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This chronological record of events is submitted as an account of the stages through which Pilgrim Baptist Church has emerged and spiraled from 1919 to the present date. World War I had ended, leaving Americans victorious on the battlefield of war, but on the home front the dire need for spirituality remained. On January 9, 1919, a group comprised of Rev. and Mrs. C.L. Jordan, Rev. Danley, Deacons Moore and James Craig, Brothers Jack Chambers, Henry Jones, Solomon Morris, and Dan Morris, and Sisters Jennie Jones and Myrtle Afford met at the home of Bro. Tom Tiner, 1209 Wallace Street, to organize another black missionary Baptist church in this community. Many viewed this action disdainfully, but the results proved to be a turning point in the religious life of the entire community. Weekly meetings continued with this faithful and trusting group. By February 3, 1919, sufficient funds of $150.00 had been raised to make a down payment on a two-story brick building, located at 333 Chestnut Street. The selling price of the property was $$1,850.00. Members of the finance committee were Rev. C.L. Jordan, and Brothers Dave Hubbard and S.C. Green. Reverends Danley and W. Alexandria, along with Brothers James Craig, Tom Tiner, and Rob Jeskers, represented the organization at the closing of the purchase of 333 Chestnut Street.



On March 25, 1919, the group occupied the building. Bro. James Craig suggested the name Pilgrim Baptist Church, which was accepted. Acting members of the Board of Trustees were Brothers James Craig (Chair), H.J. Jones, and Brice Hunter. Bro. S.C. Green was acting Church Clerk. Weekly attendance continued and membership escalated rapidly. On May 11, 1919, a special council requested admittance into the Western Union Baptist Association, a district association now affiliated with the Ohio Baptist General Convention of the State of Ohio. The minutes of this very important council meeting: “On May 11, 1919, council meeting opened by singing, Scripture reading, I Corinthians 11. It was moved and seconded that we elect Rev. Clark of Middletown to be our chairman of the meeting. It was motioned and carried that Rev. G. T. McCall be clerk pro-tem. Ministers present were Dr. B. U. Clark, Reverends J. L. Francis, G. T. McCall, D. G. Anderson, and S. Hugeins. First Roll call: Brothers Jamison, Clark, Moore and Penick, and Sisters Pitts, Hughes, Bars, and Penick. The covenant was read by Bro. J. L. Francis. It was motioned and seconded that we adopt the Faith and the Covenant as a Missionary Baptist Church. It was motioned and seconded that this council is in order of recognizing this organization. It was motioned and seconded that we call Rev. Anderson as our permanent Pastor. “Near the Cross,” was sung, and benediction was given by Rev. S. Hugeins.” Page | 2 Requirements for admission were met, and Pilgrim Baptist Church was recognized as a Missionary Baptist Church.


April 14, 1919, Rev. Danley agreed to serve as acting pastor and acted in this capacity until May 11, 1919, when Rev. D.G. Anderson accepted the call. Although Rev. Anderson served only until October 10, 1919, in those few months the church grew from seven to eighteen members. Officers and staff included Deacons D. J. Moore, Essex James, Charles Phillips, E.J. Jameson, James Craig, and Hense McKennedy; and Brothers Brice Hunter (Church Clerk); Clifford Jordan (Sunday School Superintendent); W.J. Moore (treasurer); and James Tellus (pianist).


Rev. W.T. Jackson accepted the call on October 10, 1919. His official staff consisted of Deacons James Burnette, Edward Flowers, Peter Rawls, Riley Robinson, and Arthur Ramsey; Sis. Willia Bell Jenkins (clerk); Brothers Dell Jackson, (financial secretary) and Bruce Hunter (treasurer); Sister Luvata Traylor (pianist); and trustees Oliver Morris, Mack Ousley, John Dennis, Green Geter, and Brice Hunter. Under the direction of Sis. Lucy Holston, a youth choir was organized. During Rev. W.T. Jackson's pastorate, membership grew to 300, and to accommodate the increase, the adjoining building, at a cost of $1,500.00, was purchased June 26, 1925. As the congregation continued to flourish, an annex at a cost of $500.00, was added. Pilgrim continued to expand, and plans for a new structure began. The Cornerstone was laid June 21, 1927. In April 1928, at a cost of $18,300.00, the construction of this new building, located at 333 Chestnut Street, was completed. The congregation marched to the new edifice from the Masonic Hall on Monument Avenue, joyfully singing, “We Are Marching to Zion.” Ordained during this period were three ministers, Reverends Homes, John Brown, and G.W. Watson; and ten deacons, Brothers James Burnett, N.H. Penick, W. Morris, R. Robinson, A. Ramsey, Peter Rawls, Eddie Flowers, C.B. Phillips, Olden Shepherd and Green Geter. Rev. W.T. Jackson served as a dedicated pastor for 22 years until he was laid to rest on June 29, 1941. Rev. S.E. Parker was called in October 1941 and pastored until March 1942.


