True Light Baptist Church was founded in 1922. Reverend Perry Mallet opened a small mission on Bartlett and Ney Streets. The mission was open to serve the few Christians in the neighborhood. After a few months of prayer meetings, Reverend Mallet and a few elders felt God’s call to organize a church. Soon after, they approached Pastor William Norcross of Messiah Baptist Church to assist in the formation of the church. As a result, he graciously sent Deacons Thomas Jefferson and J. G. Brown to assist with the transition. Along with these fine men, those in attendance were Reverend and Mrs. Mallet, their daughter, Lena, Mrs. Sarah Brown, Mrs. Ophelia Moody, Mrs. John Bowman, and Mrs. Sarah Glover (Nee Sarah Carter). Mrs. Sarah Glover served as the acting secretary and Lena is recognized for giving True Light Baptist Church its name. Reverend R. L. Woodson was selected and served as pastor of True Light from 1922 to 1924. During his tenure, a building was purchased at 221 Williams St. SW at a cost of $2,000.00.
In 1924, Reverend M. P. Parish was called and served True Light through 1932. During the transition, Reverend S. L. Paul, the Assistant Minister, led the membership until Reverend L. D. Bunn accepted the call to pastor in 1933, serving until 1935. After Reverend Bunn’s tenure, Reverend M. D. Ware accepted the call and served from 1935 to 1937.
In January 1938, Reverend H. C. Toliver, and his wife Elizabeth, arrived to serve as Pastor and First Lady. Their service was concluded in 1954. During this time, the church moved from the Williams Street site to a new location at 305 Wealthy Street. The building was purchased at the cost of $10,000. To the Glory of God, it was paid off within a year.
In June of 1954, Reverend W. L. Patterson, along with his loving wife Ruth of Memphis, Tennessee, accepted the call to serve as Senior Pastor of True Light. Under his leadership and spiritual guidance, the church experienced continuous spiritual and numeric growth. Many great achievements were seen during his 41 year tenure. Most notably, Pastor W.L. Patterson was instrumental in leading the church to purchase property at 900 Thomas SE where the current worship center was erected. On August 26, 1967, the True Light members marched into their new church. In July 1995, in honor of this wonderful man and woman of God, membership, friends, and the Grand Rapids community paid tribute to Reverend and Mrs. W. L. Patterson with a momentous retirement banquet and honorarium service held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
In August of the same year, Reverend H. C. Patterson, the son of Reverend W.L. and Lady Ruth Patterson, served as Interim Pastor and was later elected as Pastor in November 1996. He was installed as Pastor on
January 26, 1997. On August 16, 1997, the church celebrated its 75th Church Anniversary. During Reverend H. C. Patterson and his lovely wife Ruby Jean Haggerty Patterson’s tenure, many improvements were made to the church. Reverend H. C. Patterson introduced the Bridge Building Ministry, inspired by the teaching of Evangelist Luis Palau. From this body of ministry, other ministries were formed. Pastor H. C. Patterson served until 2006.
During the transition of pastors, True Light elected Reverend Clyde Sims, a ‘son’ of True Light, to serve as Lead Minister for approximately a year. After much prayer, in August 2007, True Light elected its 8th pastor, the Reverend Jovan T. Davis, of Passaic, New Jersey. During his four years of service, True Light established its 501c3 community development corporation, The Promise of Hope, developed new ministries, and experienced growth in youth and young adult membership. Pastor Davis concluded his service in November 2011, with Reverend Sims again serving as Lead Minister.
On October 4, 2012, Reverend Fredricc Gerard Brock and Lady Kan’Dace Len, of San Antonio, Texas were called as the 9th Senior Pastor and First Lady. Pastor Brock restructured True Light’s strategic vision and mission. In addition, several rooms in the church were renovated. Pastor Brock concluded his service in October 2014, Reverend Cinovia Nelson was called to serve as Lead Minister.
In November of 2015, God called Reverend C.A. Pace, Jr. and Lady Tonia Pace of Dayton, Ohio to serve as the 10th Senior Pastor and First Lady in its 90 plus year history. He hit the ground running, helping to save souls, change lives and impact our community in new ways. During Rev. Pace’s tenure, the church has been through a transformation inside and out with media upgrades and painting the facility in 2017. His passion for God, love for people, community-based mindset, and focus on reaching out to the unsaved is leading True Light to a whole new level of ministry.
We are a family of believers Sharing Christ, Showing Compassion and Serving the Community with the power of the Holy Spirit. We want the World to Experience the Light!
Carl A. Pace Jr. is the Senior Pastor of True Light Baptist Church. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio and is the youngest child to Carl Sr. and Linda Pace. He is a product of Dayton Public Schools.
He is a Graduate of Central State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Recreation, and holds a Master of Divinity from the Oldest Historically Black Seminary in the country, Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, OH. He is Doctoral Candidate at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio where he is a Gardner C. Taylor Scholar with a focus on Prophetic Leadership; Social Justice and Political Action. Rev. Pace is a firm believer that the combination of a commitment to education and a strong intimate relationship with God is essential to personal growth and development.
Before coming to True Light, Rev. Pace served at Harvest Grove, Corinthian, and Bethel Baptist Churches all of Dayton, Ohio. He accepted his call to the ministry as an undergraduate student at Central State University, while under the leadership of his first Pastor, Dr. Selwyn Q. Bachus at the Shiloh Baptist Church of Dayton. Under the Guidance of his pastors, Rev. Pace has learned that the purpose of the church is to focus on evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, worship and ministering to the needs of individuals, families and our communities. Rev. Pace has made it his mission to preach the word of God with clarity and authority.
He is a strong believer in the community and education demonstrated by his service on the Twenty-first Century youth program Board of Directors along with the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He is also affiliated with National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., Ohio Baptist General Convention.
He is married to the former Tonia Daniel and they have three children, Mackynzi, Carl III and Quentin Elliott.