Early Part of 1877 to December 2005
Reverend Henry Watts, coming to Houston in the early part of 1877 , joined the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Later in the year, he began to hunt for his soldiers. Stopping at a Commerce Street building, known as the Hide House, he marshaled his forces there for about three and a half years. Thus was the beginning of Watts Chapel , later known as Fourth Missionary Baptist Church. The person who helped organize the church was Reverend Henry Watts, Reverend Dr. Viney, Reverend Archie Wheatley, Reverend J. R. Lofton and others. Then Reverend Watts moved his flock to Dowling and Lamar Street where they camped and begin to foster plans to build. The building was erected in 1882.
Reverend Watts pastured until 1900 when the church was destroyed by a storm. Then Reverend Watts marshaled his flock to the corner of Dallas and Dowling Street until his health began to fail causing him to resign. In 1910 the church was rebuilt under the pasturage of Reverend L. L. Nelson. During the 1911, the church was destroyed by fire causing the flock to wander for a while having no pastor. During the latter part of 1911, Reverend H. B. Southern took charge of the flock and under his leadership in 1913; the old Watts Chapel was rebuilt and called the Fourth Missionary Baptist Church.
After about three years of faithful service to the church in 1914 Reverend Southern resigned and the church was under the supervision of the Deacon Board. In 1917, Rev. Sims of Louisiana was called to pastor the he pastured for about a year. In 1918 the organization called Reverend Hayward, who held the forces together for about another year after which he too went out like a light. In 1920 Reverend Lennard was called to take charge of the church and he served six months.
In 1920 Reverend Wells was elected pastor and he served for about three years which was the early part of 1923. On August 19, 1923 Reverend A. H. Branch was called to pastor the church which was still standing it's ground on Dowling and Lamar Street.In 1927 under the leadership of Reverend A. H. Branch the church was rebuilt at 3012 Pierce Avenue. The church made splendid progress under the leadership of Reverend A. H. Branch and he pastured the church until his Homegoing on January 7, 1932.
On January 15, 1932 the Reverend E. S. Branch , the stalwart son of the late Reverend A. H. Branch was called to pastor the church. Beginning with a membership of about seventy-five active members, Reverend E. S. Branch at once went to work and in a short time had liquidated the church of a $2,000.00 debt. Although Reverend Branch was a young inexperienced man (as some thought him to be) his only thought was to build up the church and complete the great work started by his father. During the years 1933 through 1939, he spent his time reviving the church to a point where the members had a mind to work. The membership began to increase and the spirituality of the church began to take new life.
Auxiliaries were organized and spirit filled leaders appointed. Auxiliaries organized and re-organized during this period were the Deacon Board was organized in 1932 with eight members with Bro. D. w. Mac Washington as chairman. After Bro. Mac Washington answered the call to the ministry, Bro. John Addison was then appointed chairman and Bro. Sullivan Wells Vice Chairman. The following deacons were appointed in succession, either because of deaths or the moving of membership: Bro. Hamlin Goffney, Sr. and Bro. M. W. Anderson. Bro. Morgan Word currently serves as Chairman of the Deacon Board.
The Brotherhood then known as the Laymen League was organized in 1932 holding their meetings on Sunday afternoon at the church. Growing numerically and spiritually, the pastor divided the organization into circles holding meetings in various homes on Wednesday nights. Presidents from 1932 to present are: Bro Thomas Jones, Bro Isaiah Brown, Bro G. M. Relerford, Bro. James Lewis, Bro Dave Whitehead, Bro. O´Neal Mattis, Bro. Flenoy Hill and Bro. Oscar King. The current president is Bro. Ollie Lovings.
