A bi-vocational pastor, Reverend McKinney has practiced law since 1986 and on January 5, 2015, Rev. McKinney was sworn in as Municipal Court Judge for the City of Tuscaloosa where he currently serves.
1. We believe that God has revealed himself in 3 persons – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit – and that these 3 are ONE GOD (John 10:30)
2. We believe all scripture, both the Old and the New Testament, is inspired by God himself. The scriptures are complete, supreme, and final in authority for the believer’s faith and life. (2Timothy 3:16)
3. We believe that Man was created in God’s image and that man sinned against God bringing about our physical and spiritual death and that we must be born again to be saved (Genesis 1:26-27 & 3:6, Romans 6:23, Galatians 3:22)
4. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,2,10,14)
5. We believe that He was begotten of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20)
6. We believe that He was born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:21)
7. We believe that He is both God and Man (Colossians 1:15)
8. We believe that He died a substitutive death on the cross as sufficient payment for the sins of mankind (Romans 5:6-8)
9. We believe that He was raised from the dead in bodily form and ascended to heaven where he makes intercession for us (Matthew 28:5-7, Acts 1:9-11, Hebrews 7:22-25)
10. We believe in the bodily, personal, and pre-tribulation return of Christ for His Church, and that after the Tribulation He will judge the nations and establish a kingdom of peace and righteousness
(1Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2Thessalonians 1:6-10, Revelation 11:15-19)
- To revitalize our community through the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ by exhibiting love for God, for each other, and for our neighbors.
- To seek out and save unbelievers and make them desciples of Jesus Christ by living as Christ taught us to live.
- To become empowered with the Holy Spirit and to worship in spirit to exhort the name of Jesus.
- To bless the body of Christ by obeying God's word as it relates to our giving, work, unity, and exhortation to worship God in spirit and in thruth.
- HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE
- PASTOR'S AID COMMITTEE
- DEACON BOARD
- DEACONS' WIVES AUXILIARY
- MISSION #1 / MISSION #2
- NURSES GUILD
- SEASONED SAINTS
- CULINARY COMMITTEE
- LAYMEN'S MINISTRY
- WOMEN'S MINISTRY
- MARRIAGE MINISTRY
- YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
- SUNBEAM BAND
- YWA / RED CIRCLE
- CHILDREN'S CHURCH
- CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
- MUSIC MINISTRY
- AUDIO VISUAL MINISTRY
- JUNIOR, YOUNG ADULT,
AND SENIOR USHER BOARDS
- YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY
THE HISTORY OF WEEPING MARY MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: 1913- Present
The Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church is indebted to the late Sister Fannie Boozer, a former president of the Missionary Society,
for much of the recording of its history which can be traced back to the early 1900s.
The history of the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church can be traced back to the early 1900s. The church is indebted to the late Sister Fannie Boozer, one of the former presidents of the Missionary Society, for much of the recording of its early history.
The church organized in 1913 in a small house in Alston Quarters. The Reverend N. H. Grant had a burning zeal to organize a church in this area of the city. Under Reverend Grant’s leadership, a meeting was held in a house on Short 19th Street. He selected and asked Reverends I. T. Simpson, pastor of First African Baptist Church; J. B. Douglas, pastor of the Kaulton Baptist Church; J. Cook, pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church; R. J. Moore, pastor of Saint John Baptist Church; and J. P. Shelton to help with the meeting. He invited members and friends of various churches to come and, “Let’s have a meeting.” The Lord blessed this meeting with candidates for baptism. When the number of members increased greatly, the Reverend Grant said to them, “Select seven men of good character and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom to look after the business of the church.” They selected the following deacons: Love Harris, Ed Thomas, John Carpenter, Jesse James, Whitt Rice, Mose Nixon, Ray McGee, and Floyd Thomas.
The Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church formally organized on the fourth Sunday in August 1913. The membership grew rapidly; therefore, the church moved to a hall on 29th Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets. However, there was faster growth in membership, and the church purchased a tent and moved to 27th Avenue and 20th Street. Later, the lot was purchased and a wooden frame building facing 27th Avenue was erected.