In December 1942, Rev. E.J. Shivers was called as pastor. At that time, Pilgrim’s indebtedness included the following properties: the initial building, $1,850.00; the second adjoining building, $1,500.00; the third new building, $18,300.00, and an annex to the old building, $500.00, making a grand total of $22,150.00. Under his guidance, the entire congregation pledged to continue to pray, to work, to sacrifice and to add power to Pilgrim's light in the community. By September 11, 1945, due to their diligence and faithfulness, Pilgrim was able to pay off the total indebtedness of $22,150.00. On October 28, 1945, the mortgages were burned. Rev. E.J. Shivers served until November 18, 1945.Page | 3 Pilgrim’s first college and seminary graduate, Rev. James B. Cayce, took over the reins in May 1946 and served until April 30, 1950. Young, energetic and innovative, he initiated an extensive ($3,000) renovation program which also included a printed bulletin and the use of a duplex envelope system.


On November 26, 1950, Pilgrim was blessed to receive her sixth minister in the person of Rev. Sloan Stanley Hodges, whose practical application of the Christian life helped the church to grow in independence. In 1952, new pews were added and pulpit furniture was purchased. The church parsonage at 1028 South Second Street was purchased on November 18, 1953, and just thirty months later, on May 22, 1955, the mortgage on this property was burned. Pilgrim established an independent Vacation Bible School with an enrollment averaging 150 students, organized a group of five choirs consisting of a Children's Choir, Youth Choir, Senior Choir, Men's Chorus and Gospel Chorus, and organized the Pilgrim Baptist Federal Credit Union (chartered January 2, 1958). Pilgrim continued to progress. The first church bus and organ (dedicated April 10, 1955), were purchased. Also purchased were properties located at 701-703 South Fourth Street on February 11, 1957, 713 South Fourth Street on September 23, 1957, and 715 South Fourth Street on July 21, 1958. On November 29, 1958, the second mortgage on 715 South Fourth Street was paid. Rev. Hodges served until January 31, 1965, when he accepted a pastorate at Sardis Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Pilgrim was financially solvent when he departed. From February 7, 1965 through August 1965, Rev. Virgil Sutton, Sr., served as Supply Pastor, during which time guest ministers preached.


On June 10, 1965, Rev. Norman L. Townsel, Sr., accepted the call as Pilgrim’s next pastor. On June 20, he gave an acceptance sermon entitled “Dry Bones.” On August 15, 1965, he preached his first sermon as Pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church. Pilgrim continued to thrive. New property was purchased in November 1965 at the following locations: lots 806 and 807 at Central and Chestnut, and 809 Central Avenue. In November 1966, Aleta Bridget Townsel, the youngest child of the Townsel family, was born. Aleta is the first baby born to a seated pastor of Pilgrim. Construction on a new church building on the lots located at 711-713 South Fourth Street began following the March 10, 1968 groundbreaking ceremony. A year later, on March 9, 1969, the Cornerstone was laid; the following week, on March 16, the building was dedicated. In February 1972, a new bus was purchased; in March 1973, a new organ was purchased. The Pilgrim Baptist Day Care Center opened in 1973, and on August 22, 1974, a new piano was purchased. Page | 4 In November 1974, Pilgrim member, Sis. Chiara Smith, joined the official staff as a temporary part-time church secretary. In March 1983, she became the church’s first full-time secretary, retiring July 30, 2007, after 33 years of faithful service. The Gussie Whiteside rooms were dedicated on May 25, 1975. A new van was purchased in March 1976, and in April 1976, a chair-lift to the Sanctuary was installed. The Pilgrim Baptist Scholarship Fund was established in August 1976, to encourage Pilgrim's youth to “Push for Higher Education.” Bequests were made by Sis. Pleasie Stallworth and Bro. Perry Riggins to establish the Scholarship Fund. Sis. Viola Benson served as the first chairperson of the Pilgrim Baptist Church Scholarship Committee. In 1978, the Young Brotherhood group (original key members were Brothers Fred Sutton, Virgil Sutton Jr., Jesse Cox, Ron Ellis and Don Gillespie I) introduced a system to record the church services on cassette tapes. These tapes were available for purchase. Additionally in 1978, courtesy of the local Fairfield radio station, and sponsored by Dea. Nathaniel Blue and his business, the A-1 Muffler Shop, Pilgrim began broadcasting church services. Dea. Ron Ellis was the announcer. Technical support was provided by the Young Brotherhood. In 1980, Sis. Mildred Johnson assisted in