Atlanta Berean Church History
The history of the Atlanta Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church goes back to 1903 when a small company of believers, led by Sis. Anna Knight, was organized into a church.
Services were held in the home of one of the believers until a building was purchased on Greensferry Avenue and named Second Seventh-day Adventist Church. Elder G.E. Peters organized the First Mission School in 1906 and Sis. Anna Knight was the first teacher.
Elder W.H. Sebastian served as the first pastor, assisted by Elder M.C. Strachan. Elder John Mann became the new pastor when Elder Sebastian was reassigned.
Elder E. Williams conducted the first evangelistic effort in 1916 and was pastor until 1920. Following Elder Williams as pastor were Elders G.E. Peters (1920-1921), J.S. Green (1921-1922), J.F. Chrichlow (1922-1926), F.A. Osterman (1926-1928), and W.H. Winston (1929-1932).
In 1929, during Elder W.H. Winston's tenure, the church on Greensferry Avenue was sold and the new church at 105 Ashby Street (now Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard) was built.
Elder FH. Stevens (1932-1934) was followed by Elder A.B. Storey, who was pastor from 1934 to 1935. With Elder Storey as leader, the first weekly church bulletin was printed and the church name changed to Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Succeeding Elder Storey were Elders E. Wilkins (1936-1938), F.S. Keitts (1938-1941), J.G. Thomas (1941-1945), W.W. Fordham (1945-1946), W.S. Banfield (1946-1947), L.S. Follette (1947-1948), J.D. Cox (1948-1951), Walter S. Starks (1951-1954), J.P. Winston (1954-1955), followed by Elder J.F. Street, whose leadership from 1955 to 1959 produced the construction of Berean Junior Academy.
Elder H.L. Cleveland was pastor from 1960 to 1967. During this period, the Ashby Street church was sold in December 1961, groundbreaking ceremonies at 312 Hightower Road (now Hamilton E. Holmes Drive) were held April 15, 1962, and the church's first day care center was established. Assistant pastors were Elders Willie Lewis, K.S. Smallwood, Ward Sumpter, H.F. Barbour, and H.M. Mouzon as associate pastor.
Succeeding Elder Cleveland were Elders C.D. Henri (1967-1970), R.L. Woodfork (1970-1971), G.H. Taylor (1971-1976) with assistant pastors Elders Douglas Simons, Kenneth Moore, and Ernest Young. Elder F.W. Parker served as pastor from 1976-1980 with assistants Elders Richard H. Long and R. Tottress.
Elder Ralph Franklin was pastor from 1980 to 1985. He oversaw the purchase of a 14 acre tract of land across Hightower Road. Assistant pastor was Elder K.S. Smallwood.
Elder Walter L. Pearson, Jr. became pastor in April 1985, serving through 1993. Under his leadership, Berean and other local SDA churches made an effort to fund the construction of the Adventist Education Metroplex. Assistant pastors were Elders K.S. Smallwood, Gary Jouett, Nathaniel Good, Michael Miller, and Marion G. Cato.
Elder C.D. Henri served as interim pastor until Elder Richard H. Long became pastor (1993-1998). Elder Long made major repairs on the church and made the building more accessible to the physically challenged. Assistant pastors were Michael Miller and Gregory Saunders.
Elder E.C. Ward served as pastor from 1998 to 1999. Under his leadership, the church bought the property located at 291 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive, the former location of Union Baptist Church. The first service in the new building was July 3, 1999. Assistant pastor was Elder Gregory Saunders, who also served as interim pastor before Elder Vanard Mendinghall became interim pastor in 1999.
Elder William L. Winston served as pastor from February, 2000 to July, 2006. Under his leadership, Berean Junior Academy was renamed Berean Christian Junior Academy (BCJA), the day care was renamed the Berean Child Development Center (BCDC), and the construction of the new $6.3 million education complex housing BCDC, BCJA, and Greater Atlanta Adventist Academy (GAAA) was completed in the spring of 2004. Assistant pastors were Bron Jacobs, Carl McRoy, and James Lamb. Kenneth Moore served as associate pastor.
Dr. Carlton P. Byrd became pastor in August, 2006. Since Dr. Byrd's arrival, over 800 individuals have been baptized, the church sanctuary, lobby, restroom, choir, and multi-purpose room areas completely remodeled, and the Atlanta Berean Church has a weekly television program which airs on two local Atlanta television stations. Most recently (January, 2009), the Atlanta Berean Church was awarded a $5.2 million grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a new 50 apartment Senior Citizens Housing Complex. Elder Linwood Stone serves as associate pastor, and Dr. James K. Lamb serves as assistant pastor.