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Aenon Since 1923

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 Chatmon Street (now Ormond Street) to 5 Leopold Street. Due to increasing age and failing 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 leader. 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 the church. 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, when Aenon relocated to a larger building at 362 Columbia Avenue.

God blessed Aenon as it grew to more than 900 members. Not wanting to turn anyone away 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, Reverend and Mrs. Ida Mae Greer, and the Aenon congregation marched to the new church!

Under the leadership of Reverend Greer, Aenon was affiliated with and actively involved in:

  • The American Baptist Association
  • The National Baptist Association
  • The Empire Baptist Missionary State Convention
  • The American Baptist of Monroe Association
  • The Great Lakes Baptist Association
  • FIGHT organization
  • Council of Churches
  • United Ministries
  • NAACP

During Pastor Greer’s tenure, he merged the Senior Choir, Male Chorus and Gospel Chorus into the current Mass Choir and Youth Choir. Noticing a need for a young adult ministry, he established the Young Adult Auxiliary as a training ground for their spiritual growth.

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 1,800. 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 teaches the Aenon congregation the importance of the "church family concept" and the joy of the spirit experienced in "giving freely to God that which is rightfully His". As a result of this teaching, the church has been blessed both spiritually and financially.

During Pastor Cherry’s administration, Aenon has:

  • Paid off the 1st mortgage on the building at 175 Genesee Street (1986)
  • Published a quarterly newsletter
  • Enhanced the Reverend Murphy Greer Scholarship fund
  • Dedicated the Reverend Murphy Greer Fellowship Hall; including the purchasing and installation of a bust of Pastor Greer
  • Licensed 9 and ordained 9 ministers; Ordained 22 deacons
  • Established the Aenon Christian Education Department
  • Instituted the Children’s Church, Youth Church Ministry and the ALPHA Drama & Performing Arts Ministry
  • Put into action a commitment to youth by encouraging participation in the Eastern Region Youth Conferences and sponsored a Youth revival
  • Established the Male Chorus and the Psalms of Praise Choir Ministries
  • Entered into an Evangelism thrust and developed an Evangelism Ministry
  • Established the "More Than Conquerors" Ministry to assist individuals with dependency
  • Paid off the $1.2Million mortgage renovation on the building at 175 Genesee Street (2004)
  • Launch a church website on the Internet at www.aenonbaptistchurch.org
  • Expanded the Evangelism thrust to focus/train the members on ‘Soul Winning"

Aenon continues to support many community organizations, programs and events:

  • Sponsors Cub Scout Packs and a Boy Scout Troop that currently has 6 young men who have obtained the rank of Eagle
  • Sponsors Girl Scout Troops at the Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadet and Senior levels. There are 4 young ladies that have obtained their Silver Award
  • Crop Walk
  • Urban League Membership drives (we have been a leader in memberships collected among area churches for a number of years)
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Community Health Awareness food kitchen
  • Monroe County Women’s Health Partnership program
  • Black Leadership Commission on AIDS
  • United Way
  • Hosts the 24-Hour Gospel Extravaganza

Pastor Cherry continues 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.

Aenon continues to be a beacon in our community partnering with a variety of organizations to provide events/activities, including:

  • Footprints Program: On the Path to Homeownership
  • Monroe County Department of Health flu shot programs
  • Nationally renowned orators: Bishop G. E. Patterson, Cornell West, Floyd Flake and Bishop Paul Morton
  • Hosted Earvin "Magic" Johnson along with AIDS workshop/health fair
  • Worked with Action For A Better Community to serve as an AIDS testing site

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. Above all, "…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." I Corinthians 15:58 in addition to moving onward and upward telling the good news of Christ, as we endeavor to win many to Him.

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