TBC Pastor since 1976
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown
Civil Rights Servant and NAACP San Francisco Chapter President
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown
Pastor from 1970 to Present
Diligent search for a Minister in 1976
The Rev. Amos Cleophus Brown, Sr. was chosen and began his Ministry at Third Baptist Church in June of 1976, following several months of diligent searching for a minister with the training, ability, and leadership qualities to lead the congregation in this age. Rev. Brown had earned his B.A. from Morehouse College in 1964, and had earned his Master of Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1968. (Rev. Brown later earned his Doctor of Ministry at United Theological Seminary, in 1990). Rev. Brown, a scholar, writer, and dynamic speaker, brought to the pulpit his experience as a Pastor held in high regard by many who know him. He was also an avid servant for social equality and civil rights. Dr. Brown had served as Youth Field Secretary for the NAACP in the South from 1962 to 1964. In 1959 he had served as National Chairman of the Youth and College Division of the NAACP and had presided over the Youth Session at the 51st Annual Meeting of the association in St. Paul, Minnesota. While a student at Morehouse in 1962, he led a “Kneeling” demonstration which resulted in the desegregation of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia. He was one of the founders of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, which resulted in the student sit- in movement in Atlanta. He also had the honor, in 1964, of participating in the travel-study project, ”Operation Crossroads Africa.” Rev. Brown had also worked intimately with Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence Mitchell, Medgar Evers, and Jesse Jackson to promote non-violent activism. Upon assuming the pastorate of Third Baptist Church, he immediately led the congregation to assess the social and spiritual needs of the community.
Similar to Rev. Haynes, Sr., Rev. Brown believes in order for the church to minister to people spiritually, it cannot leave out the social, economic, or political welfare of the people — it must address the whole person and be involved in all areas of community life which affect the people of God. Under his leadership, a Blue Ribbon Committee spent considerable time studying the needs of the church and community. One finding was that educational opportunities needed attention among Blacks in San Francisco. On the heels of this successful study, direction was determined for the future. From this successful effort, the church was inspired to establish a Summer School Program for students K-12. In his new community Pastor Brown became involved immediately in community service, civil rights, denominational and international work. His involvement continues with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as other organizations, i.e. San Francisco Ministerial Alliance, National Council of Church, Black Ministers Conference, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, San Francisco religious Council. In addition, he has participated in the American Baptist Conventions, as well as the local and state meetings. Rev. Brown has also served in the following capacities: Vice President of the Governing Board of San Francisco Community College, from 1987 to 1988; National Chairman of the National Baptist Commission on Civil Right s and Human Services; Chairman of the Bay Area Ecumenical Pastors‘ Conference; and Member of the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches of Christ. Pastor Brown’s commitment to the spiritual, the educational and civic aspects of the church program was reflected in his participation as Chairman of the NAACP (local branch) Program Committee to present Benjamin Hooks, it’s newly appointed national director to the San Francisco and West Bay communities at Third Baptist Church. On the occasion of the Church’s 125th Anniversary, Pastor Brown brought to Third Baptist Church and the Bay Area many national personalities to celebrate the involvement of Third Baptist in inter-denominational work, educational pursuits, political activities, and church work. Among the personages were the late Dr. B. E. Mays, Ambassador Andrew Young, the late Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Dr. Bernelee Fason and Jesse Jackson. It was also under his leadership that San Francisco rallied to support the candidacy of the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the Presidency in 1984 and 1988.
Missions and Pulpit Exchange
The Christian Education program at Third Baptist has greatly improved with the scheduling of outstanding Christian Development Institutes and seasonal training events to prepare a more abled leadership. One novel educational program, along with the aforementioned one which Pastor Brown inaugurated, was the “Story Time” on Sunday morning. This feature has been well received by the children and the entire congregation as a great experience of meeting the children at their own levels of religious understanding. During Pastor Brown’s tenure, the membership has increased each year with ·an average yearly increase of 200. The operational income has quadrupled. Mission giving also tripled to American\Baptist and National Baptist causes. In 1980, Pastor Brown was invited to preach for the Southern African Baptist Convention. This fourth tour of Africa also took him to Swaziland, Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt. A strong advocate for Africa and liberation of Third World peoples, he led the Bay Area in raising $68,000 for the Somalian Relief Effort in 1981 . The Women’s Missionary Union and Youth Department have also conducted a humanitarian service of sponsoring children from Tanzania to receive heart surgery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In June of 1984, Pastor Brown led in the funding of B.A.R.A.C. (Black American Response to the African Crisis) which resulted in $300,000 being raised for the Ethiopian Famine Crisis. He led an air-lift in March 1985 to Ethiopia under the auspices of the National Baptist Convention. In January, 1984, Rev. Brown was awarded the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Ministerial Award” for outstanding leadership and contributions to the Black Church in America. The San Francisco Business and Professional Women, Inc. presented him with the “Man of the Year” Award for 1985. This award was given for community service and outstanding leadership. Like Martin Luther King, Rev. Brown is a civil rights leader, an ecumenical activist who opens his pulpits to women and, in fact, licensed the first woman to preach at Third Baptist Church. In addition, Rev. Brown introduced a pulpit exchange program, bringing Rabbis to speak at Third Baptist and Black Pastors to speak in synagogues. It is significant that Third Baptist, under the leadership of Rev. Brown has provided varied ministries that serve the needs of persons from the cradle to the grave, crossing racial, social, intellectual, and cultural lines.
