1952, the property including a foundation was purchased here at our present location. Rev. Moore pastored for 15 years before the Lord called him home from labor to reward in 1957.

The church was left without a shepherd until February 1958 when Rev. Thomas E. Crews was called and accepted. Under Rev. Crews, the church continued to grow and many changes took place. Beginning in 1963, the members went from worship in the basement to worship in the new sanctuary. The new sanctuary was dedicated to the glory of God on October 24, 1965. New pews, windows, chairs and tables were added. During this time, money was donated by the late Rev. Arthur Brooks to build the stationery directory in the front of the church and Deacon Dennis Galloway donated his labor to build it. The lots on both sides were purchased and the church membership continued to grow.

In January of 1979, all our hearts were saddened by the death of our beloved Rev. Crews. He was with us more than 20 years. He devoted much of his time to his church members and the community. Through his guidance and in spite of our great loss, the mortgage on the church was paid off that same year.

We were without a Pastor for about 11 months and the Lord blessed us with our present Pastor, Rev. Lee A. Lewis. Rev. Lewis' ministry began here on January 1,1980. Under his leadership, air conditioning and many other improvements were made. Name plates were placed on the pews and many souls were saved. Installation for Rev. Lewis was held on August 17,1980. The church was blessed to have Rev. Lewis as our leader, along with his devoted wife, Annette, and his son Eric.

In August of 1981, Rev. Lewis and Mrs. Lewis were blessed with a new addition to the family, little Patrice Lenette. The entire church served as Godparents to her. Also in 1981, Morning Star instituted its annual Man of the Year award Deacon Alfred Randolph was named as the first Man of the Year.

In 1982, the kitchen area was remodeled as was the sanctuary. The church purchased additional land behind the church. Mrs. Vivian Woody was nominated as Morning Star's first Woman of the Year". Morning Star also became a member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention. Dr. L. V. Boothe, its founder and past President, was our 52nd church anniversary guest speaker.

In 1983, the property adjoining the church was purchased. The ladies rest area was also remodeled with a lounge; this project was initiated by the Senior Usher Board. The Youth Ministry was founded and the second Sunday of each month is designated as Youth Sunday, with the youth conducting the entire service except for the morning sermon. The Youth Choir was reorganized. The original Youth Choir was organized in 1956 under the direction of Mrs. Carolyn Henderson and Deaconess Jean Galloway.

In 1986, the property purchased in 1985 was paved for a much needed parking lot. The Roanoke Tribune also chose Morning Star as the first church in the Roanoke Valley to be represented in its feature article ‘The Church of the Month’.

We praise the Lord for his continuous blessings in 1987. The kitchen was renovated with new cabinets and a new sink. New tiles were also installed in the sanctuary, and new Bibles were purchased for the pews. A newsletter was also organized entitled “Morning Star Messenger” was presented to the congregation in October 1987.

To conserve energy, storm windows were installed in 1988 and in 1989 the parking lot in the rear was paved.

In 1990, a Building Committee was selected which was composed of members representing all auxiliaries of the church.

In 1993, the parking lot across the street was purchased.

September 30, 1995 ended our three year campaign for the Building Fund to raise $100,000. Due to the commitment of the Building Committee and the membership, we exceeded our goal. After many meetings of this committee, Morning Star was blessed on July 12, 1998 to have our groundbreaking ceremony for the church expansion.

A Tape Ministry was organized in 1996 to provide outreach to our sick and shut-in members as well as the community at large.

In October 1998, Morning Star was once again blessed to purchase a van for the church. The Lord blessed Morning Star once again with the completion of a brand new sanctuary in December 1999. We had a New Year's Eve service that began in the old sanctuary, and concluded in the new sanctuary on New Year's Day morning January 1, 2000.

A church dedication of the new sanctuary took place on October 8, 2000 as Rev. Paul Johnson of Williams Memorial led the service.

In November 2001, under the leadership and vision of Rev. Lewis, the SSS (Saturated with Specific Prayer Service) Prayer Ministry was developed. We thank God for the leadership of Deaconess Annette Lewis. We recently celebrated and thanked God with a Prayer Banquet on October 30, 2002.

Throughout the years, many souls have been saved and four of our very own have come forth to minister God's work: Rev. Michael Perdue in 1980, Rev. Kirby Whitfield Sr. in 1990, Rev. Ronald Brown in1993, and Rev. Steven Henderson in 2002. The entire Morning Star Church family has been blessed to have them as Rev. Lewis' associates in the ministry.

Morning Star Baptist Church has several auxiliaries, which have existed many years, including some new additions in the last few years. These include organizations such as: Deacon & Deaconess Boards, Trustee Board, Sunday School Department, Pastor's Aid, Dorcas Missionary Circle, Senior & Junior Usher Boards, Flower Club, Senior Choir, Male Chorus, Youth Choir, L.A. Lewis Singers, Youth Ministry, Newsletter Staff, Tape Ministry, Van Ministry and the SSS Prayer Ministry. They have all come together to make up the church and constantly strive to upbuild God's Kingdom.

The Pastor, church staff and the church family aim to serve in the name of Jesus in as many ways as possible.

We thank God for blessing Morning Star Baptist for 72 years, and await the blessings that are forthcoming. ln the end, God will receive all the Honor, Glory and Praise!



Rev. L. A. Lewis, Lit.D., Pastor/Teacher

First Lady, Annette Lewis