The History of Antioch Baptist Church
Our late Pastor, Rev. Dr. Alfloyd Alston, was born in Norlina, NC. He graduated from Hawkins High School and attended Elizabeth City, North Carolina State Teachers College. Reverend Alston held a BA Degree in Theology from Baltimore College of the Bible and Theological Seminary and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from the American College & Seminary of Milledgeville, GA. Led by the Holy Spirit; Pastor Alston organized the Antioch Baptist Church in 1977 with 14 faithful followers. Since that time, Pastor Alston and the Antioch Baptist Church established what Pastor Alston called, "a serving ministry."
Since 1979, over 1,000 members have joined our congregation. Sixty-five percent have come by Baptism. In 1981, Pastor Alston was honored with a Doctor of Divinity Degree in recognition of his contribution to the meteoric rise of the Antioch Baptist Church.
Since its inception, the Antioch’s congregation and Pastor Alston have been keenly aware of the powerful spiritual resources of young people. In September of 1986, Antioch opened its Christian Academy—a New York State Certified and Licensed institution for the purpose of educating children religiously. In 1989, an After-School Tutorial Program was developed with pick-up services from local neighborhood schools. A summer Youth Escape Program was also organized where young people engaged in cultural events, arts and crafts, recreational activities and field trips. Beginning in August 1998, Antioch’s Youth Department had grown over 100%. Pastor Alston's vision was to institute a productive Youth Ministry that has since come full circle.
The purpose of Antioch's Youth Ministry is to encourage youth and young adults to dedicate their lives in love and service wholly and fully to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—both within but, most especially outside of the church’s walls. Bible Studies, Praise & Worship services and revivals, and cultural trips were made available to help mold the youth & young adults into a well-rounded Christian adults.
It was Reverend Alston's foresight to combine the church space and dining room as a sanctuary, and add an additional floor with Youth and Senior Citizen facilities. The Deacon Willie Dixon, Sr. Fellowship hall was dedicated in October 2004 in honor of Deacon Dixon’s love and service to the Antioch family. The Fellowship Hall serves Antioch’s members, visiting congregations, families, businesses and the community at large with great food and hospitality in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
During his lifetime, Reverend Alston was honored with numerous citations and awards by many of New York City’s leading politicians, including mayors, Borough Presidents, state senators, and even by Presidents of the United States. He served as the Chairman of the Political Action & Civic Committee of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity. He also served on Community Board 9 of Harlem, and as a Clergy Police Chaplain for the 26th precinct. He also established a business called BBQ King in Harlem, which worked toward community development and job creation for local residents.
On Friday, April 29, 2005, the Lord called our beloved Pastor Emeritus, the Reverend Dr. Alfloyd Alston into eternal rest. He left a longstanding legacy because of his never ending love for The Lord, his family, his church and God’s people. In 2008, the corner of 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue was officially renamed “Reverend Dr. Alfloyd Alston Way” in honor of and in recognition of his life and impact in the Harlem community.
On Sunday, September 11, 2005, Reverend Alston's daughter, the Reverend Shon T. Adkins was installed as Pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church. Known as “The Pastor with a Big Heart,” Reverend Adkins approaches 21st century ministry with fresh vision, creativity, and boldness. It was her foresight to establish Antioch as The Church with a Big Heart—with a call, to build the Kingdom and serve in a spirit of excellence.
Our congregation has grown by leaps and bounds. In the beginning, we were 14. Today, we are more than 50 times that number—800 on the church roll, of whom some 500 are active members. As we labor together, it is our constant prayer that we will be lead by the Holy Spirit and that Divine favor and grace will propel us to higher heights and push us to accomplish the vision that conforms to our Heavenly Father’s will—all by faith.