Latonia Baptist is a Protestant Church located at 38th and Church Sts. in Latonia, KY. Its origins trace back to its days as a mission of the Immanuel Baptist in Covington. As a mission, it was founded in 1892 by Rev. J.A. Lee (also pastor of Immanuel
Baptist) and several of his followers (this date is, however, debatable, but it
was certainly founded c. 1892). After several years of meeting in small
houses, a permanent church was finally built in 1896. This building was
located at 38th and Decoursey Streets. Latonia Baptist, however,
initially met much resistance upon its attempt to join the local Association of
Baptist Churches due to its conflicts with Immanuel Baptist over becoming
independent from its mother church's Mission. W.R. Hutton was in charge of the
dissident Latonia Baptists from 1898-99 and helped fight Immanuel Baptist's
attempts to rectify the independent faction.
After issues of property ownership were settled, Latonia Baptist was allowed to become independent from Immanuel Baptist. C.A. Earl became the first official pastor of the new church and Latonia Baptist was admitted to the Association in 1900 as the First Baptist
Church of Latonia. Rev. Earl soon left the new congregation in 1904 for
ministerial positions in Texas and was replaced by Jesse Warren Beagle later
that same year. Not long after, in 1907, Beagle too resigned for other
positions, but not before he had overseen the church enlarged in 1905 to
provide for more space.
The next very influential minister in the history of Latonia Baptist, Thomas Clinton Crume (T.C.) became pastor on August 1st, 1913. The church history was apt to note that Crume
was a very active and vigorous minister, and much occurred during his tenure.
A new sanctuary was built in 1917 to accommodate the increasing size of the church's
membership. The new building was designed by local architect Howard McClory
and was located at the corner of Church and 38<sup>th</sup> Streets. The
church included an auditorium seating 300 and was built at the cost of
$33,000. By 1920, Latonia Baptist was the largest Baptist Church in the Association and by then it had already begun missionary efforts within the city.
An interesting episode in the church's history occurred in the early 1920's when several of its members began to dissent against Rev. Crume. The church history cited several possible
reasons, from the pastor's preoccupation with the new construction to his
excessive visiting of other churches at the expense of his own. Regardless,
the result was that several of the deacons at Latonia Baptist (along with other
high officials) attempted to oust Crume from his position, only to be
themselves expelled by the general congregation for attacking the pastor they
respected. The splinter group then attempted to found their own church,
Calvary Baptist, and conflict continued for quite some time despite
In 1923, Rev. Crume resigned from
Latonia Baptist and soon afterward became a missionary. He was replaced later
that year by O.J. Steger, a minister that the church has since dubbed the “Son
of Thunder." During his tenure, the church expanded its missionary activity to
other parts of Latonia and constructed several mission houses.
During the Depression, however, the church fell on very hard
financial times while under the leadership of Rev. Black, who had become pastor
in 1926. Several of the church's peripheral functions were suspended or
attenuated by such circumstances.
Rev. Black was eventually replaced
by Lewis C. Ray in 1939, who himself was quickly succeeded by Rev. Huss. Huss
himself oversaw construction of the new Sunday School, completed in 1941,
designed by Rev. Ray.
More missions were established in Latonia through the next several years. Before the end of the 40's, however, Rev. Huss resigned and was replaced by Thomas Shelton who became pastor in December of
1950. Throughout Shelton's stay as minister, Latonia Baptist continued to fund
and expand its various missions throughout the city, including a couple
constructed in the interim after Huss resigned. Several of these missions
would go on to become members of the Baptist Association later in the 50's. As
for Latonia Baptist itself, another large educational building was also added
onto the main church in 1954. A kindergarten and library opened up soon afterwards.
In 1965, Rev. Shelton resigned to pursue other
positions within the Baptist Association. Latonia Baptist, however, celebrated
its 75th Anniversary in 1975 with many of the former pastors,
including Shelton, in attendance. As of 1972, the pastor was Harold Wainscott.
Latonia Baptist, as a result of its extensive missionary activity, has become known as “The Mother of Baptist Churches in Latonia." Churches formed from Latonia Baptist included:
Decoursey Baptist, Calvary Baptist, Ashland Avenue Baptist and Rosedale
The Spirit of Antioch (Main Source) Church
Publication; The Kentucky Post 8-16-75 p 12, 9-26-16 p3.