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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

Sermons by Rev. B.W. Smith

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.

Sermons by Rev. A. Charles Ware
Jesus Christ is Coming To Town   (1989)
Better Than Life   (1991)
The 5 B's To Christianity (1994)
I Didn't See It, But I Believe It  (1995)
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