The Senior Mission was organized in 1932 with Sis. Annie Beyers as President. After her tenure of several years, Sis Ruth Jones became President. Changes took place in the Senior Mission, Sis. Laura Bell was appointed and served until 1938 when Sis. J. B. Randle was appointed to serve with Sis. Estella Murray as Vice President. After Sis. Randle´s demise, Sis. Murray because of poor health and age was appointed Vice President Emeritus and Sis. Honorene Harris was appointed President of Mission #1 formerly known as Senior Mission. After Sis. Honorene Harris death, Sis. Oree Harris was appointed President and served until her resignation. Sis. Ida Evans is currently President of Mission #1.
The Church School was organized in 1932 with Bro. T. R. Frazier who served for more than thirty years as Superintendent. After his demise, Bro. John H. Williams was appointed General Superintendent and he is currently serving in this office with Bros. Lee Tanner, Charles Smith, George Buckner and Charles Simon as Assistant Superintendents.
The Baptist Young Peoples Union (B.Y.P.U.) later known as the Baptist Training Union (B.T.U.) was organized in 1932. The following served as Presidents: Bro. John Guess was the president with Bros. Albert Chew, Harvey Strain and Waymon Yancey following. The current director is Bro. Robert McCray.
Choir #1 was organized in 1932 with Bro. T. R. Frazier as president in 1949. This choir was renamed the Crusade Choir several presidents have served. They are Bros. John Aaron and Felix Williams the current president. This choir grew under many musicians namely, Sisters Zearline Williams, Mary Clayton Johnson, Goldene Penn, Josephine Smalley and Vivian Chadwick.
Usher Board #1 was organized in 1932 with Sis. Lela White president. The Board was divided into two groups. Sis. White president of the women and Bro. B. W. Green president of the men. Later Bro. Green was appointed president of broth men and women until moving his membership. Bro. William Dixon was appointed president and Bro. Nelson Mayes, vice Bro. Dixon served for about three years before vice Bro. R. L. Keener was president after Bro. Mayes. The current president of Usher Board #1 is Bro. James Williams.
The Nurse Board was organized in 1932. The first president was Sis. Lula Green serving for a number of years. She was succeeded by Sis. Ollie T. Williams. The Board was organized for the purpose of caring for the members of the church that gave vent to their feelings and seeing that these members were properly cared for. They also were to help care for the small children in the service of the church. Fourth Missionary was the first to have a Nurse Board in the City of Houston. Sis. Ora Lee Faniel served as president also the current president of Nurse Board #1 is Sis. Vivian Thompkins.
The Deaconess Board was organized in 1934 with nine members in the organization. The members of the Deaconess Board are wives of the Deacons. Sis. Daisy Addison was the first chairperson of the Board. As the Deacon Board grew so did the Deaconess Board. Succeeding sis. Additon was Sis. Uralee Anderson until she moved her membership. Sis. Hollis Word is the current chairperson of the Deaconess Board.
Still on Pierce Avenue from 1933 to 1939, many improvements were made on the church building. Pews were added at the cost of $1,250.00 cash. During the year of 1940, further improvements were made to the church and new equipment purchased: a two-story educational building was erected on a cash basis at $1,100.00; installation of a Hammond-Solovox Organ and the purchasing of the lot adjacent to the church building on Pierce Avenue for $1,000.00, which was soon paid for on December 8, 1941. A church kindergarten was opened, the first among black churches in Houston and it continued for many years with a large enrollment. During 1941, the old financial program was put aside and the entire church was put on the tithing basis.
In 1942 the church spent approximately $2,000.00 cash for repairs on the church and its properties. In August 1942 the church entertained the State Sunday School and B.Y.P.U. Congress of the General Baptist Convention of Texas. No admission was charged for the Congress Musical a first in the History of the Congress. During 1942, more money was raised by God's plan (Tithing - Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house?. "Saith the Lord of hosts"
Because of the huge number of women in the Mission Society, Pastor Branch, in 1938, organized Mission #2 with Sis. Eddie Mae Harris, President and Sis. Willie M. Polk Vice President. Sis. Harris served until the Lord called her home. Sis. Zearline Barnes took up the leadership with Sis. Verda R. Donovan as Vice President. When Sis. Barnes answered the call, Pastor Houston appointed Sis. Celestine Neal President and she is the current President.
