In the year 1957, a church census of the town of Citronelle was conducted. The census showed that there were over 300 unchurched Baptist living in or near our town. Several people who were members of First Baptist Church of Citronelle, began talking about the need for a second Baptist Church in Citronelle in order to reach those who had no church home as well as the lost people.
There were weekly meetings for planning and praying for the Lords leadership as the group tried to decide how to proceed.
On August 11, 1957, thirty-five Baptist met at the Baptist Assembly chapel to consider forming a new church. Among the group were Deacons, Sunday School Teachers, Nursery Workers, Committee members, etc., who had worked hard at the First Baptist Church. Charter members were: Ed Byrd, Grace Byrd, Rosa M. Clayton, Juanita Clayton, Sylvia Clayton, Betty Sellers, Annie Mae Daniels, Lee Daniels, Edna Daniels, Billy J. Goldman, Freida Goldman, Anice Green, Dennis Green, A.E. Holliday, Laura Holliday, Elizabeth Daniels, Eunice Hearn, Esther Hearn, Bonnie Sellers, B.L. Onderdonk, Eunice Onderdonk, Goldie Powell, Joe M. Powell, Joe Plemmons, Sue Plemmons, E.A. Petrey, Mrs. E.A. Petrey, Clyde Smith, Iwana Smith, Nathan Sellers, Ruby Sellers, Elton Sellers, and Henry Whatley. Very soon things began to happen.
On September 14, 1957, the church called Rev. William Dossett as its first pastor. Bro. Dossett had assisted the church in many ways at previous meetings. He and his family had extended a helping hand while the church was getting started. He was dedicated to his work for the Lord and the Church was thankful to God for sending him to be its first Pastor.
The Church adopted the Articles of Faith of the Southern Baptist Convention. They continued meeting at the Baptist Assembly Chapel as the committees began searching for land to build a church building. Led by their faithful pastor, a part of the Laird Subdivision was acquired. It was located at the corner of Mobile Street and Williams Street.
The people of the church were drawn close together in fellowship as they worked, planned, sawed, nailed and painted. The people felt encouraged as they met for a church service for the first time with only the frame-work and the roof completed. Two buckets were hung from poles to provide light. They sat on planks that were laid on concrete blocks. All felt that God had poured out His blessings on each one in the fellowship. The building was completed during the year of 1957. The first anniversary of the church was held on September 7, 1958. The pews for the church were not purchased until 1960. In the meantime cane bottom ladder back chairs and benches were used.
On February 22, 1961, Rev. William Dossett resigned his pastorate at Memorial Baptist Church. He was a dedicated pastor as he led the church and ministered to the people. Many were added to the church during this time.
Dr. Glaze from the New Orleans Seminary served as a supply Pastor until the church called Rev. Louie Reynolds on June 28, 1961. Rev. Reynolds was still a student at New Orleans Seminary and traveled back and forth until his work there was completed. Bro. Louie and Ann, his wife, made their home here in Citronelle at the time. Bro. Reynolds resigned as pastor in March of 1967 to accept another place of service in Enterprise, Alabama as Religion Educational Director at Fort Rucker. Many good things had been accomplished during the six years of Bro. Reynolds ministry at Memorial. He and Ann were loved and appreciated. All hated to see them go.
Our next pastor was Rev. Gus Merritt who was called by the church on August 27, 1967. The church purchased a pastorium near the corner of Laird Drive and Mobile Street. The church also purchased four more lots that joined the church property.
From June 1, 1970 to August 18, 1970, the church again found itself without a pastor. Bro. James C. Weninegar was called on August 18, 1970. In 1981, Bro. Weninegar and the church members began to plan for a new Family Life Building. The growth of Sunday School attendance and an ever expanding program justified the addition. The church approved the plan. Ground was broken on Sunday, June 13, 1982, for the Family Life Building.
After nineteen years as pastor, Bro. Weninegar, due to his failing health, resigned on August 19, 1989. The church had grown in number and the Lord had poured out His blessings on it over the nineteen years Bro. Weninegar served as our pastor. He and Juanita continued to live in the parsonage.
After much prayer and searching for the man God had chosen to lead Memorial, Rev. Freeman Williamson was called as the pastor. Bro. Williamson came from St. Cloud, Florida on April 1, 1990. After a short time, he became ill with leukemia. He fought this personal battle and asked the Lord to see fit to restore his health. In the summer of 1992, he went into remission with his illness. Bro. Williamson's health again started to fail and it was on Sunday, October 3, 1994, that he turned in his resignation due to the health. He was called home to Glory on November 7, 1994.
On February 25, 1995, under Dr. Sid Samples leadership, the Family Life Building was dedicated in honor of Bro. James C. Weninegar. There were over 400 people in the morning worship service. Following the service, a covered-dish dinner was held and the formal dedication service took place. A bronze plaque bearing the name James Weninegar Family Life Center was hung in the foyer of the building.
After months of searching, the pulpit committee recommended that Bro. Scott Hildreth be called as the new pastor. On October 22, 1995, the young, new pastor, lovingly called Bro. Scott, preached his first sermon as pastor of Memorial Baptist Church. Under Bro. Scott's leadership the church was growing in all areas. In February of 1996, two lots on Williams Street was purchased.
In November of 1999, Bro. Scott Hildreth accepted an appointment to the International Board of Missions of the Southern Baptist Convention. Bro. Scott, Leslie, Rachel and Jacob then moved to Germany where they still reside as they do the Lords work.
In May of 2000, the church called Rev. Eddie Bates as its Pastor. Rev. Bates came to Memorial from First Baptist Church Reform, Al. He served as the Church's Pastor until June 2009. In February 2010 until July 2016, Rev. Dino R. Danzey served as Pastor. From July 2010 until November 2011, Bro. Matt Baker served as Minister of Music and Students. Brett Warren served as Minister of Students from July 2012 until June 2016. Rev. Justin Carter served as pastor from March 2017 until December 2018. Gage Gordon served as Minister of Youth from July 2017 until early 2018. Jonathan Higgins served as the Minister of Youth until January 2020. In June of 2019 the church called Rev. Dino Danzey to serve an unprecedented second tenure as pastor. Other staff members at this time include Amanda Dollar, Church Secretary; Alfreda Chancery, Financial Secretary; Lynn Smith, Custodians The Church, after sixty two years, continues to serve an integral role in the community by ministering to the citizens of Citronelle and the surrounding area.