The church was organized as the Second Baptist Chapel in 1940 and was incorporated as the Second Baptist Church of Paterson, NJ on January 27, 1941. The first worship service held by the church took place on May 5, 1940, at 27 Carroll Street. The incorporated (founding) Board of Trustees consisted of Reverend Robert Boston Dokes, William C. Jackson, Abner W. Nash, John L. Best, Henry Hinton, Clifford L. Jackson, John P. Wright, and Carolyn Middleton (church clerk and secretary).
In 1941 the church purchased property at 182 Graham Avenue and worshiped there for approximately twenty-two years. In May of 1963, the property at 72 Carroll Street was purchased. This is where the church currently worships.
The Reverend Robert Boston Dokes is the founder and first Pastor of the Second Baptist Church. Reverend Dokes served the congregation of Second Baptist and its surrounding community for forty-four years before he retired, a result of waning health. For a short period of time, Reverend Dokes served in World War II, during which the Reverend William J. Bobbitt of Montclair, NJ served as Interim-Pastor. In 1984, Reverend Dokes retired as pastor. For the next eighteen months, under the leadership of Deacon Thomas Veal Jr., chairman of the Board of Deacons, and Trustee George Arnett Sr., chairman of the Board of Trustees, the church searched for a Pastor. Under the leadership of Reverend Dokes, many auxiliaries were developed to complement the growth and stability of the church: The Board of Deacons and Trustees, Missionaries, Willing Workers, Benevolent, Senior Choir, Gospel Choir, Family Gospel Singers, Young Adult Choir, Youth Choir, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Usher Boards, as well as others.
On November 1, 1985, Reverend Alexander McDonald III was called to serve as the second Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Paterson, NJ. Reverend McDonald came to Second Baptist from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Boonton, NJ where he served as an associate minister. Under Reverend McDonald’s leadership, the church continued to build on the firm foundation that was laid by our founding fathers and mothers. During his pastorate, the membership continued to grow. In 1990, the property at 72 Carroll Street was totally renovated and expanded to accommodate its growth. Four additional properties surrounding the church were purchased. Fifteen ministers
were licensed under Rev. McDonald’s leadership, one of which (Reverend Lamont D. Pearson Sr.) was the first minister to be ordained in Second Baptist. Various in-house ministries were initiated as well – the Mass Choir; Male Chorus; Voices of Praise; Pastor’s Advisory Council; Audio/Video Ministry, which aired on local cable; an Outreach Ministry which includes: Nursing Home Visitations, Feeding & Clothing Homeless and Needy; and others.
In 1993, a Community Library was implemented in memory of Reverend Robert Boston Dokes, with grants from Hoffman LaRoche. In 1996, Reverend Dr. McDonald organized the Second Baptist Community Development Corporation, which was incorporated in November of 1997 and federally tax-exempted in February of 1999. Under the SBCDC, the church also implemented the Rising Dove Summer Day Camp, Rising Above Substance Abuse HIV/AIDS Support & Referral Group, weekly AA meetings, Senior Citizens Ministry, Youth Detention Visitations, Prison Outreach, a Computer Learning Center, an After School Tutorial ministry and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In November of 2000, the church purchased an apartment building which was renovated into a 49-unit senior citizen housing development. The church also renovated and expanded its existing facilities to accommodate the continued growth and success God has given.
On Monday, January 23, 2017, Pastor McDonald announced his plan to retire his role as Pastor of Second Baptist Church by submitting a letter of resignation. On Monday, July 23, 2018, Pastor McDonald presented the protocol to be used in preparation for Pastoral Transition. On Sunday, September 13, 2020, the Second Baptist Church congregation voted to elect Reverend Dr. Sean C. Evans Sr. to be our third Pastor. On Sunday, October 25, 2020, as Pastor McDonald introduced Reverend Dr. Evans to the Second Baptist congregation, Reverend Dr. Evans announced not only would he and his wife, Lady Amoy Evans, becoming to lead Second Baptist – they were also joining Second Baptist Church as members. A service Commissioning Reverend Dr. Evans into Pastorship took place Sunday, November 15, 2020, at 9:00 am. Pastor Evans was well received by the membership of Second Baptist and its surrounding community. The Second Baptist Family looks forward with great anticipation of the marvelous works to come through this great union, by the GRACE of God.