In 1943 the church opened a Well Baby Clinic with City Nurse and Doctor. Also the church, seeing the need of the Pastor having an assistant, selected Reverend Harold T. Branch as the regular paid Assistant Pastor from June until September. When he left to continue his Theological studies at Andover-Newton Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, Reverend G. M. Relerford was appointed Assistant Pastor and he served until he was called to pastor in Elgin, Texas.
The Men Chorus was organized in February 1943 with a small group of Men. Bro. Jim Shivers President and Sis. Mary Clayton-Johnson Pianist/Directress. In September Bro. Shivers answered the Lord's call to come home and Bro. Leon Whitehead was appointed President and Sis. Lucille P. Lewis was serving as Pianist/Directress at this time. In 1961 Sis. Losie B. Walker was employed as Pianist/Directress and Bro. Earl Brooks was President. The current President is Bro. Tommy Evans, Sr. and Bro. Erwin Brown Pianist/Director.
The Celestial Choir was also organized in 1943. It was known as Choir #2 with Bro. John Crawford President and Sis. Erma Tyler Pianist/Directress. Bro. Crawford was called to the Armed Services and Vice President Bro. Hampton Mitchell was appointed President. The choir continued to grow in membership and during 1946 Sis. Lucille Lewis was added to the official staff as Pianist/Directress. In 1949 the name changed took place from Choir #2 to Celestial Choir. In 1961 Sis. Losie B. Walker assumed the position of Pianist/Directress of the Celestial Choir. At that time, Bro. Morgan Word served as Vice President of the choir.
In 1944 the church did more for mission and education. At the celebration of the church's 67thAnniversary, the guest speaker was the Dr. G. L. Prince, President of the National Baptist Convention of America and the President of Mary Allen College. During 1944, the church purchased a new site for the church at a cost of $5,000.00 cash.
In 1945 the Young Ladies Missionary Society was organized consisting of young ladies 18-30 years of age with Sis. Lou Wilda Daniels, President and Sis. Ruth Murray Vice President. After one year Sis. Ruth Murray was appointed President and Sis. Olevia Franklin Vice President. The following persons have serviced as Presidents of the organization: Sis. Bobbye Williams-Harris, Sis. Annie B. Demery and Sis. Eleanor Patricia Johnson. The current President is Sis. Madelyn Washington.
In 1945 in keeping with the recommendations of the Pastor and Deacon Board, the church launched a $70,000.00 Building Fund Campaign. Plans were made for the building of a new edifice. The blue prints were drawn for the new building and on February 1st the contractors began to work. The tabernacle that stood on the old church site at 3012 Pierce Avenue was built. On April 1, 1945 we marched into the Tabernacle dedicated to God as a place of worship.
The old church was torn down and the foundation of the new church started. Because the decision, as to whether Highway 45 would run down Pierce Avenue or not was unsettled, the work on the new building was stopped for a few weeks. On June 12, 1944, a special meeting was held for the purpose of deciding the future site of the church. The membership voted that the new church would be located on the site purchased in 1943. On June 12, 1945 the foundation for the new church was begun at 2708 Webster Street where the work continued until completion.
In January 1946, the Ladies Chorus was organized with Sis. Lucille P. Lewis Pianist. It was known as the Special Chorus. There were ten members in the chorus. In 1947 the Pastor made the Special Chorus an auxiliary of the church and changed the name to the Ladies Chorus. There have been several pianists for the Ladies Chorus namely: Sis. Josephine Smalley, Sis. Goldene Penn, Sis. Erma Branch, Sis. Vivian Chadwick and Bro. Michael Cleveland. Members serving as Presidents were: Sis. Chris tine Butler and Sis. Verda Ree Donovan. The current President is Sis. Charlene Jones and Sis. Emery Payne is Pianist/Directress.