forming a Courtesy Committee for the church. Also in 1980, for the first time in the church's history, women were installed as trustees. The three history-making women were Sisters Viola J. Benson, Eddie M. Butler, and Harriet Bean. In May 1981, Pilgrim Baptist Church purchased the Notre Dame Education Center at 926 South Second Street and the adjoining property at 228 Hanover Street. The Notre Dame Center, a historical edifice built in 1869, is a five story, 48,731 square foot building. The name was changed to the Pilgrim Christian Center, and was utilized not only for various church-related activities, but also for the educational, social and spiritual needs of the community. The Pilgrim Christian Center was later renamed the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. In May 1983, the mortgage of the Pilgrim Baptist Church building was paid in full and on June 19, 1983, the burning of the mortgage took place. The Mortgage Burning Committee consisted of Sisters Marva D. Sherman (Chair), Ethel Carter (Co-chair), and Diane Sparks, Deacons Milton Flowers, Sr., and Ronald Ellis I, and Brothers Fred Flennoy and Gary Frazier. Seeing the need for a more accessible church building, the congregation selected a building committee. Members of the committee were Deacons Logan Stone (Chair), Ronald Ellis I, Donald Gillespie I, Thomas C. Hendrix, Juanita Isreal, Gregory Orso, William Shepherd and James McWilliams, Bro. Michael A. Daniels, and Sisters Alyce Mitchell, Carol Ramsey and Vickie Moody-Cardwell.Page | 5 A new church bus was purchased in December 1985, to replace the existing bus. In February 1986, the Constitution of Pilgrim Baptist Church was printed and distributed to the congregation. Later that year, a children's church was organized for children ages two through ten years. Pilgrim continued to blossom both spiritually and physically. The sanctuary, offices, classrooms, and surrounding areas were renovated and updated with modern décor. The security system, computer, printers, sound systems, and kitchen equipment were also updated. For the women of Pilgrim, the 1990s evolved into a history-making era. On June 16, 1991, after delivering her initial sermon, Sis. Denise Y. Turpin became the first female licensed to preach at Pilgrim. On September 20, 1998, not only was she the first female ordained, but also the first preacher ordained at Pilgrim since the late Rev. John Patton. The second woman licensed to preach was Sis. Regina JohnsonPhillips, who delivered her initial sermon on June 30, 1991. On May 21, 1994, Pastor Townsel proudly became the first pastor of Pilgrim to earn a Doctorate degree. Sis. Carlotta Butler became the first female Sunday School Superintendent in September 1994; and, of the sixteen deacons ordained on February 12, 1995, nine were women. Eight members, of which four were women, acknowledged a call to the preaching ministry: Pulpit assistants Marvin Sutton, Sr. Regina Johnson-Phillips, Denise Turpin, Curtis M. Turpin I, Harry Phillips, Jr., Deborah Carter, Beverly Wilhite, and James Susong (deceased). Reverends Eric Cason, William Wade, and David Green came to Pilgrim as licensed ordained ministers. In 1995, a stained glass window project was initiated. The last remaining windows were installed in May 1997. During the years of 1997-1998, the property at 1028 South Second Street was sold, and the property at 710 South Fourth Street was acquired. Dr. Townsel's dream of developing housing for seniors became a reality in November 1998, when the Pilgrim Baptist Church congregation voted to enter into an agreement with G. Fred Schwab Architects of Columbus, Ohio, to develop the Notre Dame building (renamed Pilgrim Christian Center) into senior housing. We were saddened by the demise of our First Lady, Mrs. Vivian Townsel, who passed from this earthly life on Good Friday, April 2, 1999, and was laid to Eternal Rest on Wednesday, April 7, 1999. Her home-going created an enormous void. The Leadership Council, formed under the direction of Sis. Marcia Carter, consisted of the church staff and officers of committees/auxiliaries of the church. The Council held its first meeting in March 1999, the purpose was “to establish and develop a strong support system among the leaders so that the performance of official duties and the accomplishment of group goals could be more effectively executed.” A commitment to prayer and study to strengthen one’s resolve to lead Page | 6 for Christ was advocated by the Council. As a result of the formation of this Council, in November 1999, the Missionary Society was recipient of the first Certificate of Merit, presented to them by the Board of Trustees. The Scholarship Committee compiled and published a cookbook (the first from Pilgrim) that was introduced through A Taste of Pilgrim on February 19, 