Rebirth and Resilience: The Remarkable 101 Year Journey of New First Missionary Baptist Church of Kanawha City

By Crystal Good, Black by God: The West Virginian

The New First Missionary Baptist Church of Kanawha City has a history that stands as a testament to strength, faith, and perseverance. Its origins can be traced back to Mrs. Maria D. McMickles’ living room in 1922, where Sunday school classes gathered regularly. Later, this humble beginning evolved into the First Baptist Church of Kanawha City, and on February 27, 1927, the church was officially organized.

Throughout the years, founding families such as the Williams, McMickles, Powells, and many others played pivotal roles in shaping the church’s community. The New First Missionary Baptist Church has been blessed with dedicated pastors, including R. A. Edwards, F. L. Jones, and H. C. Head, among others.

Watch New First Baptist services here:

Despite facing challenges, including the loss of the original church due to arson, the congregation persisted in its faith. Under the leadership of Rev. Robert Calloway, the church experienced a period of growth and underwent significant renovations in 1981, enhancing the worship space.

However, as time passed, the church faced potential closure in 2019. Black Churches are in a decline in West Virginia. But, thanks to the dedication of Mount Olivet District Moderator Rev. Dr. Michael Poke and Assistant Moderator Rev. Shelly Bausley, the church found renewed hope. The dynamic Pastor David and Lady Joy Fryson answered the call to lead the recovery effort, reestablishing services in December 2019.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Frysons led the church with unwavering commitment. In June 2021, in-person services resumed, and the congregation continued to grow. During this time, the church witnessed significant improvements, from modern sound systems to a fully renovated fellowship hall and kitchen.

Under the leadership of Pastor Fryson, the church’s growth and revitalization were undeniable. In November 2022, he was ordained for the third time, and he and Lady Joy Fryson were installed as the Senior Pastor and First Lady of the New First Missionary Baptist Church of Kanawha City.

Today, the church stands as a beacon of faith, welcoming new attendees each Sunday. The New First Missionary Baptist Church of Kanawha City continues to embrace the spirit of unity, perseverance, and growth, paying homage to its rich history while embracing the promise of an inspiring Black church future.

For more information about New First Baptist Church of Kanawha City, visit their website at:

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