First Friendship Institutional Baptist Church
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was organized on August 18, 1946, under the leadership of Reverend Eli Leroy Evans Jr., in a store front at 1545-A Post Street, San Francisco, California, with three members: Rev. Evans, wife, Mrs. Millie G. Evans, and their baby daughter, Gladys Evans. The church was formally set up and dedicated by Reverends F.B. Banks and R.L. Turner
The Pastor’s other four children were the first members to join that Sunday night: Hazel Towner, James Evans, Johnnie M. Holt and Will A. Holt. From this number, the church began to grow; Leonard Wynn, Mrs. Mary Bowie and son Danny joined soon after and new members continued to come with every week. Mr. Wynn served as the first Sunday School Superintendent. Due to inadequate funds, Pastor Evans purchased the necessary church furniture and piano.
Mrs. Millie G. Evans organized the first choir with Sisters Bowie, Jean Austin, and Savannah Crawford. Mrs. Edythe Moore was the first pianist. Shortly afterwards Sister Moore and family joined the church followed by Willie Robinson, who served as the first Usher’s President. Mrs. Minnie P. Dixon and family united and was assigned the duties of Church Clerk and thereby served until her death in 1990. The duties of Church Clerk were then appointed to Kathleen D. Hicks. Calvin Moore, Isaiah Martin and Albert Reese were ordained as Deacons by Pastor Evans. Reverend W.R. McDonald joined in the late 1946 to assist with the spiritual growth of the membership. In 1948, Mrs. Agatha Conely, Mr. Herbert Cade, wife Ethel and their family joined the church. Brother Cade became the second Superintendent of the Sunday School.
In the early spring of 1947 Mrs. Evans became seriously ill and was hospitalized and incapacitated until May 1949 leaving Pastor Evans to be pastor, father and mother to their five children. Pastor Evans continued to put God first and presented the church motto: “follow me as I follow Christ” and in our fifth year we will build for the Lord a house.”
In a few short years, the church having outgrown its original place of worship and we moved to 1525-A Post Street. The building was leased for three years and we moved on December 24, 1949. Shortly before moving we held our first building fund drive, “Cyclorama of United Nations”. With the assistance of Thelma Jones of C.M.E. Chapel we successfully raised $579.00. And the church continued to grow.
Soon we had outgrown the building at 1525-A Post Street. Because we were a young congregation with limited resources we were financially unable to build. However, God had a ram in the bush. Due to the generosity of an unknown benefactor (someone looking
To give assistance to a religious group) we were offered the property at 1257 Octavia Street and later was given financial assistance to build. On May 6, 1951 we held ground breaking services following the morning worship service. On November 4, 1951 the congregation, lead by Pastor Evans officers and choir, marched from our storefront building to our newly erected church home joyfully singing: “We’re Marching to Zion.”
The new church building sat of a lot 60x110 feet and was purchased for $45,000.00. Our guest church was Pastor W.A. Holly and the Foothill Baptist Church, Oakland. Pastor Holly and the Foothill Family continued to be our annual guest on the First Sunday in December until his health failed and his ultimate homegoing in 1996.
During this blessed time in 1951, Deacon Herbert Cade, Pastor Evans, and other officers of the church saw fit to incorporate the church. Because the Conroe Bay Area Extension College was placed in the church City and State regulations required the word “Institutional” be included in the name of the church Therefore the church’s name was changed to First Friendship Institutional Baptist Church. Dr. Evans believed in trained leadership and worked untiringly as the Dean of Conroe Bay Area Industrial College, training ministers and missionaries. Local ministers receiving degrees from this school and went on to serve as great pastors included the late Reverends J.l. Richards, W. A. Holly, D.J. Ridley, J.A. Strickling, and Rev. Malone and Henry McBride. Current dean and Friendship sons Rance Whiteside, and Welthan L. Hudson.
In 1959, our Pastor received word from the city that we had to move. In firm belief that the Lord would provide, we marched into the present location of 501 Steiner Street, on December 4, 1960, which cost $192,000.00.
