The New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was founded and organized by Reverend Dr. Benjamin J. Holmes, Sr. on March 12, 1958 at 2979 Prospect Street, Gary, Indiana in a small garage. Reverend F. W. Coleman was the Presiding Minister for the installation service of New Friendship Baptist Church. The charter members were the late Reverend Benjamin Holmes, Sr., Sister Leatra Holmes, Rev. Joseph Paul, Sister Maggie Paul, Sister Daisy Franklin, Sister Juanita Franklin, Rev. George McCoy, Sister Hattie Thompson, Brother George Thompson and the late Mother Ethel Purnell.
Under the leadership of Pastor Holmes, the congregation grew rapidly, and was divided into auxiliaries. In the fall of 1958 the church moved into the old Pilgrim Church Building at 1961 Washington Street. At this location the Lord continued to add many souls to the church. It was there that Pastor Holmes had a vision to move to the Tolleston area of Gary. This vision was presented to the membership and they graciously accepted.
In the fall of 1959 the church moved to the Tolleston area at 2901 West 15th Avenue. God continued to add souls and we outgrew the building! As we continued to progress, Pastor had a vision to purchase some lots at 1545 Waite Street. This was presented to the members, and was gladly accepted. The membership worked hard with various projects to help make Pastor Holmes’ vision a reality.
Our accomplishments have been many. Three lots were purchased and paid off in less than three years. We broke ground and began construction on the basement in 1966. We moved into the basement later that year. We completed our sanctuary in October of 1969 and marched into it the third Sunday in November in that same year. God continued to bless us. In 1975 we extended our sanctuary to include the following: A Baptistry, a choir loft, a church office, the Pastor’s Study and Bath, a storage room, a kitchen and rest rooms.
Through God’s Grace, our accomplishments have been many. As we continued to grow, Pastor Holmes had another vision to build a new edifice, adjacent to our current building and to purchase more lots for parking. On May 7, 2000, we marched into our beautiful new edifice! In 2006, we purchased two (2) vans to help transport our members to the various services. Pastor Holmes had envisioned opening a credit union and developing a housing structure for the elderly and disabled.
On November 22, 2010, God called our beloved Pastor Holmes from labor to reward. By the grace of God, the many accomplishments are far too numerable to list. However, Bible Basics, midweek Prayer Service, third Sunday anointing service, street ministry, GED and computer classes, an operative Junior church, and Christian Education were precious and prioritized. Today, we pause to pay homage to the late honorable, Rev. Dr. Benjamin J. Holmes, Sr., a man with a vision.
Pastor Holmes had another vision. Affectionately known as the ‘ good shepherd’, he loved his flock and passed the torch on to God’s prepared vessel, Rev. Royce F. Thompson, Sr. In April of 2011, this anointed, young, humble, energetic man of God was officially installed as pastor of NFMBC.
Under the leadership of Pastor Thompson, the church has shown outstanding growth in membership. Both young and old alike, love, respect and adhere to his powerful preaching and teaching of the word of God. Many ministries have started under his leadership such as, The Marriage Ministry, Food Pantry, Daughters of Destiny, Women of C.L.A.S.S., and the R.A.I.N.B.O.W. Drama Ministry. In September of 2014, Pastor Thompson & Min. Mary Woodard began the church’s first Christian Education Leadership School approved and accredited by the National Baptist Convention Publishing Board in Nashville, TN. In January of 2015, we were blessed to have the Food Pantry Ministry start again, as Sis. Evelyn Burnside ministry leader. From the time the ministry was started to today, we have served over 3,000 families across Northwest Indiana.
In June of 2015, The New Friendship Anointed Voices Choir was blessed to record their first live CD and DVD entitled, “A Long Time Coming: Legacy Fulfilled”. The project was dedicated to the late Dr. Benjamin J. Holmes, Sr., for it was he who had the dream and vision to have the choir record and thank God the dream became a reality. At New Friendship, lives are being enriched and God is being Praised. We are continuing to build on a solid foundation, Building The Kingdom & People of God through Evangelism, Edification, & Stewardship. Let us continue to give God all the praise for the great things He has done, because it is not about us but all about God. As Pastor Thompson tells us, “It’s Already Looking Better!”