Church life

Church life
photo by Kevin Kalunian


Messiah Baptist Church is one of the oldest and most active African-American churches in Brockton, Massachusetts. From youth programs to financial investment groups, the church finds new ways to engage members across generations.
Community service is the foundation of both the church and the members, a quiet tradition spanning decades.
Journalism students at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, enrolled in Advanced Newswriting and Reporting taught by Prof. Maureen Boyle in the Spring of 2016, highlighted some of the service programs at Messiah Baptist Church to give the outside community a glimpse of the work church members do. As part of this class project, students used iPads to shoot photos and videos for the stories.
Special thanks to Rev. Michael Walker, pastor of the church, and everyone at Messiah Baptist for their help with the project. Also, thanks to the Community Based Learning program and Prof. Corey Dolgon at Stonehill, the iPad initiative programs sponsored by the college and Information Technology Department, Stonehill librarian Patricia McPherson and student liaison Liam Dacko for their assistance and support.

Service to community and the church

About Me

These stories and videos were written and produced by students at Stonehill College in the Advanced Newswriting and Reporting course, taught by Prof. Maureen Boyle. Students were supplied with iPads for the semester thanks to a technology grant and partnership with the Stonehill technology department. All of the student videos were shot on iPads and edited with the iMovie iPad app.

Dance Acts as an Opportunity and Outlet to God for Locals

By Aisha McAdams

Girls lined up to preform their dance at Sunday Mass
Photo By: Aisha McAdams
             Dressed in flowing white skirts posing elegantly, a group of girls danced to gospel music.

A group of girls that performed in recognition of God are part of the Dance Ministry within The Messiah Baptist Church in Brockton.  

Cheyanne Johnson, one of the young dancers, said she loves what the Dance Ministry has offered her and said it taught her self-discipline.

 “You have to have the strength and ability to do it but when you do it’s really fun,” Johnson said.

Originally starting off with four members when it started in 2012, the ministry now consists of 13 to 15 members ranging from elementary school up to a few individuals in their 50s and 60s.

             Neusa Galvao, program director, said that the diverse age group mixes things up and helps creates a more eclectic group.  

            “The children and teenagers help keep the adults young while the adults provide a helping hand and become examples for the youth.  Everything is always divided so it brings us all together to become one,” Galvao said.

            On Fridays, the group meets from 6 to 8 p.m. and choreographs dance to perform at Mass.

            Galvao said the program focuses on gospel music but occasionally jumps to country music when it can relate back prayer. The dances choreographed primarily incorporate upper body movement and ballet. 

            Galvao has always had a strong passion for dance, starting when she was young at West Junior High in Brockton.  Galvao graduated from Bridgewater State University with a degree in social work, and decided to combine her passion for social work and dance by leading the Dance Ministry. 

            Galvao said the Dance Ministry has helped provide a safe space for the youth to go to outside of school.

            “It helps so they aren’t out on the streets hanging out.  The risk of being in a negative environment is high here,” Galvao said.

            The Dance Ministry has also given members to grow personally. 

            “I had one student who completely came out of her shell after she joined,” Galvao said.

            Nyaijah Gibbs, 16, started the Dance Ministry when she was more reserved when she first joined.

            “I was a little quiet when I started.  I didn’t know how to speak up but the Dance Ministry taught me how to take initiative and become a leader,” Gibbs said.

            Gibbs has become a role model in the Dance Ministry having recently actually taking the lead in the program.

            “At 15, she took the helm and not only choreographed but she also got everyone together, she was calling people, making the schedule, and so it really brought her into a space of being a leader,” Minister Veronica Truell said.

            Galvao said the Dance Ministry continues to meet every Friday night and is welcome to all that willing to open their heart to God through movement and music.

Cross brings light to the Messiah Baptist Church
Photo By: Aisha McAdams

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