Trinity Baptist Church was organized by Reverend Lewis and five members who had a deep abiding desire to serve the community through the Word of God. Trinity was organized in a house near the Green Swamp area of Sumter, South Carolina, in April of 1909. The church was later located to a section of Sumter, that was then known as Bigamtown. After a short time at that location, the church moved to a building on Walker Avenue. After an extensive stay on Walker Avenue, the church moved to 612 West Liberty Street. During this time the church was served by the following pastors: The Reverends Lewis, Taylor, Sampson, and Hilton.
Under the pastorate of Rev. Amos E. Hilton, Trinity was moved across the street to 609 West Liberty Street. Rev. Hilton served until his death in 1931. Following Rev. Hilton, Dr. H.H. Harvin served as pastor for 31 years until his death in 1963 organizing choirs and ministries to include: the Senior Choir, Gospel Choir, and the Baptist Training Union (BTU) ministry. During his tenure he built, a new edifice at the 609 West Liberty Street location; it included an education building. On October 12, 1949, Trinity hosted the first Sumter Baptist Missionary and Education Association meeting while Dr. Harvin served as pastor.
Dr. Lewis W. Walker assumed the pastorate of Trinity Baptist Church in December of 1963. Under his leadership the mortgage was satisfied, and adjoining property was purchased with the goal to build a new church. Instead of building, an offer was made and accepted to purchase the Salem Avenue Baptist Church, 101 South Salem Avenue. The Salem Avenue purchase was done July 1978. The Relocation March from 609 West Liberty to 101 South Salem Avenue was held on November 19, 1978.
In September 1980, under Dr. Walker’s tenure a daycare center was opened and operated successfully. He also organized additional choirs: including the L.W. Walker Contempo Choir, Sunday School Choir, and Male Chorus. The additional ministries he organized included: the Prayer Band, the Youth Department, Trustee Wives, Deaconess, Hospitality, Young Women Auxiliary (YWA), and Sunday School Training for Service. Dr. Lewis W. Walker, Sr. relinquished his pastorate at Trinity in 1988 after serving for twenty-five years.
Pastor Larry C. Weston was called to Trinity in March 1989 while serving as pastor of the Greenview First Baptist Church in Columbia. Having served as an assistant to Dr. Lewis Walker, Sr., he had an affinity for Trinity and prayerfully returned, this time as the pastor on March 5, 1989. He organized additional choirs and ministries to include: the Hallelujah Choir, TMBC Mass Choir, health, Christian Singles, Brotherhood, Education, African American Awareness, Newsletter, Audio-visual, Parking and Security, Bereavement, Nursing Aid, Drama, and Dance ministries. Under Pastor Weston, the word “Missionary” was inserted into Trinity Baptist Church’s name making the current name Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Under Pastor Weston’s leadership, the church developed a visionary focus and mission statement for Trinity. Trinity also took advantage of many opportunities for Biblical study on the local, state, and national levels to include in-house studies, the Sumter Baptist M & E Congress, and at the Progressive National Baptist Convention. The church became a one percent contributor to the Progressive National Baptist Convention and engaged in home and foreign mission support. Home mission includes support of the Angel Tree Project, United Ministries, support of HBCU’s, and annual Christmas Caring and Sharing events in addition to evangelistic outreaches.
At the South Salem Avenue location, major renovations were done to the educational facility, kitchen, and administrative office area in additional to some major general outside upgrades. The parking lots were paved and fenced. Properties around the church were purchased. A 44-passenger bus, minibus, and three vans were purchased. The office moved into the age of technology with computers, copiers, mail meter, fax machines, etc. Twenty-one and a half (21.5) acres of land were purchased.
After 20 years at 101 South Salem Avenue, the Grand March to 155 Wall Street was held on, Saturday, February 21, 2009, and the dedication service was held on Sunday, February 22, 2009. In May of 2012, at the Wall Street location, TMBC had another ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedicated the new 400-capacity fellowship hall as an expansion to the existing fellowship hall. At the Wall Street location, a multimillion-dollar, two-level multipurpose facility consisting of 52, 000 square feet was built. The first floor consists of a worship center with 1131 seating capacity to include twelve surrounding overflow rooms that can be utilized as additional seating and classrooms. The second level consists of 18 classrooms and a chapel with 300 seating capacity. The facility has 8 restrooms and a commercial kitchen.
Too, under Pastor Weston’s leadership, females were given the opportunity for more leadership roles—women in the preaching ministry and serving as Trustees and Deacons. A substantial growth in membership and finances also occurred under Pastor Weston. Many community organizations, including the James R. Clark Sickle Cell Foundation, the Sumter Baptist M & E Congress utilize Trinity’s facilities. Trinity also houses an after-school program (Helping Youth Pursue Excellence –HYPE). TMBC has been a site for HYPE and host for HYPE’S “Lights on Afterschool” for many years. TMBC has also hosted many gospel artists to include Shirley Caesar, Bishop Paul Martin, John P. Kee, Luther Barnes, Lee Williams, Milton Brunson and the Georgia Mass Choir as well as other notable Gospel Artists.
Pastor Weston is serving his thirty-first (31st) year as pastor of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, and God continues to bless Trinity to enlarge her service in the community to include a partnership with Willow Drive Elementary School, serve as the hosting site for the Sumter Chapter National Federation of the Blind Annual Gala and multiple other local and state events. Trinity continues to grow spiritually, numerically, and financially, makes purchases, technological and other upgrades, etc. However, at the center of it all, Pastor Weston also continuously reminds the worshippers that “GOD DID IT!!!”
And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. Matthew 24:6-7
During the month of March 2020, the world was disrupted in a way never seen since 2009, when H1N1 influenza, the first pandemic in the 21st century occurred. On March 19, 2020, the entire world was advised to stay home, practice social and physical distancing, wear a mask, and seek medical treatment if sick.
At the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, the doors were literally closed on Sunday, March 15, 2020. However, under the direction of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of our visionary Pastor, Larry C. Weston, we went immediately to online preaching on March 22, 29, and April 5. On Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, we began our Parking Lot Service which continued throughout 2020 and the beginning of 2021. In addition, services were broadcast via a local radio station and Facebook for worshippers unable to attend the Parking Lot Services. The Parking Lot Services were carried out with the support and assistance of the Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses, Trustees, Ushers, Hospitality Ministry, Media Staff and Parking Lot Ministry.
GOD DID IT!
During this perilous time, Dr. Donald Greene, President of the South Carolina Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention and Dr. Sammie Simmons, Regional Vice President, selected Trinity Missionary Baptist Church as a distribution site for the local community and surrounding areas, to distribute food to families. Trinity’s members worked tirelessly together in this effort which was coordinated by Deacon Michael Choice with assistance from Deacon Barney Gadson. The Church also served as a site for COVID vaccinations and testing.
GOD DID IT!
On the first Sunday, June 6, 2021, we re-entered the Sanctuary for Sunday morning worship! Following CDC guidelines, several precautions were in place to protect worshippers such as: mandatory masks, proof of vaccination, temperature check, social and physical distancing, seating arrangement and exiting the Sanctuary. Simultaneously, for two months, service continued for those preferring the parking lot.
GOD DID IT!
All of this and through it all, Pastor Weston saw the need to implement opportunities for members and friends to participate in daily prayer, Bible Study, Sunday School, and Ministry meetings via technology such as Zoom, dial-in and parking lot meetings for ministries.
GOD DID IT!