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Geneva’s Stories: Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Serves the Community

October 25th, 2019

By Edith P. Wormley, Church Member and Leader and Guest Blogger

Like a ship that’s tossed and driven,
Battered by an angry sea,
When the storms of life are raging,
And their fury fall on me,
Oh, I wonder what I’ve done
That makes this race so hard to run,
Then I say to my soul, be patient,
For the Lord will make a way somehow.

The Black Church has been a historical presence in Geneva since at least 1834 when a chapel was built on High Street for African-American residents. Additional churches grew and flourished in the 20th century as African Americans moved to Geneva from the south. Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, which embodies all that the black church represents, started in spring of 1950 and has been a staple in the Geneva community ever since. In recent years, Mount Olive has cultivated a congregation under the leadership of Reverend Donald Golden. It is a church which is committed to Prayer, Love, Activism, Community, and Education. Mount Olive has a strong belief that The Lord will make a way somehow.

Three men and a woman watch a man dig with a shovel just outside a building.

In 1970 ground was broken to expand Mount Olive Church. The church would be expanded again in 2003.

Mount Olive is included in Kathryn Grover’s study of Geneva’s African-American Community, Make A Way Somehow, along with other historical pieces that intertwine the church’s presence to the community. The congregation at Mount Olive has started many programs and initiatives over the years such as Family Promise, the Juneteenth Carnival, and the African American Men’s Association that are active and integral in the Geneva community today. Many community activists of the past, now deceased, were members of the church, including the Reverend Edward Jenkins, Mary Ann Mallard, Mary White, Elizabeth Black, and Nell and Clarence Day, to name a few who are still remembered by name in awards given to Geneva citizens. Mount Olive has been the center of or hosted a number of projects devoted to improving the community. These include the Martin Luther King Committee, the Food Link Summer Youth Lunch Program, the Mount Olive Food Pantry, Thanksgiving Food Baskets, Tools for Social Change, Food Justice, the Ontario County Justice Coalition, and the East Lakeview Community Garden.

To learn more about Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church’s history and service to the community, join us October 30, 2019 at Celebrating Community Milestones, a presentation recognizing the anniversaries of five organizations that have contributed to Geneva’s rich community life over the past 100 years.

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One response to “Geneva’s Stories: Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Serves the Community”

  1. DONALD A GOLDEN says:

    It is so necessary to learn about the not only the history of the variety of peoples of all stripes in our Beloved Community but also the nowstory of these peoples, places, events and things.

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