Pleasant Grove History

The story of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church since 1882

See our Pleasant Grove historic picture gallery.

The Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was organized in June of 1882. At that time, the church was located at what was then 17th and Ohio (presently, Harding and Ohio streets). Early accounts of the life of the church show that our forefathers were evangelistic minded. Large baptismal services were held at the nearby bayou, which was Lake Harding, located near Harding and Indiana streets.

The church has been rebuilt six times. One structure was destroyed by fire. The congregation began construction on the new building under the leadership of Rev. J. Haywood. During his tenure, which ended in 1949, only the basement was completed. That structure was completed under the pastorate of Rev. T. Key in 1953. Our present edifice was erected in 1973. Dedicatory services were held in 1974 under the dynamic leadership of Rev. J. H. Nolen and the perseverance of many members who dreamed of a modern sanctuary, which included an education annex. The mortgage burning service and ceremony were held in 1979.

Rev. Charles Taylor was the first pastor of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. He served from 1882-1908. Other dynamic pastors who have led this congregation are:

  • Rev. J. Singleton 1908 – 1913
  • Rev. H. L. Higgins 1913 – 1920
  • Rev. M. Ferguson 1920 – 1930
  • Rev. E. Moore 1930 – 1936
  • Rev. D. Holston 1936 – 1946
  • Rev. J. Haywood 1946 – 1949
  • Rev. T. Key 1949 – 1955
  • Rev. J. H. Nolen 1955 – 1987
  • Rev. K. Newburn 1987 – 1988
  • Rev. M. E. Wiley 1988 – 1991
  • Rev. B. R. Brasfield 1991 – 1995
  • Rev. H. Shirlee 1996 –2017
  • Rev. Dennis Wilson 2019 – present

Some of the early memorable Christian personalities of our church were: Brothers Ed Williams, James Brown, Will Gray, H. Robinson, Booker Smith, Dudley Crater,  J. Lewis, Joshua Johnson, Joe Thompson, Ben Height, Buck Johnson, Robert Wiles, Willie Walker and Willie Garrett. Others included: Sisters Luella McCoy, Martha Colbert, Bertha Wiles, Bessie Browder and Ida B. Garrett.

After hearing recounts by several members of the church, a few words cannot tell of Deacon Ed Williams or Bro. Ben Height who tolled the church bells to let neighbors know of a member’s home going. Nor can words describe Bro. Cody Washington who organized the first usher board.

Pleasant Grove has ordained and sent into the vineyard the following ministers: Reverends Peter Thompson, Willie Thornton, Jr., Wiley Jackson, H. Y. Johnson, Jesse Turner, Charles Hawkins, and Joshua Pickett. Rev. H. Y. Johnson and Rev. Jesse Turner served as interim pastors. Reverends W. L. Russell, Early Foreman, John Moorehead, Joshua Crater and Bobby Butler are the present associate ministers under the leadership of Pastor Shirlee.

Worship services at Pleasant Grove had always been held bi-monthly and continued as such except during the administration of Rev. Key. After his departure, the church members voted to return to services held monthly. We began full-time service again in 1987 under the leadership of Rev. K. Newburn, holding services each Sunday morning.

The Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church is a venerable institution, providing religious leadership and spiritual enlightenment to its membership and the community throughout its years. Our upward mobility for the cause of Christ is evidenced by our prolific past and our vital present. We joyfully celebrate 134 years of being in service to the Lord.

See our Pleasant Grove historic photo gallery.


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