CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (VR) – The Rev. Dr. Ronald O. Baker celebrated a jubilee in the ministry culminating in his second pastoral anniversary at the Main Street Missionary Baptist Church (MSMBC) in Clifton Forge, Tuesday-Thursday, May 16-18, and Sunday, May 21.
Jubilee was celebrated with visiting pastors Bishop Michael Turner of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Staunton, with music by the Blair Family Gospel Choir of St. James Baptist Church, Waynesboro; the Rev. Marshall D. Mays, pastor of Otterville Baptist Church, Bedford, with music by Resurrecting Praise Community Choir, Alleghany Highlands and West Virginia; and the Rev. Clay Dawson, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, Roanoke, with music by the Senior Choir of MSMBC.
Baker’s second pastoral anniversary message was delivered by the Rev. Lewis Waller, pastor of Fresh Start Ministry, Fieldale, with music by Altha Grove Baptist Church, Forest, and celebrated last Sunday.
Baker was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and “knew at nine years old there was a calling on my life.”
He left Washington to serve two years in the United States Army. He lived in New York for a while and then moved on to Chicago. From Chicago, he moved to Akron, Ohio, where he managed a nightclub.
It was during this time that he heard a voice in an empty house calling his name, “Ronnie.”
After he heard his name called three times, he answered, and a voice answered him, saying, “I want you to carry my word.”
He knew then it was time to get serious and began his 50-year journey in the ministry. He was ordained the following year at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Akron in 1974.
Baker later attended Ohio Baptist College and worked in the Pilgrim Baptist Church’s Outreach Ministry in Columbus. From there he moved to Maryland to be closer to his hometown of Washington and commuted to pastor First Baptist Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
In 1987, Baker was called to pastor Beverly Manor Baptist Church in Staunton. It was at this point that he “began to discover the unpleasant side of pastoring” and left Beverly Manor in 1993, due to a misunderstanding.
Baker would go on to preach at different churches until he was called to pastor Springfield Baptist Church in Troy. There he encountered problems with some of the church officers and left to pastor at Union Baptist Church in Glasglow. He resigned there in 2005, for personal reasons, and joined Central Baptist Church in Roanoke in 2009, while preaching two Sundays a month at Chestnut Grove Baptist Church in Forest.
In 2014, Baker was called to pastor Reed Creek Baptist Church in Big Island, where he remained until his kidney transplant surgery in 2020.
Two days into his recovery, Reed Creek Baptist Church removed him as pastor. While recovering from cancer surgery in April of 2021, Baker was informed that his name was being put before MSMBC to be considered as pastor. He was called to pastor MSMBC in May of 2021.
“When I leave Main Street, I’ll be available for evangelist work and preaching engagements,” Baker says, as he believes MSMBC will be his last stop as pastor. “I believe if there’s to be any preaching in the pulpit there must praying in the pews,” said Baker of his motto.
“My desire is if the Lord’s going to take me, I’d rather he take me doing what I love, preaching,” added Baker in conclusion.
Baker is currently cancer free and has a new, functioning kidney. He has two daughters: one biological and the other adopted. He resides in the church’s parsonage.
MSMBC is located at 920 Main Street in Clifton Forge. The church holds in-person and Facebook Live services on Sundays at 11 a.m. and Bible study on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Call the church at 540-862-4530.
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