The Empire Baptist Missionary Convention was initially founded as "The Baptist Church Union" (August, 1895) by a group of Black ministers, who convened at St. Phillips Baptist Church (Staten Island) because of their commitment to unite as an organization to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). The first official session of the Baptist Church Union was held at Bethany Baptist Church (Brooklyn, New York) on September 16, 1895 where Dr. S.A. Thomas was elected the first president of the organization. At its seco nd official session held at the Concord Baptist Church (Brooklyn, New York) in October 1897, the name of the organization was changed to the Colored Baptist Missionary Convention of New York relative to incorporation proceedings expedited in Kings County (Brooklyn), New York on September 23, 1897.
The certificate of incorporation (September 23, 1897) and the organization's constitution stipulate its mission, which is "…First, to extend the Kingdom of Christ, by the preaching of the Gospel, helping to build and maintain churches and schools and to organize the Baptist Young People's Union within its boundaries of this State; the employment of missionaries and establishing Sunday Schools, and second, to establish and maintain or aid in maintaining a school for the education of young men for the ministry, and women for missionaries and educational employment." In addition, a third objective, "…to establish and maintain a home for the aged
and infirmed and orphans", was included.
The Convention's name was changed to the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York in 1948. The Convention headquarters building, which was purchased during the administration of past president, Dr. Sandy F. Ray, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church (Brooklyn, New York), is named in his honor (The Sandy Frederick Ray Building) and is located in Harlem, New York (63 – 65 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027).
The Convention's constitution and by-laws were revised on October 25, 1990 to reflect the current Convention objectives as follows: promotion of domestic and international missions (A Home Mission Drive" and a "A Foreign Mission Drive"); Christian education; evangelism; social action; Bible study; distribution of the Bible and other Christian literature; and cooperation with other religious organizations. All Missionary Baptist Churches, which subscribe to these objectives, are welcome as members of the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York.
Convention membership is also comprised of the following auxiliaries:
• The Women's Auxiliary (founded in 1901), which includes
• The Young People's Department, which was organized in 1961
• The Department of Christian Education, which was organized in 1912
• The Ministers Wives & Widows Auxiliary, which was organized in 1944
• The Laymen's Auxiliary, which was organized in 1947
• The Ushers and Nurses Auxiliary, which was organized in 1960
Membership is also comprised of seven regional Missionary Baptist Associations (Central Hudson, Eastern, Great Lakes, Hudson River Frontier, Northeastern, United and Western) in New York State.
Annual Session meetings are held Monday through Friday following the third Sunday in October each year. A semi-annual session is held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday following the first Sunday in May each year.
Officers serve a three-year term, limited to a two-term tenure of office (a maximum of six years). Elections are held at the Annual Session of the Convention. Delegates, who are sent by members churches, vote for officers of the Convention and its Auxiliaries/Departments.