About Fifth Baptist Church
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
~ Proverbs 4:7
To proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Head of the Church and to continue and maintain the Church being centered on the principles and truths of God's word (Bible fed and Bible led). The Church is to teach God's word with simplicity and understanding so that the people of God can apply it to their everyday lives. It is through the Word of God that we attain to perfection, maturity and edification to do the work of ministry. Therefore, we endeavor to prepare and equip every member for every good work of God (Proverbs 4:7; Ephesians 4:12
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
~ Ephesians 4:12
Fifth Baptist Church enjoys a rich heritage of spiritual and physical growth. The roots of Fifth Baptist can be traced to humble beginnings in February, 1865. A small group of slaves sharing a desire to worship the Lord would slip away from their quarters during the late evening hours. A torn and tattered shed located near a trash dump on Navy Hill is where the slaves would gather, risking punishment and death, to sing and offer prayers of thanksgiving and liberation. Slavery was abolished and the ex-slaves continued their religious journey. In 1872, Warwick stable, located at the corner of Morris and Main Streets, was chosen as the new site for the church. The Rev. Charles Bowles was chosen as the first pastor and services were held on the second floor of the stable without fear of reprisal from the slave masters. From the beginning, informal groups of men, referred to as trustee, directed the activities of the church. The early trustees sought to build the church on a solid spiritual and financial foundation allowing for orderly worship and growth. Attendance and support of the church continued to grow and a decision was made to build a church. On February 27, 1894, a parcel of land located at 1400 West Cary Street was purchased and a Gothic design edifice was constructed. The new church featured stained glass windows, a choir loft and a pump styled organ. The new church building proved to be a catalyst for growth and decision making of the church. Some members of the early Deacon Board included Daniel Brown, James Carter, Ben Minor, John Piercy, Charlie Shannon, Major White and Emmett Alford. The early church saw the need to keep accurate and ongoing record keeping. A church clerk was elected and was responsible for record keeping, keeping accurate lists of those persons scheduled for baptism, recording information on incoming members and an array of other duties. Some of the early church clerks were Joe Davis, George King, James Orange, and David Cheek. Sunday School at Fifth is more than 75 years old. Sunday School provides Bible study, religious training and spiritual growth for children, teens and adults. Early Sunday School Superintendents include Junious Orange, Moses Lewis, Robert Lee, Martin Crittenden, Ada Green and Joseph Taylor. The church had one choir for many years. This one choir later divided and became the Junior and Senior Choirs. Early leaders included Ola Mayo Garrett, Avis Turner, Florence Fields, and Elizabeth Anderson. During the past fifth years, several choirs were formed. During the past 143 years, God has blessed Fifth Baptist Church with dynamic pastors with a vision of growth. Reverend Dr. Earl M. Brown has served as pastor since 1978. He was preceded by early pastors including Reverends Anderson Taylor, William Dobbins, A.D. Daly, R. S. Anderson, John Clark and James Kelley. Under the leadership of Rev. Kelly, Fifth Baptist experienced unprecedented growth and a need for a new edifice. A fund-raising drive was launched in 1968 and over $350,000.00 was raised to purchase land and construct a new building at West Cary Street, and in October 1978, the church purchased the land at 1415 West Cary Street from the Richmond Development Commission. The current church building was completed in January 1984 and was dedicated on March 4, 1984. The church continues to grow in all areas and will need to expand physical facilities in the near future due to optimal growth and program development. That vision came true under the leadership of Dr. Earl M. Brown. The facility now has a new commercial size kitchen, renovated Secretarial suite, Co-pastor office suite, Financial Secretary office, Choir Room, renovated fellowship Hall, and a Family Life Center including a full size gym. To God Be The Glory!
Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness - 1 Peter 5:2
Dr. Earl M. Brown, Pastor
Dr. Earl M. Brown is a native of Williamston, NC. He is the son of the late Dr. George and Christine Brown. He is married to the former Carrie Hill of Blounts Creek, NC and the father of one son, The Reverend Ricardo L. Brown, Co-Pastor of Fifth Baptist Church, who is married to the former Cynthia Wyatt of Columbus, OH. Pastor Earl Brown was educated at E. J. Hayes High School in Winston, NC; attended ECSU, Elizabeth City, NC; Shaw Divinity, Raleigh, NC; Greensboro Bible School, Greensboro, NC. Dr. Brown received 3 honorary doctorates, including: Doctor of Divinity, Virginia Union Univ. School of Theology; Doctor of Divinity, Richmond Virginia Seminary; Doctor of Pastoral Leadership, Virginia Univ. of Lynchburg. Dr. Brown pastored several churches: Corinth Baptist Church, Jarvisburg, NC; Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Lewiston, NC; First Baptist Church, Reidsville, NC; Fifth Baptist Church, Richmond, VA from 1978 to present. Dr. Brown served as the former president of the Baptist General Convention of VA and a member of the following organizations: NAACP; Progressive National Baptist Convention; Lott Carey Convention; American Baptist Churches, USA; Richmond Committee Ecumenical Clergy; Baptist Ministers Conference of Richmond & Vicinity; Board of Trustees for Elizabeth City State University until 2009 (He currently serves as an honorary member).
Dr. Ricardo L. Brown, Pastor
Dr. Ricardo L. Brown was born on June 9, 1970 in Ahoskie, N.C. He is the only child of Dr. Earl M. Brown & Mrs. Carrie H. Brown. Dr. Brown is a third-generation Baptist preacher. He received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and the Master of Divinity Degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA. In May of 2006, Reverend Brown earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Virginia University of Lynchburg (formerly Virginia Seminary and College) in Lynchburg, VA. He has served as Pastor of several churches including First Nottoway Baptist Church in Crewe, VA and Eskridge Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C. Since 2005, he has served as co-Pastor of the Fifth Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. In addition to his pastoral duties, he serves as Executive Director of Living The Dream, Inc. He coordinates many of the Martin Luther King, Jr. activities for the City of Richmond. Dr. Brown currently serves as the 3rd Vice President of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia. He is married to Cynthia Lynn who is a native of Columbus, Ohio. She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and the University of VA. Dr. and Mrs. Brown are the proud parents of Kimberly Lauren and Lauryn Makayla Brown.