Rev. B.W. Smith
Rev. Bennett Walker Smith was a native of Florence, Alabama. Born on April 7, 1933, Smith grew up on West Mobile Street with his mother and grandmother. He joined the Air Force after graduating from Burrell High School in 1950. He studied at Tennessee State University and went to Chicago public schools to pursue a teaching career.
In 1960, Smith entered Bethel M.B. Church and enrolled in the Moody Bible Institute for ministerial training.
In 1972, Reverend Bennett W. Smith Sr., was called to pastor St. John Baptist Church. Pastor McCarley had met Reverend Smith, then a pastor in Cincinnati, Ohio, when he came to preach a soul saving revival at St. John. Under Pastor Smith’s leadership, the church continued its progress in gaining souls and enlarging its territory. The mortgage was paid in full; a mission center opened; and a federally chartered credit union was chartered in 1973. In 1980, Reverend McCarley’s vision for housing for low income families became a reality and was named McCarley Gardens.
In 1994, Smith became the president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, an activist organization comprised of 2.5 million members and 2000 churches throughout the world.
The Rev. Bennett Walker Smith, 68, who emerged as a powerful national leader, died Aug. 7, 2001
Rev. A. Charles Ware
Rev. Ware was the son of a sharecropper. He was born in Macon, Mississippi Dec 26, 1926 and grew up in the cotton fields of that area. He served in the US Army before becoming a Baptist Minister. He received his bachelor of divinity degree from Daniel Payne College in Birmingham, Alabama, a diploma in theology from J. Campbell School of Religion in Memphis, Tennessee and a doctorate of humane letters from Tennessee Baptist School of Religion. Before coming to Buffalo Rev. Ware served as Pastor of Eastern Star Missionary Church in Toledo, Ohio. Earlier he served churches in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.
In Buffalo he served twenty years as Pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church at 402 Clinton Street, Buffalo NY. Rev Ware was a Pastor who did everything possible to help members become more active in the church and participate in activities of other churches. Rev. Ware was moderator of the Western District Baptist Association; a member of the executive board of the Evangelistic board of the National Baptist Convention USA and a life member of the NAACP. He was also well known for his tireless efforts and concerns to improve life in his church's neighborhood, which was one of the poorest in Buffalo. Rev, Ware was 71 years of age at the time of his death on July 21, 1998. He is buried in the Rosewood Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
Rev. Dr. Ivery, Sr.
Dr. Ivery Daniels was born in Timmonsville, South Carolina on June 11, 1938, the son of the Late Henry Daniels Jr. and Alberta Daniels, he was raised in Buffalo, NY where he attended Buffalo Public School #75, Hutchinson Central Technical High School and Erie Community College before pursuing a career in Sociology and graduating from State University ofNew York at Buffalo;
Dr. Ivery Daniels served faithfully as an Ordained Deacon after uniting with the White Rock Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Daniels acknowledged his call to the Ministry in 1967 and was elected and installed as Pastor in November of that year.
Dr. Ivery Daniels has been a tireless worker in the vineyard, he has also been blessed to serve on several Community Advisory Boards and has received many Awards and Recognitions for his Kingdom Work.
On January 26, 2020, our Lord saw fit to grant peace and eternal rest to our beloved.
Rev. Dr. Clay Evans
Clay Evans was born on June 23, 1925, in Brownsville, Tennessee, to Henry Clay and Estanauly Evans. He was a graduate of Carver High School, then he moved onto Chicago Baptist Institute for seminary education. He attended Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, along with The University of Chicago Divinity School.
He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1950, and he founded Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, on September 10, 1950, with five founding members. His sermons were broadcast on radio and television.
In 1965, Evans joined the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., to promote the civil rights movement in Chicago. In 1971 they founded the Operation PUSH coalition to encourage black self-help. Evans served as chairman of the organization from 1971 and 1976 and became its chairman emeritus.
He led his church until December 8, 2000
Evans married Lutha Mae Hollingshed on October 15, 1946; they resided in Chicago, Illinois. They have five children, seven grandchildren, three great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter. Evans's death was announced on November 27, 2019. Evans's funeral was held on December 7, 2019.
Rev. Edward D. McNeely
The Rev. Edward D. McNeely served as Pastor ,of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn., and was called to serve the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY in 1948.
On November 10, 1952, the Church entered into a building contract for the present sanctuary. Ground was broken on June 7, 1953 and on August 7, 1954, following a parade and motorcade; the Friendship Church marched into their new sanctuary.
He married the former Mamie Ruth Watkins a native of Henning, Tenn in 1945.
Rev. McNeely passed away on August 30, 1977.