The Cornerstone of the new church was laid on April 28, 1946 by the Heights Lodge #380 F & AM. Rev. L. V. Bolton, Pastor of Mt. Corinth, delivered the sermon. We entered the church on September 29, 1946 and on October 20, 1946 the new church was dedicated as a place of worship. Reverend L. H. Simpson, Pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church delivered the sermon.
Usher Board #2 was organized in the basement of the church on November 25, 1946. There were only fourteen members present with Bro. Daniel Austin appointed President. The Board made its first appearance on the Pastor's Fifteenth Anniversary, January 26, 1947. The current President is Bro. Nelson Tanner, Jr.
The Gospel Choir was organized in 1946, with Bro. Dave Whitehead President and Sis. Bernice Smith, pianist. The purpose of the choir was to sing on Tuesday nights. During prayer meeting and teaching services, also during the Lord's Prayer. This group served well its purpose and as the membership grew larger and stronger, the Pastor decided to have them sing along with the other singing groups on Sunday. Others serving as President were: Bro. Willie Ball, Bro. William Gibbs and Bro. J. D. Davis with Sis. Emery Payne, Pianist/Directress.
The Junior Choir was organized in 1946 with Sis. Myrtle S. Williams Directress. Bro. Ross Goffney, President and Sis. Losie Dee Branch, Pianist. As members aged they were transferred to the Intermediate Choir and new members were added to the Junior Choir. Today the Junior Choir is apart of the Combined Youth Choir singing on the Third Sunday of each month. Other musicians were Sis. Jackie Brannon, Sis. Ardener Murray and Bro. Michael Cleveland.
The church program continued to progress under the leadership of Pastor Branch with all auxiliaries functioning and in 1947 the church celebrated the 70th Anniversary with guest ministers: Reverend W. S. Brent, moderator of St. John Landmark Association and Pastor of St. James Baptist Church of Ft. Worth, Texas and Reverend Dr. Henry Allen Boyd, Founder of Henry Allen Boyd Publishing Company.
In early 1949, the church unveiled Pastor Branch's portrait, now hanging in the vestibule of the church. Also in 1949, the church began radio broadcasting "The Chariot Wheel Program" from the auditorium of the church. In 1949 the Young Folk's Choir was organized with Bro. Lloyd King President and Sis. Erma Branch Pianist/Directress. Several musicians have served namely: Sis. Mary Goffney Brannon, Sis. Vivian Chadwick and Sis. Emery Payne. The current musicians are Sis. Ardener Franshaw Pianist and Bro. Erwin Brown Organist and Reverend Johnathan Taylor Director. Matron/Supervisors serving were: Sis. J. O. Williams, Sis. Hollis Word, Sis. Patricia Frazier and Sis. Erma Williams. The current Matron/Supervisors are: Sis. Ida Evans, Sis. Charles Etta Bernard, Sis. Tonya Houston and Sis. Rhonda Spriggs, Youth Directress. In the same year 1949 and into 1950 the Youth Usher Board was organized with Bro. Ernest McIntyre Director and Sis. Ruth Seals Matron. The current President is Bro. Charles Smith, Bro. with Cedric Lofton Director. Matrons are: Sis. Ollie Dixon, Sis. Lovie Smith and Jackie McCoy.
In 1950 the first church organized under the auspices of 4th Missionary was the Bella Vista Baptist church with the late Reverend George Nickerson, Sr. Pastor.
In 1951 the hour of worship changed to Sunday School started at 9:15 A.M. and Worship Service at 10:30 A.M.
In 1952, the Women's and Men's Annual Days began with the program consisting of those members not regular workers in either organization. A Fellowship Banquet was held for every member of the church. An Educational Program for the youth of the church began meeting each Monday evening in the Educational Building.
During 1953 the church was noted for the following: Rebuilt five times, nine Pastors with the late Reverend E. Stanley Branch having the longest tenure, fifteen ministers receiving licenses to preach, nine ministers ordained and the church was free of debt.
