Church History: Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh is a thriving community of faith in the heart of the City of Pittsburgh. We believe that the Church, the Body of Christ, is the hope of the world. Therefore we seek to “Develop Dynamic Disciples” who are empowered by the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit to be agents of transformation in our community, our city, and our world. We are led by a faithful Pastor, and we follow him as he follows Christ.
Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh was founded as Macedonia Baptist Church on March 16, 1903. While we remain affiliated with many Baptist and Interdenominational Associations today, our primary concern is to be worshippers who “worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.” In all that we do we seek to be informed and inspired by the Word of God. We are very non-traditional in our approach to ministry, but our message remains the same: We preach Jesus!
The story of Macedonia is not about us, it’s all about God! He is the one who has sustained this Church. As you continue to read our story, we pray that you would see how the grace and favor of God have kept us through the years. But we are not satisfied! We can’t wait to see what God will do next!
In 1903, we began with a 12 member congregation under the leadership of Rev. Mack Holly. We worshipped in a small two room house on what was then known as Schaffer Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Upon the death of Rev. Holly in 1910, the church called the Rev. James Robinson as its second pastor. With a congregation of 16 strong, the Schaffer Street church was remodeled. This humble structure could not withstand a violent storm that devastated the city of Pittsburgh in 1911. In 1913, a growing congregation moved into a new structure on the same site as the old one.
Even as the second church building on Schaffer Street was being constructed, its seating capacity was too small to hold the growing membership. In 1916 a parcel of land was purchased on the corner of Bedford and Schaffer Streets in order to construct what is the present edifice of the Macedonia fellowship. On Easter Sunday of 1927, the congregation moved into a spacious building at a cost of $130,000.
Over the years the church has taken pride in the fact that the entire building project was designed by the first black female architect in Pennsylvania. Moreover, the building project was completely financed and constructed by black people. All of this was done during a time in which black churches were almost dependent upon whites for architectural work and financing.
By 1944, the church had dramatically increased its membership to 1,600 members. The increase in membership was due, in large measure, to the growing migration of blacks from the south seeking better job opportunities in the north, and the dynamic preaching and pastoral care given by Rev. Robinson. Several of the churches in the Hill District of Pittsburgh experienced this kind of growth.
In 1948, Rev. Robinson became sick but remained as pastor, though a bedridden one, for the remainder of his life. He died in 1952.
Upon his death the church called his loyal assistant, Rev. A. L. Salmon, as pastor. Rev. Salmon is remembered as a kind, loving and gentile person by almost all who knew him. Early in his tenure, Rev. Salmon suffered some health challenges and he died exactly one year after assuming pastoral leadership of the flock.
Within one year, the church extended a call to the Rev. Dr. William J. Harvey III. Rev. Harvey was, by any measure, an intellectual and extremely able administrator. He was a graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School and received a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the same school. His training and background affected the life of the church from the beginning of his tenure.
Dr. Harvey continued to develop the Sunday worship experience and organizational operations of the church. Our church history reveals that there was both qualitative growth and quantitative growth in the life of the church during Dr. Harvey’s pastorate.
In 1966, Dr. Harvey sensed the Lord leading him to a new opportunity in ministry. He resigned as pastor of Macedonia to accept the leadership of the National Baptist Convention of America’s Foreign Mission Board.
Rev. Alfred L. Pugh assumed the pastoral leadership in 1967. Rev. Pugh faithfully served Macedonia for 20 years. During his tenure, Macedonia experienced enormous growth as a church with a mission.
Rev. Pugh led the church in establishing a Mission School in Haiti, a nutrition center in Haiti; a low income housing complex in Pittsburgh, a community food program for the residents of the Hill District and a successful radio ministry throughout the Pittsburgh area. During his tenure, the church budget grew almost 10 fold and the church began to build a staffing framework to support the growing ministries of the church. In 1987, Rev. Pugh concluded his years of service at Macedonia, but still remained involved in pastoral ministry.
Rev. Jason Barr, Jr. was elected pastor in April 1988. Under his leadership Macedonia has experienced tremendous growth. Pastor Barr led the church to grow to over 3000 members, three Sunday worship experiences, multiple staff members, and over 50 ministries.
