Our Church History
Historical Highlights of Providence Baptist Church of San Francisco
Rev. F.B. Banks
Rev. Clinton Rogers
Rev. Calvin Jones, Sr.
Rev. Calvin Jones, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Leroy E. Adams, Jr.
Reflecting on the remarkable journey of the last 80 years of our church, we pause to give God all the glory, while honoring the wisdom and faith of those who established this great Church. In 1943, Reverend Freeman Boyd Banks of Omaha, NE, alongside Brother and Sister Pough, convened in a café to address the need for a black church in the South of Market area. The Washington Hotel on 4th Street became the gathering point, marking the establishment of Providence Baptist Church of San Francisco, where the inaugural worship service took place on March 7th within the hotel's lobby.
Historical records show that in response to the growth in membership, the Old Majestic Theater at 365 3rd Street was rented for services and they remained there for six years. Reverend Banks began organizing and developing ministries.
Reverend Banks served as Pastor until January 31, 1953, a period marked by the words of Psalms 122:7 KJV – "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." On May 2, 1953, Reverend Clinton W. Rogers was elected as the new Pastor. The congregation's spiritual growth prompted the need for a new place of worship, and with an initial contribution of $105.00, a "Building" Fund was established. By August 1958, the land at 1601 McKinnon Avenue was secured, marking the genesis of our present home, to God be the Glory.
Our New Church
May 3, 1959 marked the realization of a cherished dream as we joyfully entered our newly established church home; as this journey was fueled by a shared vision. Reverend Rogers served until 1961, and during this time of transition, Rev. J.A. Hester stepped into the role of Minister-In-charge. On July 28, 1962, a new chapter began as Associate Minister Reverend Calvin Jones Sr. was elected as our Pastor, igniting a fresh era of purpose and leadership.
Under the guidance of Pastor Jones Sr., significant milestones were achieved, including the triumphant retirement of a $250,000 mortgage. In May of 1975, our dedicated Education & Recreational Center stood as a testament to our growth. The acquisition of two vans and the establishment of parking lots on 3rd Street (the current location of Providence Senior Housing) and Mendell Street showcased our expanding vision.
Amid our continuous growth, ministries flourished, and a sacred sense of purpose thrived. Reverend Emmitt Watkins received ordination, and the esteemed Deacons Booker Blake, James F. Blanding, Abe Currington, Curtis Davis, and John F. Smith were ordained, leaving a lasting impact on our community. Notably, Reverend Calvin Jones Jr. was elected as our first Assistant Pastor. On December 30, 1990, we bid farewell to a transformative era as Reverend Calvin Jones Sr. retired, leaving a legacy of dedication and service.
Passing of the Torch
From January 1st to March 22, 1991, Reverend Calvin Jones Jr. served as the Interim Pastor, officially installed as Pastor on May 5, 1991. With a profound love for all people, Pastor Jones Jr. spearheaded a remarkable expansion of our ministries, reaching across the City and County of San Francisco. The church's endeavors encompassed Substance Abuse Counseling, a Tutorial Program for children, Scholarships, Wednesday Mid-day Prayer sessions, Homeless Feeding initiatives, Prison Ministry, and Welfare to Work Programs. On November 21, 1993, a significant milestone was achieved as all debts for the Educational & Recreation Building were retired. His tenure also witnessed the installation of twelve new Deacons, including Everette Patton Jr., James Evans, Joe Cooks, K.D. Davis, Bruce Kelly, and Nathaniel Jones, Alonzo Gallaread, Terry L. Mitchell, Petty J. Randall, Cornelius Wise, Donald Whiteside and Lee Boone. Notably, on November 11, 2007, Rev. Tanya Aminisha Smith preached her first sermon and was officially licensed.