In 1934 Sis. Naomi Murray-Brooks was hired as the first salaried secretary of the church, succeeding Sis. Arie Cohen. After 20 years of service in 1954 Sis. Brooks resigned. Other secretaries have been: Sis. Fracine Arwine, Sis. Ethel Rideaux, Sis. Rosie Thompson, Sis. Delores Tarver-Smith, Sis. Bernice Ray, Sis. Vernastine Sherman, Sis. Ella Mae Williams and Sis. Shonda Houston. Sis. June Allen is the present secretary of the church.
In 1956 a total of 486 new members were added the church roll and in 1957 a total of 324 new members were added to the church roll.
In 1958 Pastor Branch found it necessary for property expansion, so on April 17, 1958 the property adjoining the church was purchased for $20,000.00 and on September 22 the adjoining lots at 2705 Webster were purchased for $17,500.00. Monitors were purchased to be placed in the basement of the church for those unable to be seated in the main auditorium, costing $1,527.40; chairs were purchased. On April 28, the lots at 2705 Webster were paid for. Other improvements were: new carpet for the church and Pastor's Study; banquet tables were made; church was painted; new windows added; and remodeling of the Educational Building. In the same year, the church entertained the Independent Missionary Baptist General Association of Texas' Golden Anniversary, Pastor Branch Moderator. On December 10 on the 84th Anniversary of the church, the Educational Building at 2705 Webster was dedicated as the A.H. Branch Memorial Hall with Reverend H. T. Branch, Pastor of St. John Baptist of Corpus Christi, Texas delivering the sermon.
On December 4, 1961 Pastor Branch enrolled the church in the H.O.P.E. Plan of Expansion, Mr. B. Stute, Financial Vice President. Because of the Pastor's vision to build a new edifice for the worship service, he was able to secure a loan for a quarter of a million dollars from H.O.P.E.
In 1962 the lots adjoining the church were paid for and on Sunday, November 4 groundbreaking ceremonies for the new church were held. 1st Spade - Pastor Branch, 2nd Spade - Bro. M. W. Anderson, 3rd Spade - Br. W. E. Owens representing God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. The new building was under construction.
Prior to the entrance service in 1963, a week of services was held May 5 - 10. Ministers delivering the entrance services on Sunday May 6 were: Reverends A. A. McCordell, W. H. Banks, and A. E. Chew. Other notable ministers programmed for the week were: Reverends N. C. Crane, W. M. Bowie, N. T. Burks, L. P. Pointer, Percy L. Bryant, Calvin Scott, F. L. Dickey, N. S. Brown and H. L. Price.
In 1964 the church entertained The Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas during its 71stSession.
On May 16, 1965 Sis. Emery L. Payne, Minister of Music was presented in a church musical. Also the Pastor initiated a "Visitation Program." The purpose was to contact every member on the church roll. The Pastor held a month of instructions before members went into the field. 1967 was the beginning of Broadcasting on KLVL Radio Station from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday nights.
In 1968 a financial drive was conducted to raise funds to send five young people of the church to Jamaica along with other young messengers from churches in Independent Missionary Baptist General Association of Texas. These young people taught the gospel and spread it to those in foreign fields. In June five young people from our church namely, Travis McNeil, Thomas Mitchell, Rosie Davis, Mildred Smith and Eleanor Patricia Martin-Wilson, along with Sis. J. O. Williams as Matron went to Jamaica for their missionary work. During the summer Pastor Branch was chosen to represent the Baptist World as messenger in the Far East with the Bob Harrison Crusade. Upon his return, The Far East Club was organized in our church with Sis. Mary Randle as President. Also, during this time in November the church Music Department made its first LP album under the direction of Sis. Emery L. Payne.
1970 was a booming year in the history of this great church. Pastor Branch saw new visions and set out to bring a "Spiritual Revolution of Progress" in the church. They were: intense emphasis on Christian education and application in order that the membership might get the most out of worship service; revision of the church school educational program to include a greater variety of classes in the church school and training union; the addition of special counseling program to this congregation to help in daily and family living.
