Aenon Baptist Church was first organized as a mission in 1923 by Reverend Henry Greenlea. Rev.Greenlea served as pastor until 1928. Under his leadership, the mission grew from less than 30 to about 40 members. In 1926, the mission moved from Chatom Street (now Ormond Street) to 5 Leopold Street. Due to increasing age and toiling health, he requested the mission to elect Reverend Robert E. Warfield as pastor.
Reverend Robert E. Warfield was pastor from 1928 until 1940. During his tenure the mission moved (in 1932) to 157 Joseph Avenue. In August of 1939 the mission moved to 200 Joseph Avenue. With the recognition and sponsorship of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church and the Monroe Baptist Union (now known as the American Baptist Churches of Monroe Association), the mission was organized as a church and incorporated on December 27, 1939. Rev. Warfield served as pastor until 1940. Aenon became affiliated with the Western Baptist Association (now the Great Lakes Baptist Association.) The Empire Baptist Missionary State Convention, The National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated and the Monroe Baptist Union.
During 1940 both Reverend Murphy Greer and Reverend Nelson B. Brown served as spiritual leaders. Reverend Greer served the first six months as interim pastor and In June of 1940, Reverend Brown was installed as pastor. During Reverend Brown’s tenure the church moved to 198 Joseph Avenue than later to 180 Joseph Avenue.
In February 1941, Reverend Murphy Greer was called to pastor Aenon. Under Rev. Greer’s administration, the church continued to grow. Property was purchased and remodeled at 22 Oregon Street where the church remained until 1963; then Aenon relocated to a larger building at 362 Columbia Avenue.
As Aenon grew, God blessed Aenon, and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Rev. Greer led the church to purchase the edifice that had been the Calvary Baptist Church at 175 Genesee Street. On August 22, 1971, Pastor Greer along with the Aenon congregation marched to the new church!
Aenon gained much recognition for its participation in student training programs for numerous Colgate Rochester Divinity School ministers. “Pop” Greer – as he came to be known – served Aenon faithfully for 39 years. Reverend Greer went home to be with the Lord on January 5, 1980.
Reverend Robert Miller served Aenon as acting pastor from May 13, 1979 until June 28, 1981. At that time the membership had grown to approximately 1800. Under the leadership of Rev. Miller, Aenon continued to grow as a viable and spiritual part of the Rochester community.
In May 1981, the church called Reverend James L Cherry, Sr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 6, 1981, Rev. James L. Cherry, Sr. became the pastor of the Aenon Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Cherry taught the Aenon congregation the importance of the “church family concept” and the joy of the spirit experienced in “giving freely to God met which is rightfully His.” As a result of this teaching, the church has been blessed both spiritually and financially.
Pastor Cherry continued to lead Aenon in several local, state and national Christian related initiatives. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, from October 1996 until July 1997, Aenon embarked on a $3 million renovation and expansion project. This project included expanding sanctuary space with new pews; expanding the educational facilities; installation of central air conditioning and an elevator for handicap access; upgraded lighting, heating, security system, and state of the art audio video system; Christian library and computer training facilities.
After the renovation, Aenon was blessed with the privilege of hosting several state, regional and international conferences. These include the Empire Baptist Missionary State Convention; July 1998, Eastern Region Youth Ministry Conference of the Women’s Auxiliary to the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; and the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention in September 1998 and again in August 2008.
The Reverend Dr. James L. Cherry Sr. retired as pastor from Aenon on December 31, 2014. His leadership, his spiritual teaching, his faith for Aenon, his friendship, his guidance, and most of all his love for Aenon will never be forgotten.
Aenon is so many things to so many people. Each member has contributed to Aenon’s history in a special way. Let us continue to encourage one another, and be encouraged.
I Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.