2000. This cookbook was widely accepted throughout the surrounding area. On March 22, 2000, a tutorial program, under the direction of Sis. Marva Sherman, assisted by Dea. Ron Ellis I, Sisters Janice Jones, Patricia Ellis, and Dr. Sherida Long Hickman, was initiated to enrich kindergarteners through high school students. The property at 725 South Fourth Street was purchased on February 22, 2001, and in September 2001, the property at 228 Hanover Street was sold. Because of the need for modernization and accessibility of our current church building, Pilgrim began planning for a new addition to the church. A design proposal was received from one of the selected architects, WENCO Architects Inc., which was presented to the Building Committee, chaired by Logan Stone, Ph.D. The Building Committee presented its first proposal to the church body on Sunday, April 29, 2001. Pilgrim held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 10, 2001, at 2:00 p.m., for the renovation of the Pilgrim Christian Center into senior housing. On March 1, 2002, the building was opened, and the first tenant obtained occupancy. On Sunday, April 28, 2002, at 1:30 p.m., the senior apartment complex, consisting of 61 senior citizen housing units, was dedicated and officially named “The Nathaniel Sherman Jr., Manor of Pilgrim Baptist Church,” after the late Nathaniel Sherman, Jr., who had labored diligently with the committee to get this project initiated. Prior to renovation, the building won a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. On January 10, 2002, a 2002 Supreme Startrans church bus, with a capacity of either 22 passengers and 2 wheelchairs or 26 regular seating, was purchased. Final payment on the church bus was made after 6 years (2008). In October, 2002, the first Young People’s Council was established under the leadership of Sis. Shunda Townsel. In May 2003, the Building Committee, still not pleased with the results of the proposals submitted to date, began consulting with additional architectural firms to further explore proposals for the renovation of the current church. A major goal of the 2004 Women's Day Committee was to foster a closer bonding of our Christian sisters. The committee, under the leadership of Sisters Ethel Carter (Chair), Patricia Ellis and Temesha Corbin (Co-Chairs), held several meetings starting June 2003, and through prayer and planning, a seed was planted, which evolved into the establishment of The Sisters Ministry. The first meeting of The Sisters Ministry, held August 28, 2003, was called "A Gathering of The Sisters -- Get in the Boat." Monthly activities provided an opportunity to minister to the relational needs of women through opportunities for Christ-centered programs, as Page | 7 well as presented an outlet to relieve women from the daily pressures of life. The ministry has been well received by the sisterhood at Pilgrim. There has been spiritual growth, and activities to cultivate a spirit of harmony and fellowship with our sisters. In October 2003, ministry groups were also formed for senior adults, young adults, youth and men. In January 2004, Pilgrim invested in a small color laser printer, which enabled us to print our own beautiful bulletin covers. This printer opened new avenues giving us the ability to print programs, posters, banners and even our own stationary, all in living color! On Wednesday, February 4, 2004, a noonday prayer meeting was implemented. Deacon William Sherman Sr., retired from the position of Church Financial Secretary on December 31, 2004, after serving religiously for thirty years. Pulpit assistant Marvin Sutton, Jr. having served diligently for many years, was ordained on January 23, 2005. Consultation of the Building Committee with various architectural firms led to the selection of a design submitted by Derek Howard, president of DHArchitects, Inc.,Fairfield, Ohio, and former member of Pilgrim Baptist Church. This design was presented to the church on May 22, 2005, and was subsequently approved by the church body on June 26, 2005. The design included a multipurpose room with an enclosed kitchen, a pastor’s office equipped with a full bathroom; a relocated Church secretary’s office; an entry way redesigned with a larger foyer which included both a ramp and a new chair-lift to the sanctuary; an elevator to the lower level; and, additional restrooms accessible to the elderly and handicapped. The current building also received a new roof, steeple, carpet and pews. On July 1, 2005, the Nathaniel Sherman, Jr., Manor was placed under the management of Community Properties of Ohio. The building was updated by installing security cameras and hiring off-duty police officers. In mid-2006, twenty-six computers were donated to the church by Bro. Elijah and Sis. Paula Rudolph through Ford Motor Company.


