Community Baptist Church
"A Friendly Church for a Growing Community"
Community Baptist Church was organized in September 1951. The church was given its letter as a fully organized Baptist Church by the Village Baptist Church, presently known as Immanuel Baptist Church. In the same year, Community Baptist asked to join the association which was affiliated with The Southern Baptist Convention, the world's largest Protestant denomination.
One condition the Southern Baptist placed on our admission was that there would be no press coverage of this historical event, which took place before the Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation decision.
After becoming a fully organized church, the congregation moved its place of worship to the Native Sons Hall in downtown Santa Rosa. The first year anniversary service was held there on September 22, 1952.
In 1953 the church purchased the land at 1228 Grand Avenue, and the groundbreaking service was held on June 24, 1954. In 1956 the church building was completed and the first service was held in the new facility on March 18, 1956. Organizing Pastor, Rev. Washington E. Boyce, served the church until April 28, 1957. Other ministers who served as Pastor were: Rev. C. W. Newsome, Rev. B. E. Love, and Rev. B. B. Banks. Rev. G. G. Griffin served as interim pastor.
Rev. James E. Coffee was installed as pastor in May 1962, by the Rev. Herbert Guice, pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church of Oakland, California. Many things were accomplished under the leadership of Pastor Coffee. One significant event was the acquisition of the property located at 1236 Grand Avenue. The building was converted by members of the congregation and was named the Martin Luther King Building. Some Sunday school classes were held there and it was also the location of the Fellowship Hall.
Tragedy and opportunity struck Community Baptist Church in 1985 when fire destroyed a substantial part of the sanctuary. The Sonoma County community and Christian friends throughout the Bay Area and the country rallied to support the church in its time of need. The Martin Luther King Building became the worship center while the church building was being restored.
As a result of the fire, in 1987 Community Baptist purchased the property at 1620 Sonoma Avenue from the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. We leased the building to them while their new facility was being completed. On Sunday, September 9, 1990, after a prayer of thanksgiving, the congregation formed a motor caravan from 1228 Grand Avenue to 1620 Sonoma Avenue and at 10:00 am the first service was held at the new location. With its ever-growing membership, Community Baptist Church, under Pastor Coffee's leadership continued to serve the community in many ways.
A full range of spiritual, educational and community programs were put in place. Bible Studies are held Tuesday through Friday evenings, and at noon on Wednesday. Other programs of the church include: The Village Project - a program designed to mentor youth up to the age of 13. This group uses the motto: "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child." We provide facilities for “Headstart”, a day care center for low income families. The church participated in supporting the Redwood Gospel Mission.
In August, 1997 Community Baptist Church was honored by the Southern Baptist Convention as the first Black congregation admitted into the organization in 160 years. For over 20 years we have sponsored the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration, and in 1999 we organized a mentoring program for youth 14 to 18 years of age called "Rites Of Passage." The young people are taught life skills and principles. Community Baptist organized "Race Equality Week. We have a "community garden" on our South Park property. The church was active in the "Hate Free Community project."
The church sponsors the "Kenyan Project," and in 2004 a clinic was completed in Kenya. Members of the congregation traveled to Kenya to assist with the building and completion of the clinic. Kenya suffered a drought in June of 2006, and was unable to grow corn, which is a staple for them. Community Baptist Church's Kenyan Project held a fundraiser and tons of corn was purchased and sent to Kenya. In 2007 the church began raising funds to enlarge the Kenyan church. The project is ongoing. The Dr. James E. Coffee Learning Center was established in the summer of 2003. At the Southern Baptist Convention held in June 2007, Community Baptist was honored as one of the churches with the most baptisms for 2006-2007.
God has blessed Community Baptist with multiple properties. Through faithful stewardship the final payment on the church property located at 1620 Sonoma Avenue was made in September 2007. A Mortgage Burning service was held during morning worship on Sunday, October 7, 2007. We have added to our music ministry a choir named "The Anointed Ones." This group is composed of members who are developmentally challenged who are dedicated to do the work of the Lord and love to sing praises from their hearts.
On April 6, 2010, our beloved pastor of 48 years, Rev. James E. Coffee, went to be with the Lord.
We celebrated his life on April 12, 2010.
In August 2010 God again enabled us to make the final payment on two of the properties located on Bobelaine Drive. In November 2010, Community Baptist Church elected Rev. H. Lee Turner as Pastor. Community Baptist Church proudly installed Rev. H. Lee Turner as our new Pastor on March 6, 2011. In 2011 “Prayer Saturday @ 7:00 pm” was established. In 2012 a check for $15,000.00 from the proceeds of the Katrina relief was presented to the Red Cross.
Because Community Baptist Church is such a driving force in the community, the Church motto:
“A Friendly Church for a Growing Community" is well known throughout Sonoma County.
We are truly grateful to God for his many blessings and we will continue to worship Him in spirit and in truth. We give Him all the praise and all the glory for it is by His grace and mercy that,
"We Have Come This Far by Faith."