The history of the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church is unique because it was the first Black Seventh-day Adventist Church established in Houston and has been serving the Houston area for over 75 years.
It was in the late teens that Sister Mary Brown, a widow mother of two daughters, had opened her home for a group of Adventist believers to hold religious meetings. Sister Brown lived in what was then called Sixth Ward-Northwest Houston.
There was also the Jones family from Jamaica who had three sons and was living in Houston at the time. The father Jones often visited the group of Adventist believers and preached for them. The little group grew and move to the Fifth-Ward area in a cottage on Pannell Street- Northeast Houston. As the years past, a tent effort was held on Worms Street in the same area. Elder Hebert Green and Elder H.J. Miller conducted the meetings.
This tent effort gained other members. It was during this Evangelistic effort that Sister Emma Killough and her two daughters, Alyce and Mayme became members. They were baptized along with others in one of the bayous that flanked Houston.
Under the leadership of Pastor Herbert Green, the few dedicated members continue to meet in a small building on Pannell Street. Plans were made to move the Church site to the Third Ward area to erect a new facility and gain new members. Pastor Green and the dedicated members decided to have another tent effort and invited Evangelist N. J. Nunez of Chicago, Illinois. This effort was an overwhelming success.
It was through Evangelist Nunez's effort that the R. J. Foster Family, the James A. Carroll family, building Contractor for the present Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church, joined the church. The late sister Vera Harris, the Brock family, the H. Byrd family and other were added to the church membership. A beautiful edifice was constructed on Dowling and Calhoun Street under the leadership of Evangelist Nunez and was called Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In 1946, it was expedient that the church be demolished or moved due to the construction of the Gulf Freeway. It was under the leadership of pastor A. R. Carethers that the congregation decided to move the church to its present location on Saint Emanuel at Webster. Brother James Carroll was chosen to manage the removal and reconstruction of the church. The first Dedication sermon was delivered by Pastor H. W. Kimble on February 14, 1948. The president of the conference at that time was Elder W. W. Fordham.
In 1951, Elder Fordham conducted a tent effort at Live Oak and Alabama Street. This effort gained the membership of Myrtle Heard, George Harris, Lorenia Smith, Leola Calloway, Tom Wilson, Ethel Johnson, Sigmund Johnson, and Emma Morgan. Other members included at that time were C. Matthew, A. L. Bradley, A. Matthew, R. Goldson, M. Smith, P. Fitch, L. Bruton, R. L. Bevins, G. Sighs, L. Schuffer, E. Williams and a host of other dedicated members.
In 1970, the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church members under the leadership of Pastor James Wray thought it wise to abandon its present location and seek a larger facility. The Bellfort Seventh-day Adventist Church, still in existence, was formed by merging Berean SDA Church and the Sunnyside SDA Church.
After several years and great deliberation, the Southwest Region Conference and others saw a need for the old Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church building to be repaired in the Third Ward area and reopened.
In November 1980, under the Pastor William Cox, the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church was re-opened with a nucleus of 27 members. They were as follows:
Elliab (Greg) Ettinoffe
In 1981, other members from surrounding churches, Oakwood College and other states joined the flock. An Evangelistic effort was held by Pastor Cox and Elder Phipps which gained a number of newly baptized members.
In the fall of 1983, Pastor William Cox was called to shepherd the church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pastor J. R. Ellis was sent by our conference to be the Pastor of Berean. Berean grew to over 200 members through Revelation Seminars and evangelistic tent efforts conducted by Pastor J. R. Ellis.
In the summer of 1989 Pastor J. R. Ellis was called to shepherd the flock in Alexandria, Louisiana. Pastor Terrell McCoy was sent in the spring of 1990 by our conference to be the next pastor of Berean. The membership continued to grow under the leadership of Pastor McCoy's leadership. We were blessed to construct a Fellowship Hall that enabled the church to better serve the community and nurture its members.
In the spring of 1997 Pastor Terrell McCoy was called to shepherd the flock in Little Rock, Arkansas. Pastor Willie S. Lee was sent by our conference in the summer of 1997. Our membership is still over 200 and we are still working to win more souls to the Lord. Pastor Lee was called to pastor a flock in Lafayette, Louisianna.
In the winter of 2004, Pastor Clarence Williams, III was called to pastor Berean. The rallying cry for Berean today is "Knowing Him and Making Him Known". During Pastor Williams administration, the presence of Berean is now felt in cyberspace. We are now spreading gospel over the internet. We have also experienced visitation by some of our internet viewers.
We are thankful to the Lord for all who have pastored the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church. Each left his mark taking Berean to newer heights in the Lord. It has been through prayer, faith, hope, hard work, consecrated leadership and the grace of God that Berean has existed over 75 years. May the Lord forever watch over us and continue to bless us all.