Seniors and Youth Programs
Third Baptist is proud of the following programs it provides: Senior Citizens center – Each Wednesday, the Seniors hold a meeting from 11:00 am to 1:30pm. Lunch is served each week $2.00. Time for lunch is 12:30 p.m. This program provides stimulating activities and nutritional and affordable meals senior citizens in the community who might otherwise not be able to have. Feed The Hungry Program – Each Thursday, volunteers from the Feed The Hungry Program provide food for homeless and needy people from the community. The food is free to all who come, and is served from 12:30 – 1:30 p .m. Summer Academic School – Provides San Francisco children and youth in grade levels K through 12 with an intensive six week summer school program which enhances their reading, writing, computation and critical thinking. The program, which is accredited by the San Francisco Unified School District was established in 1978 and has met the needs of children, youth and their families for the past 14 years. During this time, as many as 200 students annually have been enrolled. (In 1988, Rev. Brown was honored by Phi Delta Kappa Society for his outstanding contribution to education as Founder and Leader of the Accredited Third Baptist Summer School since 1977) The Ethiopian Resettlement Project- This project has the distinction of sponsoring over one-thousand refugees from Ethiopia , Eritheria, and Hati, more than any local congregation in the nation. Back on Track Tutorial Program- This tutorial program for elementary through high school students is designed to: assist them with remedial, grade level or enrichment skills in their individual schools; improve performance on standardized tests; acquire and practice effective study habits to complete school assignments; develop and exhibit confidence in the ability to succeed; learn to think critically; and practice es that expand skills. One of the students in this program received the National Presidential Academic Fitness Award for outstanding academic achievement. This program is a joint venture with Congregation Emanu-El. Charles Tindley Music Academy – provides an enriching cultural experience for Bay Area children and youth who otherwise would not experience a high quality music program. This music academy helps inner city youth realize their creative potential through cultivation and performance. Narcotics Anonymous – This drug and alcoholism rehabilitation program is offered to the community on Monday evenings.
In July of 1989, Pastor Brown delivered a paper at the First International Conference on Human Rights in the Soviet Union, and in the Spring of 1990, he toured Israel and met Nelson Mandela in South Africa upon his release from prisons. In the spring of 1991 he was among the clergy leadership that helped Dr. Leon Sullivan convene the first International summit on African/African-America affairs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast .Dr. Brown has played a key role in the Development and Expansion Program, a housing and community center for San Francisco’s low to moderate-income citizens. He initiated and developed the multipurpose West Bay Community Center, the only redevelopment venture developed by an African-American Institution in the New Fillmore Center. This two-story, 22, 000 square-foot community service center which was opened in July, 1992 is designed to meet the needs of all community members, from the cradle to the grave. Dr. Brown also was successful as Chair of the Social Justice Commission of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. in unifying all of the twenty million Black Baptist to oppose the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. His testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was cited by the Chairman of the Committee as being, possible the most eloquent, convincing, cogent and damnable bill of particulars as to why Clarence Thomas should not serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. The influence of Pastor Brown’s leadership is being felt in the community as well as the church. He continues to call people to live up to their preachments and continues to work in the struggle of justice and equality for all people. By his side as he serves are his lovely wife, Jane, and children, Amos Jr. David, and Kizzie Maria who was born September 30, 1977 during the second year of his administration. The first lady received her Masters Degree in Business Administration with emphasis on corporate finance, management and accounting from the University of Minnesota. She was a participant in the International Living Homestead Program in France. This gifted woman is a member of the Cathedral Choir where she appears as soloist.
Summary of TBC History
In the discourse of events of significance in the life of the church have been recorded in relation to the Pastor under whose leadership they were initiated, completed, or made a great impact on the lives of the church members and the community. It must not be forgotten, however, that through these one-hundred forty-one years the church continues to be blessed with many competent, experienced, dedicated and willing lay leaders who in cooperation with the Pastor have led in the planning and implementation of the ever-expanding church program. As one reflects on its 160 plus year history, it is evident that Third Baptist Church, organized during the Gold Rush, surviving through the Depression; and expanding during and following World War II and the Social Revolution of the Sixties and Seventies; the Reaganomics of the eighties; and the many crises we are currently faced with in the Nineties (all historic events which had a tremendous impact on the lives of the San Francisco Bay Area population and the lives of others around the world) has done exceedingly well against seemingly impossible odds. As the citizenry of San Francisco and the Bay Area communities approach the future, they look forward to the church, which was for a long period of time, the only Black Baptist Church in San Francisco, continuing its leadership role to the community, state and nation. It cannot afford to rest on its noble heritage. It must think of the achievements wrought thus far to the honor and glory of God for the betterment of humanity, yes. But it must also think of how great this impressive landmark in the City by the Golden Gate can become. There is much to be done in accomplishing the tasks begun and addressing the critical issues of the new millennium and beyond.