Pastor Barr’s vision resulted in the founding of Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment Center (FACE), a 501(c)3 corporation that operates community programming and social services from a faith based perspective. Pastor Barr’s leadership also inspired the Macedonia Development Corporation. This corporation is involved in economic development and housing in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.
In 2007, Pastor Barr suffered a health challenge that caused him to be sidelined from ministry for 5 months. Though doctors did not expect him to pull through, God miraculously healed and strengthened him. In early 2008 Pastor Barr returned to the pulpit to preach, teach, and direct the affairs of the church. The church remained strong during his absence because of committed staff, elders, and members.
In 2010, Pastor Barr endured a car accident that caused some health concerns. While he was hopeful of returning to the pulpit, this injury would lead him to step down from pastoral ministry long before many had expected. In 2012, he made the difficult decision of resigning from the ministry he had led for the previous 24 years.
In 2007, the Lord saw fit to bring a young pastor named Brian Edmonds to Macedonia to serve and train under Pastor Barr. Little did anyone know that the church was getting ready to go through a tumultuous period with Pastor Barr’s hospitalizations. During Pastor Barr’s recovery periods, the church continued to thrive and even grow because of the visionary leadership that Pastor Barr had provided.
In April of 2012, Pastor Brian J. Edmonds was chosen to be the 7th Pastor in the 109 year history of Macedonia Church. He had helped to lead the church through the difficult periods of Pastor Barr’s absence with powerful preaching and an unwavering commitment to faithfully support his mentor. When Pastor Barr made the decision to step down, the church quickly realized the hand of God in bringing Pastor Edmonds to Macedonia at just the right time in 2007.
Under Pastor Edmonds’ leadership, Macedonia has experienced a resurgence of it’s Kingdom agenda to “Develop Dynamic Disciples.” Many ministries within the church have experienced a revitalization, and the surrounding Hill District community is even more aware of the love of Christ that flows through the initiatives and outreach of Macedonia Church. Our attendance and church budget continue to grow, but more importantly, hearts are being impacted by the Gospel and by the grace of God we are lifting and leading people to live liberated lives.
For over 110 years, Macedonia has been a witness to God’s goodness in this city and in the world. We are committed to see His glory filling the earth, even as water covers the seas. (Hab. 2:14)
Bio of Pastor’s: At the University of Virginia, Pastor Edmonds received a Bachelors of Science in Systems Engineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. While he greatly values the technical knowledge that he gained from that degree, he is dedicated to being a “social engineer” who seeks to impact the current culture by empowering youth, adults, and all whom he encounters to live a purpose driven life. His understanding of a call to full-time ministry evolved while he was an undergraduate student at UVA.
During his senior year, he co-chartered a chapter of a campus ministry called the Impact Movement that was focused on African-American college students taking the truth of Jesus Christ to the campus, the community, and the world. God used this experience to inspire Pastor Edmonds to pursue a lifetime of ministry. Helping people to move from mediocrity to ministry is the primary passion of Pastor Edmonds. His ministry has led him to preach, teach, and inspire people throughout the U.S., Central America, Africa, and the Middle East. While his ministry has led him across the country and around the globe, Pastor Edmonds is careful not to neglect the place where he is presently planted. In Pittsburgh, you will often find him engaged in community development and using his kingdom perspective to advance God’s purposes in the world. As God has called him to many different areas of ministry, Pastor Edmonds continues to believe that “Faithful is He who calls, and He will also bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:24).
Pastor Edmonds has been blessed to serve as the MC for the National Impact Movement conference, The Savoy Praise and Worship Concert Series, and numerous other conferences and events. He is also honored to serve as a teacher, mentor, tutor, coach, advisor, or participant in numerous religious, civic, and professional organizations.
Pastor Edmonds is convinced that his impact on the world is firmly rooted in the love, support, and guidance that he has received from his family, mentors, and friends. He is privileged and honored to be married to Rev. Dionne Edmonds and to partner with her in life and ministry. They are blessed to be the parents of one daughter, Zoë Gailyn Edmonds.
Address: Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, 2225 Bedford Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Service Times: See www.macedoniapgh.org