On August 26, 1979, we burned the mortgage on our building. The theme for this celebration service was “God’s Watchman” Jeremiah 1:9. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Sr. Pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, brought the sermon, and Pastor Evans burned the mortgage. This glorious event was chaired by Sister Ruby L. Smith, and co-chaired by Deacon Jeff McGaskey.
Under Pastor Evans leadership, the church sponsored Friendship Village, a low-rent housing development that opened in October 1970. Pastor Evans served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and our own Sister Flora B. McRay managed the complex from July 7, 1971 until her retirement in 1989.
After the death of Mrs. Mille G. Evans, Pastor Evans married Ernestine Evans, in December 1975. Mrs. Evans joined the Friendship Family and served as pianist and Sunday School Teacher.
As Pastor Evans’ health began to falter, he selected Reverend Weltham L. Hudson to serve as his assistant. Reverend Evans labored faithfully in the vineyard for the Master, and on May 1, 1985, God called him home for his reward. We shall forever cherish the memory of this great soldier.
In the latter part of 1985, Reverend W.L. Hudson was chosen as Pastor and served until 1989.
Reverend W.R. McDonald and Reverend Henry Jones served as Ministers-in-Charge, until February 1990, when Rev. McDonald was selected as Interim Pastor, and served until March 1991.
In March 1991, Reverend C.C. Coleman was elected Pastor. During his service he organized the “Christ for Lunch Bunch” Bible study which met every Tuesday from 12noon to 1:00pm. People from various churches in the city participated in numbers up to 35 for this comprehensive study of God’s Word. His wife, JoAnn Coleman joined the church on March 31, 1991 and was an asset to the church with her musical and vocal talents. Rev. Coleman was installed as shepherd of the flock on Sunday, September 15, 1991 and served until October 1, 1995.
Again leadership responsibility fell on the shoulders of Reverend McDonald. In October 1995, Reverend Charlie Crier began to minister unto the people through the preached word. In March 1996, Sister Robbie Crier, joined the Friendship Family. Reverend Crier was elected Interim Pastor on March 27, 1996, elected Pastor on March 7, 1997, and thereby served until June 30, 2001.
On December 21, 2001, Floyd W. Trammell, Jr., M.DIV., was called to lead the flock at First Friendship and installed as Pastor on April 21, 2002. Through his Theme, Vision and Mission, he seeks to serve the Friendship Family by challenging the congregation to address the spiritual, economic, social, and cultural needs of humanity throughout the Bay Area.
On February 12, 2005, we celebrated the marriage of Pastor T to Kyla Johnson who joined the Friendship Family by Christian experience on May 2, 2004. Lady T, a Charter School Principal, is focusing on attaining her Ph.D. in Education and is a source of endearment in the Friendship Family. On July14, 2008 son, Noah Suah Trammell, was born unto Pastor and Lady T and the Friendship Family.
We faithfully follow the angel of this house in his visionary motto: “Running with Vision to Claim our Victory.”
New Vision Victories include:
· Implementation of Children’s Church in 2002. Mother Augustine Trammell, having joined the church in 2002 served as Teacher and Administrator.
· Deacon Ordination of Moses L. Hicks and Steven Lovelace on November 3, 2002;
· Introduced Praise Dancing to our morning worship service
· Enhanced Worship service with the addition of Drummers and bass guitarists.
· Sponsored a Inter-denominational Woman’s Summit
· Introduced first woman to preach in the pulpit
· In-home communion and Pastoral visitations to the sick, homebound, and hospitalized.
· Certificate Bible Study courses taught on Tuesday Night (TNT Bible Studies) and presented using new media technology;
· Established the Christian Connection Class in 2006 for New Member Orientation and transition with special focus on identifying and applying Spiritual Gifts.
· Provided an all male eight-month homeless Shelter
· Sponsored Narcotics Anonymous Rehabilitation Classes
· Installation of New Carpet
· Repainting of Church Interior
· Installation of new Church Marquee
· Increased church budget from 50,000 to 114,000
· June 10, 2007, Licensing of the first Woman Clergy in the history of our church.
(Minister Kathleen D. Hicks)
· June 24, 2007- Ordination of three Deacons: Carl Beasley, David Bonner, and William Downs
To God be the Glory for the Good Things He Has Done!