The Greater Galilee Baptist Church Family has been extremely blessed by God. God is blessing our church exponentially, both numerically and spiritually, for which we are eternally grateful.
The Greater Galilee Baptist church began in 1916 as a Sunday school group which met in the home of the late Reverend Herbert Edwards and his wife, the late Sister Annabelle Edwards. The Edwards established the fellowship to meet the needs of the African Americans in the Barberton area. The charter members were: Reverend Herbert Edwards, Sister Annabelle Edwards, Deacon and Sister B. N. Chandler, Brother and Sister Nay Smith, and Brother Mayfield.
The first pastor of Galilee was the late Reverend N. H. Jones from Atlanta, Georgia. He served for a short time before returning to Atlanta to continue his education.
The second pastor was Reverend Ferby. Reverend Ferby met with Reverend Edwards and agreed to disband the church he had formed with this brother and join Galilee. Reverend Ferby then became the pastor of the combined church. This church was named The Peace and Goodwill Baptist Church.
Shortly thereafter, the membership voted to rename the church The Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. Worship services were held in the homes of members of the congregation, as well as in the homes of non-members. The membership increased during those home services. As time passed, Reverend Edwards was given permission to use the upstairs of the Northern Theatre for Sunday services. Reverend A. C. Carlyle was the third pastor of Galilee. He pastored from 1918 – 1919.
In 1919, Reverend Abraham Thomas who relocated to Barberton from Portsmouth, Ohio for employment, was called to be the fourth pastor. A group of members from his previous church joined the Galilee family. In 1921, Pastor Thomas and some of the members who came from his previous church chose to leave Galilee and began another church.
The fifth pastor of Galilee was Reverend Isaac M. Yancy. During Pastor Yancy’s tenure, Galilee joined with Friendship Baptist Church whose current pastor was Reverend McWhee. The combined church was called the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. Under the pastorate of Pastor Yancy, the church’s present site was purchased from a Caucasian congregation for $7,000. Pastor Yancy served Galilee for seven years before God led him to pastor a church in Kenmore, Ohio. The sixth and seventh pastors of Galilee were Reverend Samuel S. Thomas and Reverend Van Landingham.
In 1938, Reverend Milton E. Wilson took over as Galilee’s eighth pastor. Under Pastor Wilson’s leadership, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church paid off the church and had a mortgage-burning service. Pastor Wilson purchased a parsonage on Van Street. Over time, the church reimbursed Pastor Wilson for the purchase of the parsonage. Pastor Wilson left Galilee to pastor Liberty Hill Church in Cleveland, Ohio.
Galilee’s ninth pastor was Reverend S. E. Ware from Cleveland Ohio. During his administration, Galilee remodeled the building for the first time. The front of the church was changed from National Avenue to Huston Street.
The tenth and eleventh pastors were Reverend Gus Benjamin Ballard and Reverend Warner Mamon Powe. The twelfth pastor was Reverend Emmett Lee, Sr. He served the congregation longer than any other pastor to this point. Under his leadership in 1973, a remodeling fund drive was started. Pastor Lee left Galilee in 1976 to pastor the Unity Missionary Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio.
The remodeling drive continued under the thirteenth pastor, Reverend Alfred Hawkins. In June 1978, the architect’s plans were presented and approved by the congregation. In March 1979, Galilee called Reverend James A. Stanton from Cleveland, Ohio to be the 14th pastor.
The remodeling began in September 1979 and was completed in July 1980. During the renovation, Barberton city officials allowed the church to have worship services at the Weigand Building on Tuscarawas Avenue. When the church was completed, a motorcade was lead in procession from the Weigand Building to the present facility. A consecration service for the church was held on July 29, 1980. Reverend G. Q. Brown gave the Dedicatory Sermon.
In December 1984, Galilee called Reverend Stanley Vincent Wood from Columbus, Ohio as the fifteenth pastor. He served until 1986.
In February 1987, Reverend William V. Green was called as the sixteenth pastor. Pastor Green served Galilee faithfully for 20 years before God ordered his steps to Nashville, Tennessee to pastor the Tabernacle of Glory Baptist Church. Pastor Green has been the longest-serving pastor of Galilee.
In 2007, Galilee elected Reverend William T. Hunt as the seventeenth pastor. In February of 2011 the church body agreed to change the name of the church, which represented a new beginning and a new season in the life of the ministry. The Church formerly known as the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church would now be known as the Greater Galilee Baptist Church.
In March of 2011, Bishop Doctor Emmett J. Lee was elected to be the eighteenth and current pastor of Galilee. In August of 2012, our congregation was blessed to retire and burn the mortgage on our building. The Greater Galilee Baptist Church Family has been extremely blessed by God. God is blessing our church both numerically and spiritually for which we are eternally grateful.