A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 23, 2006, attended by the Mayor of Hamilton, several representatives from City Council and other dignitaries as guests. The construction of the long-awaited Phase II addition to the church by Jindal Builders and Restoration Company, Milford, Ohio, began in September 2006, and was completed in 2007. A dedication service was held on Sunday, October 28, 2007. The guest church was Israel Baptist Church; Pastor Ron Davis was the speaker. The Silent Witnesses, a praise dance group, was organized in June 2007, by Sisters Judy Hughley and Aleta Bridget Benson. The group began with four members and has grown significantly over the years. In November 2008, an extensive overhaul of the sound system was made by Bro. Hawthorne Taylor, Jr., of Taylor Made Productions, assisted by Bro. Michael A. Daniels. This system consisted of a new 32 channel sound mixer console including speakers for the floor and ceiling and the addition of a workstation in the Page | 8 rear of the church Sanctuary for more effective sound control. This setup provided one central location for our sound equipment and technicians. On Sunday, May 10, 2009, a magnolia tree was lovingly dedicated in memory of the late First Lady of Pilgrim, Mrs. Vivian B. Townsel. This beautiful tree and a plaque enhance the front lawn. As a Committee of Trustees’ project, the old church sign on the lawn was replaced by a larger, lighted, state-of-the-art informational sign in October 2009. The women of Pilgrim hosted their first Women's Conference on the weekend of April 23-24, 2010. The conference theme was "Christian Women--Living for God's Glory, Fulfilling God's Purpose." Chairpersons were Sisters Ethel Carter, Patricia Ellis and Marcia Gillespie. The program featured anointed speakers, five powerful workshop sessions, praise and worship singers, soloists, intercessory prayer time, two general sessions featuring the keynote speaker, Rev. Wilma R. Johnson of Detroit, Michigan, a luncheon, and time to meet and fellowship with other Christian women. Attendance was very good, and the response was exceptional. Requests were made, and a similar conference was held in 2011. In March 2011, a sound system was installed in the multi-purpose room so that visual and audio sound from the sanctuary could be heard and controlled in this area. In April, 2011, a video security system was completed to monitor the most affected areas of the church interior. Sunset and evening call…..after 46 years of pastoring Pilgrim Baptist Church, our beloved pastor, Rev. Dr. Norman L. Townsel, Sr., was called from labor to reward on Wednesday, August 31, 2011. He had suffered a debilitating illness but remained faithful until his demise. Reverends Harry Phillips, Jr, and Marvin Sutton, Jr. and Ministers William Wade and Beverly Wilhite served the pulpit on scheduled Sundays and fulfilled other pastoral duties as required. In March 2012, following fruitful meetings, a Pastoral Search Committee was selected. Committee members were Sisters Myra Butler, Ethel Carter, Yvonne Hickman, Carol Joyce Jones, and Janice Jones, Deacon William Shepherd, and Brothers Elijah Rudolph (Chair), Essex Shepherd, and Jessie Shipmon. On April 1, 2012, a leader came to be our Moses to lead us through a dark time. Rev. Dr. Melvin Williams was called to serve as interim pastor during the pastoral transition. With the arrival of Dr. Williams, Pilgrim was extremely busy in carrying forth the work of kingdom building while also enhancing internal ministry functions. Listed below are descriptions of ministry accomplishments during his tenure: In an effort to be accessible to members of Pilgrim and community residents, Dr. Williams established morning and evening office hours. He convened and facilitated a grief class that provided members of Pilgrim an opportunity to identify various forms of grief while processing their individual grief journeys. The class was well received and concluded after gathering for six months.Page | 9 Recognizing the significance of community engagement and partnership, Pilgrim worshiped with Townes CME Church of Cincinnati, and the following Hamilton churches: Second Baptist Church, House of Deliverance, Bethel Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church. Pilgrim provided a community dinner/fellowship. Dr. Williams expanded the traditional Senior Recognition Day by asking members to rally together and honor our senior members with a formal sit-down dinner. In August, 2012, a church-wide leadership training was conducted. Dr. Celeste Davis from 3-R Development (Middletown) was the facilitator. Over fifty leaders within Pilgrim gathered for a half day training session on organizational and church leadership. The Bylaws and Constitution of Pilgrim Baptist Church had not been revised in many years. Therefore, it became necessary to make minor amendments to the constitution during transition and before the selection of a new pastor. The committee members were Dea. Edmund Corbin, Sisters Janice Lawson, Katherine Rumph, Clemie Palmer, Darlene Corbin, Fonda Mitchell, and Bro. Walter Bailey. In November 2012, the church body adopted the amended constitution. The deacons