By Carole Dortch-Wright, M.A., Cathedral International’s Director of Communication
PERTH AMBOY – “108 years of reputable ministry in the community of Perth Amboy is a milestone worth celebrating,” said Bishop Donald Hilliard, II, senior pastor at Cathedral International, the historic Second Baptist Church. This year marks 108 years since a group of 35 African Americans started church services in the basement of the predominately white congregation at First Baptist Church in Perth Amboy. This 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 108 – 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 108 year existence; 1957, they purchased a red-brick church at 101 Broad St; 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. “And today in the throes of this economic downturn, with the help of Almighty God, we forge forward, to continue that same focus of serving people.”
A festive celebration which includes multi-generations of members will take place at both 8:30 and 11 a.m., Sunday worship services, Oct. 7, at 277 Madison Avenue. Everyone is invited to the 108 year church anniversary celebration.
Additional information about the anniversary is available by calling 1-732-826-5293. Cathedral’s website provides details of the 108 year journey, its mission, ministries and its current vision.