The Goodwin Memorial Baptist church was organized as the UNION BAPTIST CHURCH on April 19, 1929 by a small group of Christians who had separated themselves from the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. The first church services were held in the home of Bro. and Sis. Henry Jackson at 633 Broad Street. Sis. Pearl Grier is our only living Charter Member.
The following Pastors served faithfully through the years:
Rev. William T. Sneed (1929-1930) was called as the first pastor. After a month the membership increased by ten. In June 1929, land was purchased at Cowden and Broad Streets. Rev. William Wanamaker was called in 1930.
Rev. James F. Goodwin was called as the third Pastor and served from 1930 until 1946. The property at Cowden and Broad Streets was paid for under Rev. Goodwin’s administration. In June 1946, after the death of Rev. Goodwin, the Union Baptist Church, having a deep emotional and spiritual attachment to him, voted unanimously to have the Church name changed to Goodwin Memorial Baptist Church.
Rev. R. L. Adams was called in 1947. On June 20, 1947 the Church was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Rev. B. L. Warren was called in 1948. A building fund was started under his administration. Upon completion of the basement, Goodwin moved back home, many people in the Harrisburg area referred to it as the “Underground Church”. In 1954, the church moved upstairs to the Sanctuary. In that same year, Rev. Warren resigned.
Rev. Lenworth S. Morrison was called in March 1955 as the sixth Pastor of Goodwin. Our Church membership was approximately one hundred and twenty-five. He instructed the Church that our first and foremost goal was to “Win Souls for Christ.” Early in his administration the mortgage was paid in full. He appointed Deaconess Catherine Thompson as “Mother of the Church”. Rev. Morrison, with the cooperation of Rev. Henley, monitored and coordinated the purchase of Camp Central. Mrs. Jennie Morrison, the first lady, represented Goodwin in many community organizations as well as the local, state and national Baptist organizations. She worked tirelessly with the youth choir, Sunday school, BTU and prepared youth for the Elk’s Oratorical Contest. April 1962, the building at 332-34 Kelker Street was purchased and became our next church home. A rear extension and a Baptistery were built. In 1965, the cornerstone was laid, membership was approximately two hundred and in June 27, 1976 we began to broadcast our worship services to WHP Radio listeners. In 1976, a new church building was purchased at 2447 Green Street. On December 18, 1977 we moved into our present home. After our move to Green Street, our congregation grew to over four hundred members. On July 9, 1979, less than two years after occupancy in our new church home, the mortgage was paid in full.
On May 26, 1991, Rev. Rosendo A. Watson was called as our Pastor.
On November 5, 1993, Rev. Irvin Kittrell was called to assist us.
Rev. Alfred E. Smith became our pastor December 4, 1994. Rev. Alfred and First Lady Clementine Smith came to us with many gifts from Gravel Hill Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. Pastor Smith instituted the theme: “A Church Blessed to Be a Blessing”. Pastor Smith’s vision for Goodwin was to continue to expand as a Community Church, strengthening and rebuilding families both within our Church and the Community. In 1997 Goodwin purchased two mini buses to meet the transportation needs of the congregation. The Chapel in our Church building was dedicated in the honor of Rev. Morrison and named “The Rev. L. S. Morrison Chapel.” Our congregation voted to purchase the Eastern Star Building, located at 2430 N. 3rd Street, for future expansion of our services to our membership and our outreach to the community. The building was purchased in July, 1998 and dedicated on December 19, 1999 as the Goodwin Family Life Center. The mortgage was paid in full December 2003.
Reverend Dr. James D. Jackson became the interim Pastor in July 2008, and was installed as Pastor on November 15, 2008. Under Rev. Jackson’s leadership the membership in the church has increased and a new youth ministry has been established. The Young Adult Ministry in Service “YAMS” began prior to the loss of our Sister Ciera Grant, one of the very active young adults. The members of the Ministry voted to continue in the name of Ciera. The Associate Ministers Ministry has tripled to sixteen under Rev. Jackson’s leadership. From that group, we have our first Hispanic Minister. First Lady Lisa Jackson is very active in the church and heads our Health and Fitness Ministry.
Over the last 15 years our church has grown physically, economically and above all, spiritually. We must continue to be “A Church Blessed To Be a Blessing” in His name and to His glory.