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
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
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
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
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
L. A. Lewis, Lit.D., Pastor/Teacher
Lady, Annette Lewis