'Mother church of Yonkers' in need of renovations
Often called "the mother church of Yonkers," Messiah Baptist Church is now 146 years old -- and it's starting to show its age.
Pastor Frank Coleman says the church is in need of renovations so he is in the middle of a rebuilding capital campaign. The goal is to once again become a community resource for the city's less fortunate.
The Warburton Avenue church, which has applied for historic landmark designation, has seen its fair share of history. Civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., preached there in 1965. Yonkers native and Grammy Award-winning singer Mary J. Blige sang in the choir in the glory days. The church was also at the forefront of the desegregation lawsuit against Yonkers Public Schools.
75-year-old Doris Earl was an usher at the church when King visited 55 years ago.
The church will undergo massive renovations, but parts of it including the pulpit from which King preached and the chair he sat in will remain untouched.