and trustees were asked to meet collectively, on a monthly basis, for Lay Leadership collaboration. Meetings were held (and are on-going) to bring unity and efficiency within the leadership of Pilgrim Baptist Church. In November 2012, the sanctuary was enhanced with a multimedia projector system and screen with a laptop computer. The multi-media workstation was elevated on a platform to allow for a better viewing angle for video production. For the first time in over two decades, Pilgrim returned to one of her traditional services; a 6:00 a.m. Easter Sunday Sunrise Service was held in 2013. The guest preacher was Rev. Anthony McPeters, pastor of Israel Baptist Church, Hamilton. Following the Sunrise Service, visitors and members feasted on a delicious breakfast provided by the men of Pilgrim. On April 21, 2013, an Appreciation Dinner was held for Dr. Williams at Fairfield Pavilion. October 13, 2013, marked the end of the tenure of Interim Pastor, Dr. Melvin F. Williams. Dr. Michael D. Reeves, Jr., answered the call on August 11, 2013, for a trial message and a church vote.


On October 20, 2013, the torch was passed from Interim Pastor Dr. Melvin Williams to Pastor Dr. Michael D. Reeves, Jr. After a week of celebration, on February 2, 2014, at 4:30 pm, Pastor Reeves was installed. His father, Elder Michael D. Reeves, Sr., presided as overseer of the Sunday, February 2, morning and evening Installation Services. Under Pastor Reeves’ leadership new banners were acquired for the sanctuary. The choirs were combined to form a Youth Choir and Mass Choir. A new website and domain name were established. Pastor Reeves developed a new church logo. Leadership conferences were held. On Sunday, May 25, 2014, following the 95th Church Anniversary, the fellowship hall was dedicated as “Townsel Hall.”Page | 10 A committee was set up on June 1, 2015, to investigate the details of the church’s responsibility/liability for Sherman Manor. Members of the Sherman Manor Committee were Brothers Lester “Butch” Hubble (Chair) and Walter Bailey; Deacons Jerry Bryant, Edmund Corbin, Donald Gillespie I, Ronald Ellis I, Elijah Rudolph, and William Shepherd; Sisters Ethel Carter, Yvonne Hickman, Katherine Rumph Butler, Marva Sherman, and Diane Sparks; and Rev. Regina Johnson Phillips. On September 15, 2015, the Deacons initiated a campaign to pay off the church mortgage by or within the year 2019. The intent was to burn the mortgage, associated with the renovation and addition to the current church in five years, which would correlate with the 100th anniversary of Pilgrim Baptist Church. In 2016, additional media equipment was purchased for Townsel Hall, which consisted of a video projector, laptop computer and video monitor. This enabled Pilgrim to host more effective conferences, meetings and other events including the 2017 Super Bowl church event. In January 2017, the 2002 Supreme Startrans church bus was sold. This began the process to find a more economical mode of transportation. In April 2017, as part of the outreach ministry, Rev. Regina Johnson-Phillips initiated a program, The Kings Table, which serves hot meals to the homeless through Serve City on the first Tuesday of each month. Volunteers also deliver meals to homebound members of Pilgrim and members ages 90 and up. On Monday, May 22, 2017, the church voted to end the pastoral relationship with Dr. Michael D. Reeves, Jr. The Nathaniel Sherman, Jr., Manor of Pilgrim Baptist Church was sold on August 29, 2017. The committee negotiated a payoff for Sherman Manor at a price of $517,642.00. The Manor continues to provide senior housing. On September 1, 2017, Pilgrim appointed Rev. Marvin G. Sutton, Sr., (a son of Pilgrim) as Interim Pastor, and under his spirit-guided leadership, Pilgrim progressed with a commitment to the unity of all members. During his tenure, on September 3, 2017, the original church bell, which had not been reset, was relocated and rededicated with the bell ringing in the hour. On September 29, 2017, with a portion of the proceeds, the church paid off the remaining mortgage associated with the renovation and addition to the current church, in the amount of $412,843.42. On October 22, 2017, we held the third mortgage burning of Pilgrim Baptist Church. Rev. Elmer S. Martin was speaker of the hour. Deacons Elijah Rudolph and Logan Stone burned the mortgage. On October 29, 2017, Brother Delacy Frazier answered the call to the ministry and preached his trial sermon. The sanctuary and lower level furnaces and A/C units were replaced in May of 2018.Page | 11 During this entire transitional period, Rev. Marvin Sutton, Sr. secured various area ministers as guest speakers for Sunday morning services and handled other important pastoral services. A new Pastoral Search Committee was selected. Committee members were the following: Sisters Shunda Townsel, (Chair), Beverly Ligon Florence, Jean Davis Curry, Myrtice “Penny” Sutton, Angela Sherman Gordon, Clemie Palmer, and Deloise Shipmon, Brothers Gary Frazier, Anthony McGee and Deacon Jerry Bryant advisor. Pilgrim received and heard three pastoral candidates. A vote was taken for two candidates (one candidate was eliminated from the voting process).