The pulpit eventually became vacant, and the Reverend Dr. J. P. McClellan was invited to run a revival. Later, he accepted the call to pastor the church. Inspirational as well as charismatic, he was a dynamic spiritual speaker who drew worshippers from all parts of the city. On Sunday evenings, there was hardly standing room in the little church. The membership grew so rapidly that Reverend McClellan saw a need for a larger building. Fortunately, he had the vision to begin construction on the church facility by completing the basement in which services were held. Deacons ordained under the leadership of Reverend McClellan were Bill Bostic, Earl Davis, James Wilson, F. E. Sims, Pete Hill, Henry Hall, J. E. Harrison, William Jones, DeWitt Moore, Charlie Anderson, Mack Edwards, William Edward Brown, Charlie Echols, Mose Bailey, E. J. Powe, Joe Wilkerson, Willie Bradley, Islam Anderson, and Edward J. Hopkins.
Reverend McClellan served as pastor until his death. His ‘son in ministry,’ the Reverend Dr. Edward Howard Jones, was called to pastor the church in 1953. He was a great pastor, an outstanding leader, and minister in the community. These qualities led to his being selected to serve as the moderator of the district association. His first mission at Weeping Mary was to complete the church building that Reverend McClellan and the congregation had started. Therefore, under his leadership the upstairs portion of the former facility was constructed, equipped with new carpet, air conditioning, and the first organ. The sanctuary was moved from the basement to the upstairs.
The church membership continued to grow spiritually and numerically. The deacons ordained under the leadership of Reverend Jones included: Booker T. Presswood, Judge Spencer, John Horton, L. G. Parrish, Lewis Kinard, Conzie Nevels, David Collins, Sr., James Thornton, and James Hazell Wilson. Deacons David Pratcher, Robert T. Wade, and Benjamin F. Sharpe joined the church and their deaconship was transferred with them. Dr. Jones served as pastor until his death in 1972. During the church’s period of grief, Associate Minister, Reverend Dr. J. A. Adams served as acting pastor. He served in this position from March 1972 to September 1972. He led the church spiritually through this difficult time.
In September 1972, the Reverend Dr. Jessie Lee Simpson was called to pastor the church. This man of God proved to be a progressive thinker, who came with a will to expand the programs of the church. He was an outstanding leader and minster in the community and served as moderator of the New Antioch Bethlehem District Association for over twenty-five years. Reverend Simpson held the distinction of “Moderator Emeritus.” As pastor of the church, he led the church in various phrases of structural improvements. Outstanding among them were the refurbishing of the sanctuary and fellowship hall in the prior church facility. Reverend Simpson also led the church in its efforts to install an elevette, cushioned pews, a new air conditioning system and a new Classical Baldwin organ. Additional improvements included the purchase of passenger vans, the purchase and fencing of the alley behind the church, and the paving of the parking lot.
The most profound decision the church made under the leadership of Reverend Simpson was the purchasing of the old Twentieth Street School property and other real estate adjoining the prior church site. Acquiring these properties allowed the church to better serve the community by utilizing the facilities to house various services for the Tuscaloosa community. An effective outreach program developed with numerous agencies using the Weeping Mary Activity Center to reach senior citizens in need of varied services. The activity center was air conditioned, roofed, and partially remodeled, including the purchase of furniture and other decorations for the front entrance. These purchases, which began in 1988, gave impetus to the drive to construct the present church facility. A plan was set forth for the methodical acquisition of real estate surrounding the old church facility. After purchasing the entire city block, the church voted on May 28, 2003 to build a new church and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 31, 2003.
The prior church facility was vacated in September 2004, resulting in church services being held in the Weeping Mary Baptist Church Activity Center. After months of prayerfully planning and anticipating, the church realized its dream by holding a “Crossing Over/Entry Service Celebration” on Sunday, May 22, 2005. The newly constructed single-level brick facility consists of 17,366 square feet of habitable space. The sanctuary has an overall seating capacity of over eight hundred which includes spaces for the physically challenged. The modern facility includes administrative offices, classrooms, a choir room, an ushers’ room and a nurses’ station. During the spring of 2007, a new Clavinova was purchased for the sanctuary. The new church building and the Weeping Mary Baptist Church Activity Center were connected by an enclosed corridor.
