The History of
St. John Missionary
St. John Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1943 under the leadership of the late Rev. John W. Wilburn, a native of Texas. The original church was just a small cabin on the northeast corner of 3rd and Hayes St. and Rev. Wilburn lived on the southeast corner. He organized a Board of Trustees to manage the affairs of the church and later deeded the land and building to the St. John Missionary Baptist Church with a special clause that the property could not be used for any other purpose but as a Christian church. The church still owns the property today.
In 1944, the original structure was updated to seat 150 people and in April 1946, Rev. Wilburn passed away. During the next 11 years, St. John Missionary Baptist Church had a total of six successive leaders:
Rev. Eddie Hudson Aug 1946 – Nov 1946 Pulpit Conductor
Rev. Wade Foster Nov 1946 – Nov 1949 Pastor
Rev. C.H. Freeman Nov 1949 – Apr 1955 Pastor
Rev. W.A. Peterson Apr 1955 – Mar 1957 Pastor
Rev. Tyree Toliver Apr 1957 – Apr 2007 Pastor
The late Dr. Tyree Toliver, a native of Preston, Arkansas, served as pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church for 50 years until his retirement in April, 2007.
In 1959, the church added classrooms, offices, a choir room, kitchen and a dining room to accommodate an expanding Sunday School and Baptist Training Union, and in 1966 the church built and supported a community mission at 301 Santa Rosa Street in Arvin, California, which now operates as the Bright Hope Missionary Baptist Church.
In 1978, the church purchased property at 1300 East Brundage Lane and within two years physically moved part of the original church and added to it. The new church had a seating capacity of 740 and accommodated additional classrooms. The Sunday School and Baptist Training Union grew to an enrollment of over 1,000.
Eventually, the church expanded to three Sunday Worship Services: 8:00 am, 11:00 am and 7:30 pm and also sponsored a Youth Ministry and an Adult and Youth Wednesday Night Bible Study.
St. John Missionary Baptist Church had a Radio Ministry broadcast for over 35 years on station 1490 KWAC and in 1986 began a Television Ministry which is still on the air on Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 6:30 am and 9:00 am to 9:30 am.
In 2000, the church became incorporated as the St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Bakersfield, California, and soon began construction on its present facility, which is located at 1401 East Brundage Lane. The first worship service in the new building was held on November 3, 2002.
Also, in 2000, Dr. Antonio Alfred joined St. John Baptist Church as an Associate Minister. He became Director of the Biblical Counseling Ministry under Dr. Tyree Toliver. Following the home going of Dr. Toliver in 2008 and an 18 month pastoral search, Dr. Alfred resigned from NASA as a Program Manager, after 19 years of service, and became the Pastor of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church.
St. John Missionary Baptist Church currently has a membership of over 3,500.