The involvement and outreach of the church in witnessing was at an all time high. In addition to our KCOH and KLVL Radio Broadcast, Pastor Branch led this ministry into a 50,000 Watts Broadcast each Sunday morning through Corpus Christi Radio Station KCTA. The Street Ministry was organized to meet on the Houston City Streets, preaching the gospel every Wednesday evening. The Food Clinic for the less fortunate was reorganized.
The following are some firsts for Black Baptist Churches initiated and carried out by Fourth Missionary under the leadership of Pastor Branch in the City of Houston, Texas: 1st Black Congregation to be accepted in the Union Baptist Association, a step in the total integration of the churches; 1st Black Crusade with Bob Harrison, Andre Crouch and the Disciples. A unique ministry resulting in the revival of the church but most of all rededication of the lives of many of our youth and adults; 1st Fourth Missionary Village Apartment Complex at $2,248,400.00. A great first in the history of the church, community and nation. The Board of Trustees signing on at this time were Pastor Branch, Chairman; Bro. Ernest McIntyre, Co-Chairman. Other Trustees were Brothers Daniel Austin, J. D. Davis and Nyle Churchwell. This project was apart of the Pastor's efforts to minister to the needs of the community by helping people realize God's broadness in the wholeness of life.
Reverend Ernest Gipson was hired as minister of Education where he served until called to Pastor Market Street Church in Galveston. Others serving as Educational Director were: Bro. Nyle Churchwell and Pastor Reverend W. F. Houston. The present Director is Reverend Vaughn Terry. Another first was the establishing of a twenty-four hour "Dial-A-Prayer Line" for those in need of prayer day or night.
In 1972 the Young Male Chorus was organized with Sis. Cleopus Sessions, Pianist/Directress. In 1975 the Branch Inspirational Choir was organized with Bro. Bruce Goffney President and Sis. Losie B. Walker Pianist/Directress. Sis. Darlene McNeil succeeded Bro. Goffney. The current President is Sis. Gwen Taylor and Bro. Erwin Brown Pianist/Director.
Also in the 1970's other accomplishments were made by the church showing God's blessings when doing His work for the Kingdom.
The Radio Ministry expanded to five stations per week. Three highway buses were purchased enabling the church to fellowship with other churches without distance being a factor. A purchase was made for new air conditioning and the lot directly behind the church for more parking facilities.
A "We Love You" Banquet, sponsored by the church, was given for Pastor Branch after he retired from the National Foreign Field. We became one of the first black churches to become a member of the Southern Baptist Convention where Pastor Branch served on the Board.
Also during this time, Pastor Branch discovered that the current parking space was not adequate; our parking problem was not solved. Because of the increase of the membership an additional lot was purchased. It is located on the corner of Sauer Street and Webster Avenue. New strides were taken to remodel the church: Carpeting for the basement, remodeling the old church, a separate air condition unit for the old church and gutters were installed at a cost of $20,500.00.
Because of the overwhelming number of men on Usher Boards 1 & 2, Pastor Branch organized and all male Usher Board. Usher Board #3 with Bro. Ernest McIntyre as President. This Board was to serve on the 3rd Sunday of each month. The current President is Bro. Isaac Polk. Nurse Board #2 was also organized. The current President is Sis. Dorothy Evans.
To show appreciation for steadfastness and the ability to work the program of the church, the officers of each auxiliary were given a plaque as a token of love and thanks. Sis. J. O. Williams was named the "Mother of the Year" and given a gold pin.
In 1977 the church held its 100th Year Centennial Banquet with Reverend E. V. Hill of Los Angeles as speaker. At the close of the 100 years of service, the church was grateful and thankful to God. You could say, "We have been rising, falling, sailing and sinking on the ship of God, but thanks be to God, all was well!"
A chain link fence was purchased and installed around the church to help secure the church and cars in the rear of the church.
