In 1932 a group of men and women were meeting for bi-lingual worship services in English and Portuguese at the Winthrop Street Baptist Church, Taunton, Massachusetts. Sunday school classes were formed and soon attendance grew to warrant organizing the Portuguese Baptist Church. Later, in 1940, the name was changed to First Portuguese Baptist Church. Rev. Manuel Avila and Rev. Antonio Rodrigues were the first pastors.
In 1945 the church acquired its own property at 29 Oak Street in Taunton. After meeting at the Oak Street location for nine years, it was decided that the church should acquire some available land nearby on Pine Street. The church purchased the land and built a new church at that location.
While meeting at these locations The First Portuguese Baptist Church, congregation was pastored by Rev. Williston Holbert and Rev. Manuel Oliveira. Each pastor made a unique and lasting contribution to the life of the church.
In 1969, the church purchased the building formerly owned by Winslow Congregational Church at 61 Winthrop Street in Taunton. The congregation moved there and continued to thrive.
In 1977, to reflect the demographics of the time, the name of the church was changed to The Baptist Church of All Nations.
During Rev. Holbert’s tenure, the church became known throughout New England for its preaching, outreach, music and dedication to missions and denominational support. Rev. Holbert himself earned a reputation as a loving, caring man of God. Even after his retirement in 1989, he continued to preach the gospel in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, and remained active in denominational affairs of the Baptist churches throughout New England. Also during this era, Rev. Roy Fralin Sr., was called to assist Rev. Holbert, as Associate Pastor of BCAN. Rev. Fralin was an extremely vital participant in rejuvenating the Youth Fellowship Program.
In 1990, the church called its seventh pastor, The Reverend Tyrone Woodberry, Sr. Pastor Woodberry and his family soon endeared themselves to the church and the community. He continued the tradition of good Baptist preaching, and updated the church’s administrative structure, including forming a committee to rewrite the by-laws. Tragically, Pastor Woodberry was killed in an auto accident during the summer of 1991.
On the first Sunday in May, 1993, The Reverend Stephen J. Murphy became the eighth pastor of the congregation. Under Pastor Murphy’s leadership tenure the church budget nearly doubled, a monthly church newsletter, BCAN Light, was established, forty people were baptized, and the Youth Fellowship grew to forty participants. Missions’ giving increased, and $9,000 in scholarships was awarded to college bound students. Rev Murphy placed an emphasis on preaching and teaching the gospel, the ministry of music and Christian outreach. As well, Rev. Murphy effectively leaded the Capital Stewardship Campaign and New Building Project, an effort needed to rebuild the church edifice on the same location site.
In February of 2001, Reverend and Mrs. Murphy, returned to their home state of California to serve in new areas of ministry. Reverend Murphy faithfully served for over seven years as the Baptist Church of All Nations spiritual leader.
On July 13, of 2001 the church voted by a wide majority to extend the call to Rev. Dr. Robert J. Gomes of Wareham, MA to become its ninth Senior Pastor. Pastor Gomes’ ministry was unique in that he also maintained his pastoral duties at the Marion Community Baptist Church which he helped establish in Marion, MA. The Baptist Church of All Nations and Pastor Gomes understood the challenges of this dual role but took on the challenge with God’s leading hand. On Sunday, August 5, 2001, Pastor Gomes was welcomed into the fellowship and gave his first sermon as Pastor. Pastor Gomes and his wife Linda developed the Baptist Church Of All Nations Video Ministry which included the taping of the Sunday Morning Holy Worship Services as well as special church programs. These videos were televised locally in Taunton as well as nine other surrounding cable access stations. This ministry was meant for those who were not able to attend worship services and a new outreach ministry to those looking for a church home. Pastor Gomes also participated in the New Building project and continued the Capital Stewardship Campaign. In February of 2004, after two plus years of faithful service to both The Baptist Church of All Nations and Marion Community Baptist Church, Pastor Gomes determined that in the long run it would be beneficial for both congregations, for him and Linda to return to full time ministry at the Marion Community Baptist Church.
After a time of transition, Rev. Dr. Johnny M. Wilson Jr., joined with BCAN in July, 2006. His official Service of Installation as tenth Pastor of BCAN, took place on October 15, 2006. Rev Dr. Wilson’s passion in ministry focused on the empowerment of a congregation to facilitate the love of Jesus Christ in the community and to provide a ministry model that exemplified hope and transformation in people’s lives. Rev Wilson served the needs of BCAN until January, 2008.
The Lord had a new direction and transformation for the BCAN congregation. The congregation elected to call its first female senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Luz Celeniar Tirado. Her vision was to challenge BCAN to remember the past as we prepare for the future. Upon her arrival as 11th Senior Pastor in November of 2009, Pastor Lucy provided the ministry of “equipping” the saints by preaching and teaching on topics that capture the total person (mind, body and spirit). Upon her departure, Rev. Farrar Walker Jr., M. Div provided BCAN with pulpit supply. However, God had bigger plans for the relationship that formed between Rev. Farrar and BCAN. On January 1, 2013 Rev. Walker Farrar Jr., M. Div became The Baptist Church of All Nations’ Part-time Interim Pastor.
Praise God for our current Pastor, Reverend Charles Hightower!
After eighty years of ministry within and out of the church walls, The Baptist Church of All Nations family continues to provide a strong presence in our city of Taunton, Massachusetts.