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.

Messiah Baptist Church Gets Crafty

By Amy Szablak

BROCKTON - With bright yarn and intricate details, Daryl Smith was working on a stocking she knitted early this February.  She was putting the finishing stiches on the stocking.

“I love to do the knitting,” she said.

Knitting needles, quilt patches and fabric samples are a common sight at the Messiah Baptist Church on Saturday afternoons. 

The church holds an arts and crafts ministry on every first and fourth Saturday of each month. The workshop is open and is from 12 to 3 p.m.  It has been held at the church for four years.

A large table is set up at each workshop in the middle of a room in the church.  Each member is encouraged to bring their own materials to work with.  Varying fabrics, yarn and other craft materials are a common sight at the workshops.

Once the workshop begins, each member begins to work on their own project. 

Smith was drawn to the workshop after she saw a play about homelessness at the Messiah Baptist Church.  She said she was moved by the play and wanted to give back to the community.

“I wanted to help the homeless and I knew I wanted to give my gift of knitting,” she said.  “I didn’t want to charge for it because it was given to me for free and I wanted to pass it along.”

Smith has been attending the arts and crafts workshops since it was first started four years ago.

The workshop Saturdays were created by Annette Thomas, the president of the Arts and Crafts workshop. 

Anywhere from four to 15 people attend each workshop.

Thomas was inspired to create a program at the church after she gave a speech about quilting in 2011.

“It was a great program and it inspired me to start here,” she said.  “We decided to call it the arts and crafts workshop because it is open to all types of crafts, not just quilters.”

Annette Francis of Brockton enjoys quilting at the workshops.  She made a quilt for her sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary featuring pictures from their lives.

“Quilting teaches patience and it’s therapeutic,” she said.  “It’s a wonderful thing.”

Although quilting isn’t the only craft done at the workshop, it is one of the most popular. 

This past year, members created a quilt together that was raffled off to members of the church and community. The quilt was raffled for about $180.

Each member of the workshop was taught how to make quilt squares.  They each made at least one square, and the quilt was assembled from everyone’s work.

While each member’s hands are busy with their projects, they are also busy talking.  Grandchildren, family and crafting advice are common topics of conversation.

Irene Collorone, the secretary of the Arts and Crafts workshop, said she enjoys the workshop because she gets to talk with the other members.

“There’s something special about being with other people who love crafts,” she said.  “We help one another out.  It can be very habit forming.”  

Collorone’s love for crafts goes beyond quilting.  Last year, she helped create tote bags filled with devotion books, notebooks, sanitizer, flashlights, key chains and pens.  The bags were donated at the TABCOM Mission Work Conference for women ready to leave safe homes.

“It is my way of giving back what God gave me,” she said.

When the members of the workshop aren’t crafting on Saturdays, they attend different craft conferences together.

This past November, they attended a quilt show in West Roxbury.  The members said they look for inspiration at these shows for new ideas.

“I love crafts because everyone has their own twist,” Collorone said.  “I have a friend who has some strange but just beautiful ideas.”

Smith said she gets her inspiration for crafts from books, magazines, and online.

The members of the workshop said they encourage people to attend the workshop.

“Come even if you just want to socialize,” Collorone said.

“We are never too old to learn what talents we have,” Francis said.

The Messiah Baptist Church is located on 80 Legion Parkway in Brockton. 


  1. I'd like to sign up for the craft ministry. Who do I contact?

  2. come to Messiah Baptist Church, 80 Legion Parkway Brockton on Saturday May 7th between 12 and 3 pm and join us