Center of Hope Community Baptist Church:
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Church History

            The Center of Hope Community Baptist Church is located at 1656 Dorr Street and is situated in the heart of the inner-city of Toledo, Ohio. Dorr Street is the main thoroughfare which connects downtown Toledo with its affluent suburbs including the upper income Village of Ottawa Hills. Upon entering the building, one is immediately struck by the fashion-forward, professionally decorated and designed décor of the 150 seat sanctuary. There are both young and older men dressed down or casual as well as in suits and ties. Women, independent of generation are dressed casually as well as fashionably in exquisite suites and upscale designer hats and crowns traditional in the black church. The members appear to be genuinely caring and personable.

                Peculiar to the worship of the church is the professional-quality organ accompaniment to hip-hop choir arrangements which blend contemporary with traditional music sang by a small, well-trained group of singers. The preaching is culturally rooted and has a distinctive social justice flavor. The sermons are notable for their ability to empower and speak relevantly to the contemporary social, economic, and political issues facing youth, the poor, women, and the African-American community.

            On October 12, 1997, with the guidance and assistance of Rev. Dr. John E. Roberts and Rev. Dr. Willie L. Perryman, Dr. D.L. Perryman founded and organized the church with eleven individuals and the philosophy that God requires not only individuals, but also governments and communities to operate closely to what we understand to be the ways of God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ. As a result, Pastor Perryman’s vision is to restore hope to the community by becoming a center for change that reconnects holistic Christ-centered ministry in social, economic, and all facets of contemporary life to our spiritual and cultural foundations.  In addition, the church’s founding resolution document alludes to the following societal conditions out of which the church was birthed:

  • A growing disillusionment among youth and those on the fringe of society
  • A lack of male role models in schools, churches, in the home as well as a negative portrayal of the image of the African American male and female in society.
  • Visible moral and spiritual decay, hypocrisy, and devaluation of human life.
  • Abnormally high crime rates, violence, and substance abuse in the African American community.
  • Lack of equal opportunity and access to educational, employment, and financial resources.

     As a result, our Pastor’s objective has been to bring the light of the gospel to bear upon the issue of diversity, liberation, inclusiveness, empowerment, and social justice.      Center of Hope’s leadership felt that an opportunity for ministry existed in spite of the fact that there are forty seven (47) churches within a three mile radius of Center of Hope. There are 504 churches in the city of Toledo, Ohio. Of this number, there are 107 Baptist churches. Center of Hope is the only area Baptist church which is a member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention. This convention differs from other predominately African American Baptist and other denominational organizations because of its civil rights advocacy and activism. The Progressive National Baptist Convention, founded in 1961, continues to fight against all forms of racism and discrimination through activities such as voter registration and support of affirmative action, equal educational opportunity, and abolition of apartheid through civic advocacy.

It is this context in which Center of Hope was born and operates. Membership has grown from 11 to a high of 250 members in 2002.