1980 was the year Pastor Branch had a vision "to turn the ship around" because it was headed in the wrong direction. The ship was steered to go to God's plan for its progress, strength and growth. The Theme is "The bible's way is God's way and God's way is the Fourth Missionary Baptist Church's Way." The church then went back to God's tithing and offering program.
Many changes were made: All choirs would combine their efforts toward one musical instead of each choir having an individual musical. The Usher and Nurse Boards would celebrate their Annual Day together. Mission 1, 2 and the Young Ladies Missionary Society would combine their forces and celebrate what is now "Annual Women's Mission Day with the Presidents rotating as Chairperson each year.
The 1st Annual Church Foreign Mission Workshop was held October 18, 1980 with Reverend C. B. T. Smith as speaker.
With renewed vigor and a determination for more work for the Kingdom to be done, in 1980 Pastor Branch organized the "Youth-On-The-Move-For-Christ." The Master Training Class was organized with the purpose of keeping the leadership of the church abreast of the changing times for effective soul winning and witnessing. The highway buses were paid off.
On January 24, 1982 the church celebrated with Pastor Branch his year of Jubilee - 50 Years of Service to God and Mankind. A month of services was held starting on January 3, to January 23, 1982 praising the Lord for His goodness. Ministers along with their congregations who celebrated with us were: Reverends C. L. Jackson, S. H. Smith, W. L. Dunn and F. N. Williams. Sons of the church were Reverends A. c. Tryon and A. E. Chew. Other ministers of the city who joined in with us were: Reverends S. J. Gilbert, Joe E. Nelson, Asa Sampson, B. M. Reynolds and N. S. Brown. The Grand Day of Jubilee was Sunday, January 24, 1982 with Reverend O. C. Johnson, Pastor of Lyons Unity Baptist Church bring the word.
The Branch Inspirational Choir traveled to Panama for a gospel concert ministering in the foreign field through music. They were welcomed with open arms after a month's advance publicity the auditorium was packed.
Two new passenger vans were purchased to assist members needing transportation to and from the church. Pastor Branch set aside one hour from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. daily for members wanting to pray at the church. This has been continued with Wednesday being the designated day each week.
In July 1988 the church hosed the Independent Missionary Baptist General Association of Texas, Pastor Branch, Moderator. This session was considered to be the best attended to date.
In 1988 under the leadership of Pastor Branch the church bible Drill Team was organized. Deacons Mark Falls and Waymon Yancey were appointed Youth Directors of the Drill Team.
In October 1990 the Pastor and church along with Reverends N. S. Brown and M. B. Johnson jointly hosed the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas with the Pre-Convention musical held at the Sheraton Astrodome Hotel Ballroom.
In 1991 a great milestone was bestowed upon our church family. God granted our shepherd a 60thyear of pastorialship appropriately themed "Thank god I Made It." Giving us a great chance to share with the world yet another of God's blessings. For the entire year of 1991 there were monthly activities held in observance of our Pastor's 60th "Diamond Jubilee Anniversary." This gained recognition for Pastor Branch locally, statewide, nationally and worldwide as one of God's longest tenured pastors on the face of the earth at this time that we know of.
In the year of 1992 and a portion of 1993 it was a time of leaning and depending upon our Master of divine guidance. Pastor Branch for 61 plus years was ill and the church needed a spiritual leader during these times, a leader who had committed his life to God. Reverend Walter F. Houston was chosen to serve in this God anointed position. On May 20, 1993 Pastor Branch answered God's call to come home from 61 years of labor to a rich reward.
After the death of Pastor Branch, Reverend Walter F. Houston was Interim Pastor for six months and on November 28, 1993 the church voted 483 to 18 to turn the ship over to Reverend Walter F. Houston as the new pastor of 4th Missionary Baptist Church.
Under the leadership of Pastor Houston the Grand Old Lady has continued to be fed spiritually through the teaching and preaching of Pastor Houston. He has taken the helm and with a steady hand and good heart, God has blessed him to continue his plans.
