Rev. Dr. Curtis T. Harding Jr
It was in the month of August during the summer of 1983, Rev. Dr. Curtis T. Harding Jr who was an itinerant minister at the Allen AME Church, came to St. Albans as an interim pastor for the ailing Pastor Oleavia. After rendering a good service to the members of St. Albans and because of the retirement of Pastor Oleavia, Rev. Harding was called on February 13, 1984 by the congregation by a unanimous vote. Rev. Harding was ordained by a council called by the late Rev. Bobby Hodges, Pastor of Scriptural B.C., who preached the ordination message.
On May 6, 1984, at the Majority Baptist Church, Rev. Harding was duly installed as the new and third pastor of the Saint Albans Baptist Church by the Rev. Charles E. Betts, pastor of the Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church. Even though Rev. Harding knew we didn’t have enough money to build, he had faith that God would see us through. Under his teachings, preaching and example to motivate the people trust God in giving their tithes and offering, the people of St. Albans Baptist Church raised over ½ million dollars in 3 ½ years. Prior to the building of the new church, Deacon Early Jenkins, Deacon Caesar Williams, Trustee Wallace Brown and Deacon Trustee Oliver Young realized that additional money was needed for the contractors, and thought it not robbery to mortgage their homes for the loan to build the edifice. On November 9, 1985, St. Albans Baptist Church had a Ground Breaking service for the new church and Sherman Industries, Ltd, the contractors started digging the foundation in December of 1985. The cornerstone of our new edifice was donated by Min. Stephanie Swain and dedicated on September 18, 1994. The Hospitality Ministry was formed in August of 1984 and Sis. Inez Harding was appointed president. The Nurses Unit Ministry was organized in September 1984 with Sis. Mary Clark as president. Sis. Mary Fair and Sis. Maggie Young were appointed as the first female associate trustees in October 1984. Sis Maggie Young later was voted a full trustee in
October of 1986.
In addition, the following ministries have been formed under Pastor Harding's guidance; The Christian Men’s & Women’s Ministries, The Conquerors (Stepping Ministry), Evangelism Ministry, Food Pantry Ministry, Kitchen Ministry, Married Christian Couples Ministry, Multimedia Ministry, Naomi & Ruth Mentoring Ministry, Security Ministry, Transportation Ministry, Tutorial Ministry and Worshiping Hands Ministry. The Youth Choir was named the St. Albans Victory Ensemble with Bro. I. Bell as musician and the Children’s Choir was named the I.L.H. Children Choir, named after Sis. Harding. The Gospel Chorus has grown to more than thirty members and is now known as the CTH Mass Choir. The Male Chorus was formed. In February of 1985, Bro Julius Allen was appointed president of the Youth Department. Pastor Harding took charge of the Youth Department after his ordination because he knew that the children would bring their parents to church. Then came Deacon Clarence Brown, Sis. Norma Waithe and Rev, Caprice Nesbitt. In 2001 Kalima Holleman (That’s Minister Kalima Wilson to you) became the Youth Leader and has been doing a wonderful job. The Praise Dancers were organized with Sis. Robin Harding as leader.
In 1991, when his daughter went to college, Pastor Harding appointed Kalima Holleman (now Wilson) as leader. The Praise Dance Ministry now consists of The Women of Wisdom Dance Ministry, The Sanctuary Dance Ministry, The Young Ladies of Miriam, Psalms Dance Ministry, Angels Dance Ministry, and The Male Praise Dancers and Shake the Foundation Prison Ministry. Out of the Praise Dance Ministry a flower bloomed and Tawanna Thompson started the Conquerors (Steppers). Bro. Martin Watson was appointed to spearhead the “J. Oscar Jones Scholarship Committee” June 22, 1986. But in 1995 Sis. Barbara Prentice, Sis. Hattie Smith, Bro. Deighton Waithe, Sis. Norma Waithe, Sis. Margaret Holmes and Bro. Clymesol Dantley were led to organize The Scholarship Ministry and held the first Scholarship pageant at Antun’s. Every year they encourage our youth to excellence through scholarships. A scholarship has been established in memory of Sister Norma Waithe. Many ministers received the call to the Ministry: Bro Arthur Lee Wright and Bro. Johnny Holmes in 1986. Min. Rosa Cummings, Min. Martin Watson, Min. Peggy Holly, Min. Ava Marie Springer, Min. Morna Lamb-Harrington, Min. Kalima Wilson, Min. James Gilmore and Min. Robin Williams. Ministers who were added to the Ministerial staff included Rev. Dr. Loney, Rev. Joseph Thomas, Min. Viola Brown-Pringle, Min. Stephanie Swain,Rev. Caprice Nesbitt-Turane, Min. Robin Williams, Min. Shante Basset, Min. Julius Allen, Min. Wayne Graham and Min. Leslie Mitchell. The following Deaconesses were consecrated March 13, 1988; Viola Brown, Louise Ceran, Margaret Holmes, Isabel Kelly, Jeanette Mangum, Hattierea Smith, Gail Watson, and Olivia Young. Martin Watson and Thomas Young were ordained as Deacons on the same date.
In 1990, Deacons James Basemore, Clarence Brown, and Henry Robinson were ordained. Roselle Robinson was consecrated as a deaconess. In 1993 Dea. Louise Ceran was appointed Mother of the Church. On March 25, 2001, Veneta Samuels, Ava Marie Springer, Monet Springer, Juanita Teal, Beverly Witherspoon and Brenda Yates were added as Deaconesses. Deacons were also added on that date. Joseph Gilliam, Thomas Hubbard, George Smith, Allan Springer, and Joseph Yates. On November 22, 2009 Rev. Harding ordained three Ministers to Reverends, Inez L. Harding, Ava Marie Springer and Kalima Wilson along with eight Deaconates, Anthony & Renee Bates, Russell & Clara Bethea, Keith & Hazel White, Barbara Prentice and Ollie Towns. In 1998 our beloved Sis. Maggie Beverly passed on to glory. She loved her church so much that she provided a $30,000 endowment in her will for a church library.
The Maggie Beverly Library was dedicated in her memory in October 2003. It houses 10 computers for training and use by our members. In February 2001 we purchased the property on the corner of 197th St and 119th Avenue and named it The St. Albans Baptist Church Community Outreach Center. However, in 2006 the name was changed to The St. Albans Community Center for Social Economic Empowerment, Inc. to better reflect our mission. It houses the Food Pantry, The exercise program, a game room and many other programs. Other programs that were started under Rev. Harding's leadership are; The Youth Retreat, The Men’s Retreat, The Women’s Retreat, The Angel Tree (Prison Ministry), Hoop Heaven (basketball camp), Summer Bible Camp, Men’s Coffee House, Women’s Prayer, Men’s prayer, Daily Prayer, Bible Study, New Members Class, Youth Night. The Seniors Sewing Group was started in 2001. They made knee warmers and quilts, which were donated to various Nursing Homes. All one need to do is look around them and they can see that the work Rev. Harding has done and is doing speaks for him. And yet he recognizes the fact that “one plants, another waters, but it takes God to give the increase.”