PERTH AMBOY – In 1892, 35 African Americans started church services in the basement of the predominately white congregation at First Baptist Church in Perth Amboy. As history would have it, the founding group was forced to establish a separate church in a different location. Today that church is Cathedral International, formally the historic Second Baptist Church.
Over its 107- year history, 13 pastors have navigated the course of this progressive body of Christian believers. In 1901, members moved to their first mission at 315 Front Street; 1904, they purchased a building on Gordon Street and officially dedicated it as the Second Baptist Church which marked the beginning of the 107 year existence; 1957, they purchased a red-brick church at 101 Broad Street; 1990, the former Majestic Theater was purchased, renovated and in 1992 services began (277 Madison Avenue) where Cathedral International is located today.
When Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr., became the pastor, October 1983, the church had a membership of 125. Under his visionary leadership, unprecedented growth occurred and today it is a 5,000-member, multigenerational, multicultural church serving the communities of Perth Amboy, Asbury Park and Plainfield. American Baptist Churches, USA, a mainline Baptist Christian denomination, designated Cathedral International as a model for church growth.
“Serving the needs of the congregation and the community was the focus of this great church in its inception,” said Bishop Hilliard. “107 years later with needs and challenges being much greater, we forge forward with the help of Almighty God, to continue that same focus of serving people.”
Everyone is invited to the 107 year church anniversary celebration which takes place at both 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., Sunday worship services, Oct. 30 at 277 Madison Avenue.
A detailed review of the church history, its mission and ministries are available at www.cathedralinternational.org.
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