An Abbreviated History of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church

The Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship was officially organized in March 1969 with the late Reverend Dr. J. Arthur White, Moderator of the Mount Peace Missionary Baptist Association, presiding.  He was assisted by the late Reverend Dr. Preston Pendergrass who delivered the organizational sermon.  For the first five years, the corporate worship service was held in the auditorium of Oaklawn Elementary School, located on Oaklawn Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In April 1969, the Fellowship decided that they needed to hold their first revival.  Deacons of the young church secured the services of Reverend Harold S. Diggs, Pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Rockingham, North Carolina. On the fourth Sunday in April 1969, during evening service, the late Lester Trapps and the late Perry Lark were ordained as deacons to help serve the congregation along with those already made deacons.

After hearing different preachers each week, the Pulpit Committee, made up of deacons, contacted the Reverend Harold S. Diggs, who had conducted the revival services held in April.  The committee sought the services of this young preacher as permanent Pastor.

After serious and concerned moments of prayer, Reverend and Mrs. Harold S. Diggs felt convinced, that God was moving through the call and that God was leading them to a new field of labor with the newly formed group called Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church.  Accepting the call in June 1969, the Pastor, Mrs. Diggs, and family prepared to move to Charlotte from a Pastorate of 16 years.  On the first Sunday in October 1969, Reverend Harold S. Diggs began as the first pastor of the Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church.

The first five years of togetherness with the newly formed congregation were mixed with periods of joy and sadness as differences arose almost monthly. In spite of the struggles, the congregation flourished and grew.  During the first year, 170 persons united with Mayfield; many of whom were new converts. On one occasion during the first year, using the baptismal facilities of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Pastor Diggs baptized 57 persons.

Jubilance abounded among the fellowship.  With great anticipation, Mayfield looked forward to erecting its first permanent place of assembly. With no approved loan, Mayfield was forced to postpone building. Despite carrying on services in Oaklawn Elementary School, constantly moving our church office, and holding auxiliary meetings in members’ homes, Mayfield continued to carry on.

In 1973, a new crisis threatened to destroy the newly formed church.  The energy crisis caused the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board to greatly reduce heat furnished our fellowship on weekends. We were informed that the heat would be cut down; instead, the heat was cut off.  We found ourselves holding corporate worship services on Sundays in November and December 1973 with heat being furnished to us only two Sundays.  Pastor Diggs appointed a Relocation Committee whose responsibility was to find suitable quarters that Mayfield could rent as a place for holding corporate worship services.  The former Sugar Creek Baptist Church building had been vacated and had become the home of the Mecklenburg Baptist Association. The Association was approached simultaneously by the Advent Lutheran Church and Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church.  Both churches shared together the sanctuary, 20 rooms, and 2 assembly rooms of the educational building. This arrangement lasted until the Mecklenburg Association decided to sell the building. On August 30, 1974, the Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church congregation voted to purchase the Sugar Creek property as a permanent earthly home for the fellowship.

Mayfield had to face another crisis that threatened the survival of the fellowship. A few disgruntled persons, led by some of the deacons and trustees of Mayfield, filed a lawsuit against Mayfield, the Pastor, and the Trustees. This disgruntled group left the newly-formed fellowship and returned to Oaklawn Elementary to hold corporate worship under the name of Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church. On February 10, 1975, Superior Court Judge Kenneth Griffin ordered the Church to return the Sugar Creek Church property to the Mecklenburg Association and that the Mecklenburg Association returns the money to Mayfield.  Mayfield filed an appeal and made preparations to vote again to purchase the Sugar Creek Road property. All members of Mayfield were invited, by letter, to vote their desire to purchase or not to purchase the property in question. On April 20, 1975, persons present voted by secret ballot to purchase the Sugar Creek Road property.

Mayfield, through its legal representative, wrote a letter of complaint about the newly formed group assuming the name of Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church.  Hence, the new group became known as First Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church and Mayfield Memorial Baptist maintained its name. In 2004, the members voted to officially change the name of the church to Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church.

In November 1977, Mayfield broke ground and began to build a new Sanctuary on its current site.  On the first Sunday in May 1979, the Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church marched into and held its first corporate worship service in the new facility.  On the same Sunday, at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, a dedication service was held with the late Rev. George Dudley delivering the sermon.

In her short history, Mayfield has frequently been host to some of the world’s most luminary personalities and preachers from Dr. Gardner C. Taylor and Rev. Jesse Jackson to President William Jefferson Clinton and Mrs. Rosa Parks. We have frequently hosted Association meetings and twice hosted the Progressive National Baptist Convention which our pastor served as President of the Congress of Christian Education.

Mayfield has long been a leader in Missions. In 1988, Mayfield sponsored an African student, Molley Sirleaf, for more than two and one half years, and began paying the annual salary of a Teaching Missionary in Haiti through the Progressive National Baptist Convention. To further our missionary efforts in foreign fields, Pastor Diggs was invited and accepted the challenge of spending seven (7) days in Havana, Cuba with a delegation of six persons. The delegation dialogued with seminary students and Pastor Diggs preached in both a downtown and a rural Baptist church.  As a result of their efforts in Cuba, scores of Cuban churches have become members of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

On Sunday morning, September 21, 2003, after a successful week of revival services, our beloved pastor, the Rev. Dr. Harold S. Diggs, Sr., went home to be with his heavenly father. We thank God for his strong leadership, guidance, excellent teaching and preaching of God’s word and his ways.  We were all richly blessed by his presence.

After the death of our pastor, Mayfield secured the services of a temporary preacher, the Rev. Claude Forehand.  Rev. Forehand served as Temporary Preacher until the Deacons declared the pulpit vacant on the first Sunday in March of 2006. Rev. Wilch Caldwell, retired pastor of Faith Memorial Baptist Church, was secured to preach for us until a new pastor was called.

After a thorough search, the Pulpit Search Committee recommended to the Mayfield membership, the Rev. Dr. Peter M. Wherry of Norfolk, Virginia. On December 9, 2006, the congregation voted and Rev. Dr. Peter M. Wherry was selected as our pastor.  He accepted the call and the date of March 4, 2007 was set for Dr. Wherry to be installed as the second pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church.