After an impactful 26-year tenure, Pastor Jones Jr. announced his retirement on March 16, 2016, with the effective date set for March 2017. On April 1, 2017, Reverend Timothy E. Gray was elected to serve as our Minister-In-Charge, overseeing the transitional period until a new pastor was elected. During this period, Deacon Donald Whiteside was installed under Reverend Gray's leadership. Reverend Timothy E. Gray served until the arrival of Pastor Elect, Rev. Dr. Leroy E. Adams Jr. from Omaha, Nebraska on May 2, 2020.
However, prior to the arrival of Pastor Adams, the Mayor of San Francisco issued a "Shelter-In-Place" Directive to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the City of San Francisco. This pivotal moment brought about an unprecedented situation as the church had to close its doors. To adapt to the circumstances, online communication tools became instrumental in facilitating prayer, bible study, and sermons.
On May 2, 2020, Pastor-Elect, the Rev. Dr. Leroy E. Adams Jr. arrived in San Francisco during the pandemic to serve. On Sunday, May 3rd Rev. Dr. Adams preached his first sermon from St John 9:1-7, entitled, “Let’s Get It Done” on social media and via telephone with the spirit of God and an attitude of excellence to elevate and encourage everyone. Rev. Dr. Adams was installed as Pastor of Providence Baptist Church of San Francisco the same year on October 11, 2020.
Throughout his three and a half years as Pastor, transformative changes have unfolded. Our congregation now gathers in the sanctuary for fellowship, symbolizing a return to a sense of normalcy. In a heartening display of community support, our Food Pantry operates every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. The Prayer Line, conducted on Mondays and Fridays at 7:00 am, has expanded into a virtual space of shared faith, where compassionate voices uplift and support. Wednesday Bible Study sessions are now hosted at noon and 6:00 pm in the sanctuary, fostering a deeper connection to the word of God. On Thursdays, Pastor Adams goes live on Facebook to "Share the Word," engaging and enlightening our virtual audience.
The ministries within the church are currently being reshaped to improve their effectiveness, while new ministries have also been introduced. This dynamic evolution is an ongoing endeavor, and there are more exciting developments and opportunities to look forward to in the months ahead.
In 2023, the church launched an exciting rebranding marketing campaign to showcase the church's growth, values, and mission in a contemporary light. The website has been updated, while the logo has been thoughtfully reimagined to mirror a fresh perspective. Expanding the church's digital presence, additional social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter have been established to enhance our online presence.
Our Pastor is a visionary with strong leadership skills, who will preach the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ, teach sound Biblical Doctrine, provide spiritual leadership and most of all he loves the Lord Jesus Christ & Providence Baptist Church. The impact of Pastor Adam's leadership is notably evident because souls have been added, saved and baptized along with babies being blessed.
Under the Pastoral leadership of Rev. Dr. Adams, our accomplishments extend across various domains. These include the formation of a Greeters ministry, the ordination of two Deacons (Bro. Eldridge Anthony & the late Bro. Dwight Durley), the installation of a new roof, comprehensive ventilation system cleaning, the renovation of the education wing, the social hall's kitchen, men's restroom downstairs, and the social hall itself. Further milestones include: created a Deacon's care ministry, established a Vision to Restoration fund, redeveloped our new orientation members class, created a new mission, vision, and motto statement, wrote an original welcome song, purchased a new organ & piano, installed a new projection screen, upgraded our sound & video production equipment, hired a media production agency for the media ministry, installed a new security system, hired an interim Director of Music, established local Mission work at the Malcolm X Academy, became a polling site for district voters, and we finally transformed the stained-glass window depiction of Jesus to a darker hue in the sanctuary.
In closing, as we reflect upon our church’s history, our hearts overflow with gratitude, we thank you Lord for our remarkable 80-year journey,
You’ve been our guiding light,
You’ve been leading us and guiding us, along the path that’s bright
You have brought us from a mighty long way.
As we are Thankful for the Past, and Rejoice today and prepare for the future,
We pray that God will keep us humble, loving and UNITED as one!