Rev. William L. Cooper, Fifth Pastor
OUR FIFTH PASTOR: REVEREND WILLIAM LONNIE COOPER
(1970 - 1991)
In 1970, Reverend William Leslie Cooper became our fifth pastor. This was a new decade for our nation and the church. In spite of the passage of Civil Rights Laws, the integration of housing and educational institutions was slow to take place. There were also other significant changes within the Black community. Drug use was becoming more prevalent and senior citizens were becoming more active. These changes required our church to form a Social Action Committee that was chaired by Sister Louise Corbin, a licensed social worker and a master educator. Metropolitan Baptist Church of Boston was taking religion to higher heights and deeper depths to address the social and political changes confronting our membership, our city, and our country.
Once again the church membership grew and so did our programs. To help defray our expenses, we had fund-raising activities such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, Women's Day, and Men's Day. We also resumed our visits to, and hosting of, other churches throughout Boston.
In addition to the social, economical, and political changes we were experiencing, Metropolitan faced another transition. Urban Renewal was coming to Shawmut Avenue and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) mandated our church to relocate. A Search Committee organized to find a new location. The BRA offered us land across the street from our original location, but the cost to clear the land and build a new church was too expensive. The Search Committee found a vacant Jewish Synagogue in Dorchester that was available for purchase. In July 1973, Metropolitan Baptist Church of Boston, Incorporated, moved from Roxbury to Dorchester, free of any debt or mortgage.
Our Second Church Building Norfolk Street
Several renovations were essential to convert the synagogue into a Baptist church. This included the installation of a baptismal pool, renovation of the sanctuary, the construction of a pastor's study, the expansion of the Social Hall, and the installation of aluminum siding on the exterior of the building. An illuminated cross was placed on the front of the edifice to symbolize our church as a "beacon of light at night." We worshipped on the second floor while these changes were being made. Sister Carithia Winbush organized many of the fundraising activities needed to finance these and other church projects.
Metropolitan's move to a different neighborhood resulted in many of our early members not being able to continue worshipping with us due to a lack of transportation. The remaining members worked hard to ensure our church would continue its programs for the surrounding community. As in the past, the neighborhood youth became active in various activities including a Girls Scout Troop, Vacation Bible School, and a volunteer program. Adult members of our church initiated a Mental Health Program and a Food Pantry.
Renovation of Our
During Reverend Cooper's pastorate, two young theologians served on his staff: Reverend Barton Elliot Harris and Reverend Walter R. Murray Jr. Both served in the Youth Ministry and both left Metropolitan to become pastors.
Reverend Harris left Metropolitan to pastor the Bethel Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts. After seven years of service, Reverend Harris left Bethel to pastor his home church, the Westwood Baptist Church, University Center, in Nashville, Tennessee. Reverend Harris has pastored this church for approximately twenty-three years and is currently the Senior Pastor.
Reverend Murray was also a native of Nashville, Tennessee and received an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and graduate a degree from Vanderbilt's Owens School of Management. He was also a graduate of Harvard's Divinity School. Reverend Murray left Metropolitan to pastor Lynn Baptist Church in Lynn, Massachusetts. He was installed as pastor of Lynn Baptist Church in September 1989. Rev. Murray pastored Lynn Baptist until his death in 1998.
On May 12, 1985, we celebrated Metropolitan's Fiftieth Anniversary. We were proud of the progress we had made during Reverend Cooper's pastorate. We were blessed that he and his family were still with us for this joyous occasion. Also in attendance was Reverend Walter R. Murray Jr.,.
The Cooper Family
Reverend Cooper was supported in the ministries at Metropolitan by his wife, Mozelle, daughters: Janice and June. His youngest daughter June, is now an ordained minister. Reverend Cooper retired and was made Pastor Emeritus in 1991. He died in February 2010.