In the late 1800's Presbyterian lay missionaries began to preach to the community at weekly outdoor services or in the old White School. In 1900 Miss Margaret MacKay began a Sunday School. Three years later in 1903, seven members of the Black community constituted themselves as the Second Baptist Church as part of the African Baptist Churches of Nova Scotia. These seven charter members were John J. Williams, Mrs. Henrietta Jordan, J. W. Borden, W. Borden, Mrs. Susanne Reddick, Fred Sheppard and Mrs. M. J. Borden.
Rev. William A. White assisted the church organizers. A lot of land for a sanctuary was purchased on Washington Street and a small church was constructed. Rev. White later became the first Black Captain as an army officer in World War I.
In 1906 Rev. Wellington N. States began a productive thirteen year pastorate with the congregation. Under his direction the original structure was moved to the back of the church lot and a larger structure was opened in 1913 to serve a growing congregation. These years were not easy. Community funds were difficult to come by and Rev. States himself lived very frugally, depending on his congregation to provide for his needs.
Following Rev. States, several pastors worked to keep the small church alive. In the late 1920's and again from 1934 to 1945 Miss Agnes Waring, a Home Missionary, served as Pastor. Under her guidance the church flourished. It became a center of the Black community. Since the Blacks in New Glasgow were not permitted to join most community organizations, they began to develop their own. The Baptist Young Peoples Union (B.Y.P.U.) was formed in the early 1920's as an organization that gave the young people a place to go to share ideas, have fun and learn. Annual Oratorical contests organized through the B.Y.P.U. were held for many years. One winner, Peter Paris (1951) went on to win the Maritime Baptist Convention Trophy, the first African Baptist to do so. Under the direction of Howard Lawrence as Club Master, a Club Pack was formed in 1930, followed by a Scout Troop under R. K. Delong in 1936, the 8th New Glasgow. A Girl Guides group was formed under the umbrella of the Girl Guides of Canada and is considered the first all Black Guide Organization in Canada. The original leaders were Mrs. Julia Jordan and Mrs. Ronald Henderson. Along with the Guides, Dr. Carrie Best organized a Brownie Pack. In 1938 a Canadian Girls in Training (C.G.I.T.) group was formed. Its purpose,
"To cherish health, seek truth, know God and serve others and thus with God's help become the girl God would have me be".
This organization remained active for the next fifty years with Helen Lawrence as one of the first leaders and Catherine Clark continuing as a leader form 1950 to 1987. Throughout the years the Sunday School continued, for thirty years under the direction of Deacon John Williams. He was followed by several Superintendents, including Deacon Norman Williams, Deacon Howard Lawrence, Deacon Gordon Clark, Mary Amaker and Deacon Catherine Clark. All of these organizations helped lift the spirits and self esteem of the community's youth. The motto of another church organization, the World Wide Guild (Busy Hands) perhaps described this best:
"Worthwhile Girls of the World Wide Guild working with God for the whole world's good".
Meanwhile, adult church groups were formed, the first in 1924, The Women's Missionary Society. A Men's Brotherhood was formed about 1935, again under the leadership of Miss Waring. These organizations worked hard for their church, particularly in raising much needed funds. Each summer for many years a community picnic was held, providing two meals and fun for all. Often "pie socials" were organized, where pies were and cakes made by the ladies were auctioned. Although the ladies of the church always helped, a formal Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1946. The women of the church were, and in many ways still are, the foundation of the church's spirit. Following World War II, Reverend Donald Thomas came to New Glasgow to lead the Second Baptist congregation. His was the longest tenure of all the Church's pastors, 39 years. These were years of growth and improving economic prosperity for the Church and the community. With the help of the many dedicated volunteers, the focus on youth activities and community fellowship continued. The church choir became an important part of the community and evolved from time to time into well known chorus groups. Two of the best known were the "Step-a-Head-Male Chorus organized by Joseph Taylor and the "Pleasure Singers" organized by Carrie Best. In 1950 the "Mixed Chorus" was formed under the direction of Norman Robson, with Aleta Williams as pianist. They travelled to churches throughout Pictou County as well as other parts of the province and became well known down through the years. People like William (Billy) Borden, Howard Lawrence, John Reddick and Gordon Clark were known as the "Male Quartet", another very popular group from Second Baptist.
In July 1984, the original Second Baptist Church burned to the ground, a turning point for the congregation. Within a year ground was broken on the original Washington Street site for a modern new structure, built to shore-up the Black community through the ups and downs of the years to follow. The names of the Ministers who served Second Baptist Church are as follows:
Rev. W. N. States (1906 - 1919)
Rev. A. W. Thompson (1919 - 1921)
Rev. M. P. Montgomery (1921 - 1923)
Rev. W. C. Perry (1923 - 1925)
Miss Agnes Waring (1926 - 1930; 1934 - 1945)
Dr. J. I. Rodney (1930)
Rev. A. N. Morgan
Rev. W. P. Oliver (Summer Student)
Lic. Kenneth Miller (Summer 1941)
Rev. H. Donald Thomas (1946 - 1985)
Rev. Ogueri James Ohanaka (1986 - 1990)
In 1986 Reverend Thomas was succeeded by Reverend Ogueri James Ohanaka who left the church in1990 to become the Executive Director of the Black United Front in Halifax.