Church activities and ministries that grew under Reverend Simpson’s leadership included: Senior Mission, Progressive Matrons, Young Matrons, Junior and Senior Red Circles/YWA, Crusaders/YMA, Sunbeams, Deaconess Circle, Sanctuary Choir, the J.L.S. Gospel Choir, the Male Chorus, Youth Choir, Senior Usher Board, Young Adult Usher Board, Junior Usher Board, Nurses’ Guild, Transportation Ministry, Children’s Church, Youth Development, Nurture for Baptist Churches, Feed the Hungry, Outreach Ministry, Kitchen Ministry and Grounds Ministry. Additional ministries and programs that were added include: Monday night Bible Study, Shelter for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Brotherhood Ministry and Youth Basketball. In 2009, two additional ministries, Marriage and Hospitality were sanctioned.
The first deacons ordained under the leadership of Reverend Simpson included: Levert Hedgemon, Sr., Otis Ruben, Sr., Armond Thomas, Jr., and Hosie Washington. In June 1994, additional deacons ordained included: Benny R. Bishop, Melvin Black, Milton Brown, Levert Hedgemon, Jr., Dezzie B. Hobson, Eddie Martin, Sr., Ricky J. McKinney, Burrell Odom, and John Winston. Deacons Booker T. Crawford, Robert Hagler, and Luther Spencer united with the church and their status as deacons transferred with them. On May 13, 2007, additional deacons ordained were: Alonzo Archibald, David Collins, Jr., Douglas Grice, Gerald J. Hill, and Charles W. Pruitt, Sr. Deacon Samuel Calvin united with the church and his deacon status transferred with him. On April 14, 2019, Kenneth Miller, Woodie Washington, and Michael Miller were the first deacons ordained under the leadership of Reverend Ricky McKinney.
Deacon Robert T. Wade served as Chairman of the Deacon Board with dignity and dedication for forty-five years until his resignation in 2013. In June of 2013, he was honored as “Deacon Board Chairman Emeritus”. Deacon John W. Winston was then appointed chairman and Deacon Dezzie Hobson was appointed Vice Chairman. As a faithful servant, Deacon Winston served until his death in January of 2015. Deacon Dezzie Hobson was elected as the current Chairman of the Deacon Board and Deacon Samuel Calvin was appointed as the Vice Chairman.
The following members have served as presidents of the Mission Department: Sisters Henrietta Ruffin, the first president; Liza Nixon, the second president; Fannie Boozer, third president; Julia Harrison, fourth president; Mattie Holley, fifth president; Edna Thompkins, sixth president; and Lillie Binion, seventh president; currently serving.
Deacon David Collins, Sr., served faithfully and tirelessly as Chairman of the Trustee Board for thirty-three years until his health failed in 2003. The honor of “Chairman Emeritus” was bestowed on him in February 2006 during a Pioneer Celebration. In 2005, the Trustee Board became a separate entity from the Deacon Board. Sylvester Morgan was selected as chairman of the newly formed Trustee Board. Other board members included Melvin Black, Eddie B. Thomas, Bobby Wilson, Brenda Madison, Debra Cooper, Rose Wimberly, and Carolyn Pitts. Eddie B. Thomas later served as Chairman of the Trustee Board along with new members Vanessa Rice, Terry Fenderson, Lawrence Crowell, and Al Lockett. Current trustees include: Douglas Grice, Chairman; with members Terry Fenderson, Eddie B. Thomas, Melvin Black, and Antonius Mills.
Church clerks over the years have been Deacon DeWitt Moore, Sister Rosa R. Cochrane, Deacon John Horton, Sister Johnnie Mae Mike, and Deacon Robert T. Wade. Deacon Armond Thomas, Jr. is presently serving as clerk.