On December 9, 2018, in a soul-stirring service, the torch was passed from interim pastor, Rev. Marvin G. Sutton, Sr., to permanent Pastor Devin E. West. On April 13, 2019, a banquet was given in honor of Pastor West at the Fairfield FOP Event Center. The affair was a very delightful, spirit-filled event. Sunday, April 14, 2019, Pastor West was officially installed as the ninth pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church. Bible study classes were initiated for Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Wednesday evening Bible study classes continued from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The text book, The Battle Plan for Prayer, by Stephen Kendricks, Alex Hendricks and Travis Agnes, was accepted and is very informative. Under Pastor West leadership, the church has launched into the 21st century, increasing in size and growing beyond the walls of the physical church.


From May 2018 through May 2019, we focused on the upcoming celebration of Pilgrim’s centennial. During morning worship, members gave historical presentations of former events, growth and development of the church. This helped younger generations to relate to the task of building a firm foundation on which we now survive. Support, both spiritually and financially, came from the entire area and beyond. On April 27, 2019, Pilgrim sponsored a picnic at the Booker T. Washington Community Center. This event brought the entire community together in brotherly love through food, fun and games. Pilgrim Baptist Church will not rest on her laurels but will continue to implore the Prince of Peace to watch over us, to guide us, and to keep us in His loving care. The following persons have served as Deacons of the Pilgrim Baptist Church: Hattie Bailey; Katherine Bass; Fonsea Butler Bradley; Jerry Bryant; James Burnett; Stephen Butler I; Deborah Carter; Edmund Corbin; James Craig; Ronald Ellis I; Thomas Flenoury; Edward Flowers; Harold Flowers; Milton B. Flowers; Green Geter; Donald Gillespie I; Donald Gillespie II; Riley Gillis; Lawson Gleaves; Lucien Hawkins; Thomas Hendrix; Derek Howard; Juanita Isreal; John Jackson; E.J. Jamerson; Essex James; Hollis Johnson; Benjamin Ligon; Henry Long, M.D.; Hense McKennedy; James McWilliams; Alyce Mitchell; D.J. Moore; Ida Reene Moore; Marlin Morris; Oliver Morris; W. Morris; Gregory Orso; Noah H. Penick;Page | 12 C.B. Phillips; Charles Phillips; Harry Phillips, Jr.; Arthur Ramsey; Peter Rawls; Riley Robinson; Elijah Rudolph; George Ross; Olden Shepherd; William Shepherd; William Sherman, Sr.; Ruby Siler; Emma Smith; Logan Stone; Milus Sutton; John Sutton; Timothy Sutton; Virgil Sutton, Sr.; Hawthorne Taylor, Sr.; Carl Turpin; Jean West; Richard West; Samuel Wilhite. The following persons have served as Missionary Society Presidents of the Pilgrim Baptist Church: Nancy James, Fannie Watson, Robertia Rawls, Mary Smiley, Rosie Dennis, Mabel Johnson, Eula Booker, Sadie Flowers, Lessie Robinson, Luvata Traylor, Pleasie Stallworth, Mildred Johnson, Susie Sutton, Eunice Turpin, Katherine Rumph-Butler, Beverly Hunn, Donna Ash, Darlene Sutton. The following persons have served as