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A brief history of Southern Heights Baptist Church, 1968 to 2006


In August of 1968, Otha Aden, a student at Fort Wayne Bible College, Forrest G. Nelson, an associate electronic engineer, and Jim Burgoon, a business man, discussed the need for a Bible teaching church in the Fort Wayne area. A group of Christians (twenty two) met for the first time on the second Sunday in September of 1968 at 827 E. Fairfax Drive. The Reverend James Rosemond taught the Sunday school lesson and Pastor Otha Aden preached his first sermon to what was to become Southern Heights Baptist Church.


The Southern Heights Baptist Church met on Wednesday, November 13, 1968 for the purpose of becoming an officially organized Baptist Church. Those present were the Reverend Richard C. Mattox, pastor of the Community Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio, who served as the organizing minister; The Reverend Gene Morris; Mr. And Mrs. Otha Aden, (Sylvia); Mr. and Mrs. Forrest G. Nelson (Reba); Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence (Reba) Merriwether and The Reverend James and Mrs. (Francis) Crawley.

The Doctrinal Statement was read. It was moved and seconded that the church be named “Southern Heights Baptist Church.” Mrs. Sylvia Aden was voted to become the secretary of the church. The floor was then opened for the reception of chartered members. The following people were: Mr. Otha and Mrs. (Sylvia) Aden, Mr. Forrest and (Mrs. Reba) Nelson, Mr. Lawrence and Mrs. (Reba) Merriwether and Mr. Jim Burgoon. In 1970, The Reverend Otha L. Aden was led of the Lord to serve as the full-time Minister of the Church. New families became part of the church and the fellowship. God’s blessings were resting upon the ministry.


God continued to add new members to the church. In 1973 we became aware of the possibility of purchasing the facilities at 2901 Warsaw Street. God sent faithful men and women to serve in the Church and who witnessed for Christ from 1973 to 1980.


Ministers and the names of their wives who served at Southern Heights are: The Reverend Larry Payne, (Mrs. Glodine); The Reverend McArthur Wagstaff (Lessie), The Reverend Calvin Moore (Carolyn), The Reverend Richard Summers, The Reverend Veo (Margaret) Boozel, The Reverend Charles Howard (Hazel), Brother Daniel Watson, The Reverend Ernest Usher (Lavon), The Reverend Jonathan Ndettei (Mowetha), The Reverend Alex Carroll, The Reverend Benjamin Small(Arletta), and many others have served in Southern Heights Baptist Church. We cherish the memories of The Reverend Roger Green who served faithfully from 1969 thru April 21st, 1979.  Two Missionaries have been called to serve the Lord full-time on the mission field; Neysa Costa (Mrs. Obid Badili) and Miss Jacqueline Huggins.


In 1980 God provided a larger facility for us at 4001 S. Anthony Blvd.  This church has Sunday school classrooms, a nursery, kitchen, fellowship hall, conference rooms, a beautiful large sanctuary and education rooms which houses the South Side Opportunity Service Inc. (SOS). This ministry provides tutoring for children from elementary to high school aged students.


The Lord has kept us here, allowing us to love Him, to serve Him and to serve our community. Through all his years of service, Pastor Otha L. Aden has faithfully rendered his love and service to the Lord at Southern Heights Baptist Church, until his retirement in 2016.

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