The events that occurred in the year 2010-2011 were devastating to the Weeping Mary church family. With more than thirty-eight years of devoted leadership, our beloved pastor, Reverend Simpson, was called to his “Heavenly Home” on April 13, 2011. We mourned his passing along with that of twelve other faithful members, pioneers, and one of our oldest deacons, Otis J. Ruben, Sr.
The Weeping Mary church family continued to mourn the loss of Reverend Simpson. We went into prayer and meditation asking God to send us a new leader. Associate Minister, Reverend Clarence Hurst, served as the interim pastor during this period and until the selection of our new leader. Through Reverend Hurst’s leadership and the prayers of the congregation, Weeping Mary was able to move forward.
A Pastoral Search Committee was formed by the Deacon Board to begin the arduous task of selecting a new pastor. Edna Thompkins, President of the Missionary Society, was selected to chair the Search Committee. Other committee members were Robert T. Wade, Chairman of the Deacon Board; Levert Hedgemon, Jr.; Minister of Music; Kenneth L. Parrish, Minister of Christian Education; Carolyn Pitts, Assistant Secretary of the Trustee Board; John Winston, member of the Deacon Board; and Gloria Shaw and Darrell Hagler, members of the congregation.
On January 15, 2012, the Reverend Ricky J. McKinney was called to pastor the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church. The sacred partnership between a pastor and congregation is not happenstance, but rather a Holy arrangement orchestrated by an omniscient God. As we entered a new chapter in the history of the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church, we lifted the name of Jesus and praised Him for our new pastor. Reverend McKinney preached his first sermon as pastor of Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church on February 12, 2012.
The Pastoral Installation Service for Reverend McKinney was held on March 25, 2012. On this date, the members of the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church joyfully and lovingly entered into a covenant with our new pastor, realizing that this moment in time was actually predestined in eternity, even before the foundations of the world were established. This year we celebrated his seventh year as Pastor of Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church.
As our leader, Reverend McKinney believes that the mission of Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church should be: to revitalize our community through the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by exhibiting love for God, for each other, and for our neighbors; to seek out and save unbelievers and make them disciples of Jesus Christ by living as Christ taught us to live; to become empowered with the Holy Spirit and worship in the spirit and exhort the name of Jesus; and to bless the body of Christ by obeying God’s Word as it relates to our giving, work, unity, and exhortation to worship God in spirit and in truth.
Reverend McKinney developed a five year plan for ministry and growth for the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church. Under this plan, new ministries developed include the Women’s Ministry, the Laymen, the Young Adult Choir, the Greeters Ministry, new member classes, and the Retire the Debt Fund. A Hammond organ was purchased. The Activity Center has been expanded to include a media center, and is scheduled for renovation. The Sanctuary and the Day Care Center each received a new roof and the parking lots have been resurfaced and restriped. To continue his plan for growth, and with a focus on the future, Reverend McKinney initiated a project for extensive renovation of the Activity Center. This project began on March 8, 2018, and was completed on May 31, 2019. Several areas included in the project were the Chapel, classrooms for Children’s Church and Vacation Bible School activities, and several conference rooms. The rooms were painted, new flooring, lights, and ceiling fans were installed. In some rooms, walls were removed to accommodate larger groups.
Two restrooms were renovated with modern vanities, sinks, urinals and toilets. Each restroom is handicapped accessible. New appliances were purchased for the kitchen including an ice maker, freezer, commercial and convection ovens, refrigerator, and a sink. One wall was removed to give the kitchen a more open concept. The roof was repaired and additional air conditioners were purchased.
Two hundred fifteen members have joined Weeping Mary thus far under Reverend McKinney – one hundred by baptism, ninety-five by Christian experience, and 20 by restoration. The church’s membership has continuously grown over the years from a few in 1913 to several hundred to date. Much has been done in the way of benevolence, missions and education.
To God be the glory for the good things He has done!
A copy of this Church History will be placed in the church archives and will be updated annually by the Heritage Committee.
Submitted by the Heritage Committee (2019)