Great Bahamian Preachers: The Rev. Dr. R.E. Cooper, Sr.
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the contributions of Bahamian religion and clergy to bringing about Black Majority Rule (1967) and Bahamian Independence (1973). Today I'd like to profile the Rev. Dr. R.E. Cooper, Sr. and his contributions as a preacher to the task of Bahamian nation building. While I hope to write more extensively on Cooper's legacy in the future, for now I will simply limit my efforts to posting the text and photos of a plaque commemorating his life and ministry that is displayed in the sanctuary of the Mission Baptist Church in Grant's Town.
For those who are interested in learning more about the legacy of R.E. Cooper, Sr. and his contemporaries, I should point out that I am currently guest editing an upcoming edition of the American Baptist Quarterly (forthcoming Winter 2007) focusing on the Bahamian Baptists that will include an article by Cooper's son, the Rev. Dr. R.E. Cooper, Jr., on "The Role of the Afro-Bahamian Pastor as a Catalyst for Majority Rule." In the meantime, I hope the information below sheds some more light on this important but largely untold story in Bahamian church history.
THE GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS OF
THE MISSION BAPTIST CHURCH
THIS PLAQUE IS DEDICATED IN LOVING MEMORY OF
OUR ESTEEMED, ORGANIZING PASTOR
The Reverend Doctor R.E. Cooper, Sr.
B.TH., J.P., D.D., M.B.E.
WHO SERVED HIS GOD, COUNTRY AND CONGREGATION WITH UNFLINCHING DEVOTION AND COURAGE AS A SHEPHERD, SCHOLAR, SOCIAL REFORMER AND BENEFACTOR
A THEOLOGIAN EXTRAORDINAIRE, HE PROCLAIMED THE GOSPEL FROM THE PULPIT OF THIS CHURCH
ENUMERATED ARE SOME OF HIS NOTABLE AND VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
1940 – Organized The Mission Baptist Church
1943 – Organized The Jordan Memorial Baptist School
1949 – Editor and Publisher of The Baptist Weekly
1952 – Erected the second sanctuary of The Mission Baptist Church
1964 – President of The Bahamas Missionary & Educational Convention
1964 – Organized the Prince William Baptist High School
1967 – Chaplain of the Senate
1968 – Formed The United Baptist Choir
1968 – Chairman of The Arthur Vinning Davis Scholarship Programme, Florida Memorial College
1971 – President of The Bahamas Christian Council
1972 – Principal of The Baptist Bible Institute
1973 – Preached the First Independence Day Sermon to the New Nation
1974 – Chaplain of Her Majesty’s Prisons
1974 – Dedicated the present structure of The Mission Baptist Church
1976 – Moderator of the Bahamas Baptist Association
1976 – Appointed to the Committee of Ecumenism and Church Polity Baptist World Alliance
1977 – Member of the United World College Advisory Board