Sunday School Superintendents of the Pilgrim Baptist Church: Reverend G.W. Watson; Reverend C.L. Jordan; Oliver Morris; Riley Robinson; Adolph Henderson, Sr.; Reverend Virgil Sutton, Sr.; William Sherman, Sr.; Thomas C. Hendrix; Carlotta Butler; Deloise Shipmon; Carol Joyce Jones. The following persons have served as Trustees of the Pilgrim Baptist Church: Donna Ash; Sheila Ash; Angela Avery; Charlotte Avery; Marita Avery; Anita Bailey; Hattie Bailey; Shannon Barron; Wardell Beamon; Harriet Bean; Herbert Benson, Sr.; Kenneth Benson, Sr.; Viola J. Benson; Mance Berry; Nathaniel Blue; Fonsea Butler Bradley; Lula Brandon; Bessie Britt; Shaunese Brown; Queen Brown; Jerry Bryant; William Burns; Carlotta Butler; Eddie Butler; Lorna Butler; Stephen D. Butler I.; Myra Watts-Butler; Vickie Moody Cardwell; Deborah Carter; Ethel Carter; Marcia Carter; Robert Carter; Kaye T. Chandler; Nancy Chappell; Darlene Corbin; Edmund Corbin; Temesha Corbin-Christian; Jesse Cox; James Craig; Carol Cummings; Leslie L. Cunningham; James Curry; Jean Davis-Curry; Albert Daniels; Michael A. Daniels; Theodore Davis; John Dennis; Willie Doolittle; Alex Ellis; Patricia Ellis; Ron Ellis I; Thomas Flenoury; Juan Florence; Milton Flowers; Delacy Frazier; Patricia Frazier; Willie Fuller; Fulvia Gallimore; David Gary; Green Geter; Donald Gillespie I; Donald Gillespie II; Robert Gleaves; Angela Gordon; Mark Hawkins; Kevin Henderson I; Sherida Long Hickman; Lester “Butch” Hubble; Derek Howard; Arthur Hudson, Sr.; Beverly Hudson; Judy Hughley; Ralph Hughley; Beverly Hunn; Brice Hunter; Hollis Johnson; Timothy Johnson; H. J. Jones; Janice Jones; Nettie Jones; Timothy K. Jones; William Jones; Deidra Knight; Elizabeth Knorr; Janis Lawson; Benjamin Ligon; Beverly Ligon; Lawanda Long; Georgette Lynn; Alonzo Marshall; Linda Martin; Ramona Miller; James McKinney; Karen McKinney; Alyce Mitchell; Duane T. Moore; Oliver Morris; Angela Orso; Gregory Orso; John Orso III; Kellie M. Ortiz; Mack Ousley; Clemie Palmer; Alice Phillips; Brandon Phillips; Harry Phillips, Jr.; Harry Phillips, Sr.; Leah Phillips; Ron Phillips; Scott Phillips; Carol Ramsey; Charlie Reed;Page | 13 Shirley Reed; Marlon Ross; Katherine Rumph-Butler; Johnnie M. Russell; William Sherman, Jr.; Nathaniel Sherman, Jr.; Jacquelyn Sherman; Essex Shepherd; Herbert Shirley; Rufus Shirley; Ruby Siler; Mercedes Siler; Charles Singletary; Derrick Sneed; Tonisha Sowell; Tony Sowell; Logan Stone; Charles Stringer; Angela Susong; James Susong; Darlene Sutton; Fred Sutton; John Sutton; Milus Sutton; Myrtice Sutton; Virgil Sutton, Jr.; Hawthorne Taylor; Lillie Jones-Thomas; Debi Thompson; Leah Thompson; Lolita Tipton; Willie Tims; Payton Townsend; Curtis Turpin; Dwight Walker; Elbert Walker; Mary Walker; Patricia Ware; Gina West; Jean West; Richard West; Landis Whiteside;Jimmie Williams; Josephus Woods and Beverly Sutton Young. The following persons have served as Teen Trustees of the Pilgrim Baptist Church: Erik Avery, Ashley Bailey, John Orso, Raeven Davis, Mercedes Siler, Bryce Butler, Saxon Watts, Michael Butler, Nicholas Miller, and Ariana Avery.

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