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.

A Smart Investment

By Paul Maxwell Vitale

           Huge bags of money and sounds of a large amount of pocket change could hopefully become a common sight at Brockton’s Messiah Baptist Church as a mysterious gem lays inside the church known only by its members as the Investment Club.
 Jimmy Thomas (left) & Robert Howard (right) photo by Paul Vitale
Robert Howard and Jimmy Thomas are two of the club’s six members and have helped privately and successfully operate the club for twenty years.
According to Howard, when the club first started, they gave ten percent of profits from a two-year period back to the church. Presently, both men are unsure of the total profits made from the club. “I wouldn’t say millions, but hundreds of thousands would be a reasonable answer,” Howard said.
According to Thomas, the general purpose of the investment club is to make a few dollars on the side. Beneath the purpose’s surface is a heartfelt philosophy identifying the club’s and church’s success.
“Messiah is and always will be deeply rooted in community,” Thomas said. “The club seeks to build each other up physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Together we have the ability to achieve anything.”
According to Howard, club meetings consists of the six members providing detailed research of several companies the club should invest in. The gathered research consists of prior success, marketability and may also include the company’s speculated profit margins. The remaining time of the meeting is spent debating within the group and finally coming to a consensus of the company to invest in.
Thomas said  debates never get heated, but they are definitely passionate. “We are not here to fight one another, but we need the best decision for the group,” Thomas said.
Thomas said when all members compromise on a suitable venture, they pool together their money to invest. “We never invest recklessly,” Thomas said. “Although it’s a club, Howard and I always have a clear goal planned before we invest.”
Thomas attributed the club’s financial success to simply the pleasure and utilization of the company. “When we see a company we like, and we frequently use the company’s product, we speculate the success rate of our investment,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the primary goal of the investment club is to sustain an awareness of the market. Additionally, the club remains updated about current investment opportunities. According to Howard, the club’s primary goal better assists them to stay ahead of potential opportunities to increase their profits.
Howard said people constantly ask him after services about joining the club or question his successful choices of investment. “The club’s success is not based on winning and losing,” Thomas said. “We focus on individualized successes within the group and when one member wins, we all win.”
          Currently, the church public are not permitted to become members of the investment club. Although, according to Thomas, the club’s future for outside acceptances seems plausible.
Howard and Thomas said Facebook seems like a formidable acquisition for the near future. However, the group ultimately will decide whether or not to acquire Facebook.
Howard said, the club has most recently purchased shares in Twitter.
Aside from Twitter, Howard and Thomas are also invested many other organizations. Howard and Thomas have also invested in, Micron Technology Inc., Ford Motor Company, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds.
“Make your money when you’re young, there’s plenty of time to lose your money when you’re old,” Thomas said. 

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