[Congressional Record Volume 151, Number 114 (Tuesday, September 13, 2005)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1820]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                            HON. BARBARA LEE

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Tuesday, September 13, 2005

  Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of North Oakland 
Missionary Baptist Church of Oakland, California on the occasion of its 
100th anniversary.
  Organized between 1904 and 1905, the church was originally known as 
Richard Clark Memorial and then as North Oakland Church of Christ 
before adopting its current name. North Oakland's congregation began as 
a small handful of faithful community residents that met at members' 
homes and other locations before pooling their resources to build the 
first church on Alden Street. Reverend J.A. Dennis was designated as 
the first pastor of North Oakland in 1905, and remained there until 
  Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, North 
Oakland has been guided by a number of visionary leaders who have 
implemented a wide variety of forward-thinking, community-enriching 
  Under the leadership of Dr. G.C. Coleman from 1913 until 1942, North 
Oakland was institution where members of the black community, 
particularly those returning from World War I, could become active in 
community service efforts. Dr. Coleman regularly wrote local newspapers 
to articulate the need for improvement in job prospects and housing for 
African Americans, and made North Oakland an active force in the 
community throughout the 1930s. Dr. Coleman was also instrumental in 
the creation of the organization now known as the St. John Missionary 
Baptist Association of Northern California and Nevada. Since 1910, 
North Oakland has sent numerous messengers and delegates to the 
association's conventions, where Dr. Coleman served as Moderator for 
more than 20 years.
  Following the passing of Dr. Coleman, Dr. Ansel O. Bell was elected 
pastor in 1942. During the war years the church membership grew 
significantly, and under Reverend Bell's tenure that number reached 
more than one-thousand, an increase which necessitated the construction 
of a new church in 1960.
  Reverend Bell was succeeded in 1967 by Reverend C.B. Murray. During 
his 15-year tenure, Reverend Murray presided over several structural 
improvements to the church, merged the Senior, Men's and Women's Choirs 
into one, and started ``The Voice of Africa,'' a North Oakland 
initiative that resulted in church missions to Haiti and Liberia. He 
was well known throughout local, State, and national faith 
organizations, and also served as the First Vice-Moderator of the St. 
John Missionary Baptist Association of California until his death in 
  After the interim pastorate of Reverend Sylvester Rutledge from 1982 
until 1984, Dr. Lloyd C. Blue served as North Oakland's pastor from 
1984 until 1990. Upon his retirement, Reverend Rutledge again served as 
interim pastor, and was selected in 1991 as the pastor of North Oakland 
Missionary Baptist Church, a capacity in which he continues to serve 
today. Reverend Rutledge came to North Oakland in 1964, under the 
pastorate of the late Reverend Bell. He served as Associate Sunday 
School Teacher in the Young Adult Class and also served as a teacher in 
the Children's Class. Selected as a candidate for deaconship in 1966 
and ordained in 1968, Reverend Rutledge has served North Oakland and 
our community with distinction for over 4 decades.
  In recent years, North Oakland has remained at the forefront of 
community building and improvement efforts throughout the City of 
Oakland. Most notably, North Oakland recently celebrated the opening of 
Sylvester Rutledge Manor, a 65-unit affordable apartment complex for 
low-income seniors that the church developed in partnership with 
Oakland Community Housing, Inc. This development, completed in July 
2003, is located directly adjacent to the church property and is an 
important step forward in the ongoing struggle to secure affordable 
housing for all people in our community. Through this effort, the North 
Oakland Missionary Baptist Church Family is once again letting its 
light shine on what is oftentimes a gloomy reality for many, and 
continues to lift us all up through its unfaltering devotion to its 
members and our community. They have been given a heart of wisdom and 
knowledge by which their loving kindness and compassion have 
transcended beyond their walls.
  During the month of September 2005, North Oakland Missionary Baptist 
Church will be celebrating its centennial anniversary in Oakland, 
California. Throughout the last century, North Oakland's members and 
leaders have worked tirelessly to provide support and guidance for 
countless individuals. As members and friends from throughout our 
community and beyond gather for the series of celebrations that will 
mark this historic occasion, it is my pleasure to add my voice to 
theirs in thanking North Oakland Missionary Baptist Church for its 
years of dedicated service to the 9th Congressional District, to the 
Bay Area and to our entire country.