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Congratulatory messages were sent from across the state as Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed May 23 as Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church Day. In recognition of 125 years of ministry, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl issued a proclamation declaring the church has “withstood the sands of time and great destruction, and stands as a message of oneness with God as our foundation.”

Celebratory services began Wednesday evening, May 19 and culminated at services held May 23.  The congregation paid tribute to the past by “Looking Back with Pride and Gratitude,” celebrated the future by “Looking Forward with a Hopeful Attitude,” and reached up to hold God’s unchanging hand as they continued to “Look for That Blessed Hope.”

Margaret Smith-Washington and James J. Barnes served as chairpersons for the week’s events. Honorary chairpersons for the noteworthy celebration were long-time parishioners Sedonia Pettigrew and Deacon LeRoy Yuille, who have given their time, talents and resources for more than 50 years.

The blessings began on Wednesday evening with the stirring words of Rev. Dr. Eugene Downing of Sixth Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Continuing through Thursday’s services, members and friends were inspired by the spirit-filled voice of Rev. B.  DeNeice Welch of Bidwell Presbyterian Church. Excitement once again hovered in the air on Friday evening when Rev. Dr. Victor J. Grigsby of Central Baptist Church ministered to the faithful crowd.

On Saturday evening, emotions ran high as a harmonious connection brought new and old friends together at Rodman’s reunion concert and Rev. Dr. Darryl T. Canady paid tribute to his new church at the Sunday morning services.

Including Pastor Canady, there have been eight committed ministers who have served faithfully in the 125- year history of the church that stands at the corner of Rodman and Collins Avenue. In the East Liberty section of the city, they have led the congregation through courageous determination, exhibiting grace under fire…a testimony to the uncompromising faith that continues to sustain them for more than 125 years of ministry.

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