OUR CHURCH HISTORY
Our church was named for the late Mr. Elburn Williams. He was a deacon and also chairman of the Building Fund at Williams Memorial Baptist Church. He departed this life on August 7, 1978 (both he and his wife, Zenobia, are pictured in our church's vestibule). As we organized, our meetings were held in their home. At that time there were only 27 charter members present.
We later moved our services to the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Melrose Ave. and 16th Street, NW, Roanoke, Virginia, on Sept. 17, 1978. The membership increased to 68. On January 30, 1979, we relocated to the St. John F and AAY Masonic Hall located at 533 Center Avenue, NW. It was not long afterwards on April 24, 1979, that the Pastorial Committe, as it was called at that time, voted to call Rev. Paul E. Johnson from New River Baptist Church to become the Pastor of Williams Memorial Baptist Church. On July 1, 1979, Rev Johnson assumed the duties as a full-time pastor. His Installation Service was on July 15, 1979 at our present location which was a purchased building that had previously been a Masonic Hall. Its purchase was made possible through the efforts of the late Mrs. Florence Snead.
On August 7, 1983, Williams Memorial Baptist Church held a ground-breaking ceremony to add a new sanctuary to the then existing building. During the construction of the new sanctuary that an 'ill wind' blew which on Sept 21, 1983 caused parts of the roofing to collapse resulting in the injury of one of the builders. Fortunately, he was not injured seriously. The work on the new sanctuary continued without a hitch and was completed. Our first service was held in our new sanctuary on Sunday, Feb. 12, 1984. The cornerstone laying ceremony was held on Saturday, April 7, 1984 and its dedication service was on Sunday, April 8, 1984. WMBC had a sister church in Africa for many years.
Rev. Johnson pastored Williams Memorial Baptist Church for 30 years until his retirement in 2010. His Christian leadership, guidance and devotion to WMBC has been outstanding! (Click to the right of each image to view.)