In 1994 Pastor Houston challenged the Drill Team to prepare for the upcoming National Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress in Phoenix, Arizona. Immediately the Drill Team responded to the challenge an din the same year the Drill Team adopted the name "Disciples of Christ" Marching Drill Team with Sis. Shonda Houston Drill Captain. In September 1995 a Junior Drill Team was organized with Sis. Charlotte Carter Director. When Reverend Mark Falls accepted the pasturage of another church, Sis. Carter Succeeded Him as Director of the "Disciples of Christ" Dill Team.
Under the leadership of Pastor Houston who is staying on the course of God's plan, the Lord is blessing the church. Since he has been pastor 13, preachers have confessed their calling into the ministry. Many commitments have been made to Jesus Christ and many improvements have been made: a computer for the church secretary's office, new carpet for the main sanctuary, a new digital piano, new sound system, new roof and gutters and many improvements in the E. S. Branch Educational Building.
A tutorial program was started to help our young people and those needing help. The minister's wives auxiliary was organized with Sis. Gladys Houston President and Sis. Claudette Walker Vice President. A new van was purchased for out of town travel.
Building fund for the renovation of the E. S. Branch Educational Building was initiated and in September 1998 work began on the E. S. Branch Educational Building. All work has been completed including installation of a chair lift and elevator for our senior members. Also a new computer room was added that includes new computers. We thank God that none of the $391,000.00, the cost of the renovation, was borrowed.
A new Hammond organ was purchased for the Sanctuary.
In 2003 new stained glass windows were installed through the Sanctuary at a cost of $58,000.00. A door was put in at the northeast side of the Sanctuary and the educational building to provide access from the church to the Educational Building.
In January 2004 renovation started on the Sanctuary. Members purchased memorial name plates to be placed on the new pews. The pews were renovated with separation of the center aisle and upholstered, new tile coving for the sanctuary floor. Also during this year a new outreach program was started and instructions in computer usage class for the members and the community was established.
With all the renovations and additions made and completed, on Sunday October 31, 2004 at 3:30 p.m. rededicatory services of the E. S. Branch Educational Building were held. Reverend A. E. Chew, Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church of Ft. Worth, Texas and a son of the church delivered the sermon. After entering the Educational Building, Reverend Chew read the dedicatory litany along with the congregation.
STATEMENT OF REDEDICAITON
We rejoice in the completion of the project of renovation of our Educational Building. As we come together today - old friends and present members - we give thanks for this expression of God’s providence and Pastors Houston’s vision in a house for worship, fellowship, education and a home for our spiritual renewal!
Pastor Houston placed a portrait of the late Pastor Branch. Reverend Paul Nickerson, Pastor of 20thCentury Baptist Church of Houston, Texas as well as a son of the church, offered the dedicatory prayer.
In July 2004 Pastor Houston and the church family hosted the Independent Missionary Baptist General Association of Texas, Reverend F. N. Williams, Moderator.
On November 28, 2004, the church celebrated Pastor Houston’s 11th year of leading, teaching, and preaching for which we thank God.
On January 16, 2005 Pastor Houston installed Reverend Sammy Siverand as Pastor of the Mt. Rose Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.
On February 19, 2005 Pastor Houston and the church honored Sis. Emery Payne for 50 years of service at Fourth Missionary Baptist Church as the church Minister of Music and musician.
On April 17, 2005 the 1st “100 Women In Hats” program was held sponsored by Sis. Patricia Reed benefiting the church Scholarship Committee.
On October 15, 2005 the 1st Youth Fall Festival was held at the church to benefit the entire Youth Department trip to Nashville, Tennessee to attend the National Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress in 2006.
In October 2005 Pastor Houston and the church family hosted the 1st Southeast Region of the State Convention of Texas, named the E. S. Branch Institute.
On November 27, 2005 the church celebrated Pastor Houston´s 12th year of leading, teaching and preaching, for which we thank God. Yes this grand old lady is another year older and another year blessed.