The History of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church: 1926 – 2014
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church began in the mind of Reverend Dency D. Richardson who saw a need for a church in the area of Twin Oaks, where he and his wife, Henrietta, recruited followers as they went from home to home. On May 26, 1926 , the Church vision came into reality; with a worship service in the home of the following people: Mr. & Mrs. Richard Austin, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Slater, Mrs. Viola Small, Rev. Jacob Brown, and Rev. Richardson and Mrs. Henrietta Richardson.
On October 10, 1926 , the Church was organized in the school house on Washington Avenue. This building is still in existence as a private home. Edward Harris suggested the name of Mount Pleasant , and thus it was adopted by the organizers: Rev. Dency Richardson, Mrs. Henrietta Richardson, Thomas Richardson, Edward Harris, Rev. Jacob Brown, Susie Carroll, Richard Austin and Annie Austin. Rev. Dency Richardson was ordained at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Marcus Hook and installed by the members of Mount Pleasant as pastor.
The new Church membership was as follows: Susie Carroll, Annie Austin, Richard Austin, Annie Mae Branch, Annie Brown, Ida Brown, Rev. Jacob Brown, William Hardney, Carrie Hygrant, George Jones, Meedee Jones, Henry Jones, Mamie Jones, Mattie Jones, Marie Marshall, Oscar Slater, Viola Small, Thomas Richardson, Edward Harris, and Otis Jones, a membership of 21. The first office holders were: Chairman of the Deacon Board- Thomas Richardson, Secretary- Edward Harris, Treasurer- Richard Austin, and Superintendent of Sunday School- Otis Jones.
After two years of work, the membership moved from the school house into a frame building which was built by George Jones and other members. The building was located on Booker Avenue in Twin Oaks, PA.
In the same year, 1928 Janie Savoy organized the first choir. Her daughter, Flossie Savoy, was the first pianist. Some of the earlier officers were Susie Carroll, Hattie Cox and Haywood Mar tin. It was under the presidency of Hattie Cox that the Choir purchased their first robes. Susie Carroll organized the Willing Workers and Missionary Circle .
George Lawson saw a need for the youth of the Church and organized a club whereby they could take part and relate. Muriel Jones suggested the Golden Rule Club, which was adopted. This club is no longer active, but during the pioneer days of the Church they would meet once a week under the presidency of Lottie Posey. The dues were 2 cents per week and their annual picnic was held at Woodside Park in Philadelphia .
The Usher Board was organized by Alvoid Bannister, Sr. to enhance the order of service. Dora Tolson realized the importance of aid needed by our pastor, so she initiated the Pastor’s Aide Club.
Misfortune occurred on February 11, 1934 ; the first church was destroyed by fire. This tragedy however did not quench the determination of its members; for after months of worship in the school house, a new Church was erected at the present location by George Jones and other members. This memorable event happened on July 24, 1934 . At this time the Church Membership had increased and Deacon Harrison Carroll was Chairman of the Building Committee.
Various Auxiliaries were organized in the years to follow. These Clubs played a very important roll in the spiritual and financial part of the Church. The Baptist Training Union (BTU) was organized by Jesse Posey who later was ordained a Deacon; Executive Board of Sunday School by Eva Martin; Gospel Chorus by Susie Carroll; Junior Usher Board by Annie Austin; Bible Class by Rev. Brown; Choir # 2 by Henrietta Womack; Prayer Board by Mary Ellen Burge, Deaconess Board and Junior Choir Eva Martin.
During the 1930’s the church played a very important part in the social functions of the family. On Sunday evening, you would find the entire family in the Church. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church would present a pageant. There was no script and the pageant was made up as each participant would enter. The plot was always the straight way to heaven. There would be solos, duets, quarters and recitations. Some of the participants were Hattie Cox, Louise Bannister, Alvoid Bannister, Mattie Jones, Henry Jones, Andrew Bannister, Estelle Howie, Susie Carroll, Dora Tolson, Dorothy Roane and Annie Austin.
In 1943, additions were made to enlarge the Church, and through the dedicated perseverance of the members, the existing mortgage was paid in full in 1946.
Still continuing to realize the importance of the auxiliaries function in the church, the Nurses’ Aid was organized by Eva Mar tin and the Infants Clinic by Clothelle McCoy, and Andrew Burge organized the Male Chorus.
Henry Jones at this time saw a need for a beacon light which would be seen from a distance. He donated a cross which was placed on the church’s steeple lightning automatically from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm .
Essie Boozer felt that having breakfast after Easter Sunrise Service was a good idea of fellowship and put this into being. Around this time, in 1956, Pastor Richardson’s brother, Rev. William Richardson, was ordained at Bethany Baptist Church in Chester , Pennsylvania .
Well-Baby Clinic was established by Dr. Momis and Dr. Tori who saw the need in the community.
The Sunday School rooms were expanded with the aid of Deacon Austin, Trustees and concerned members. On June 1, 1956 , Pastor Richardson retired from Sun Oil Company after fifty years of service. He was treated to a tour of the New England States at the expense of the Company.
The organization of the Men’s Bible Class by Andrew Bruge, The Trustee Aides by Annie Austin and the Flower Committee by Tillie Pearson materialized. During the year, six deacons were ordained, and added to the Board of Directors. They were Thomas Bishop, George Howie, Harry Jones, Beverly Miller and Jerry Womack.
In 1961, Rev. Charles Miller was licensed to preach, adding another minister to the pulpit.
During the formative years, Pastor Richardson would transport member and Sunday School students back and forth to Church without recompense. The Sunday School saw the need to alleviate this, and assumed the responsibility to renting a bus to provide the members with transportation. Later, the Church would eventually purchase its first bus.
The Richardson Chorus was organized by Dorothy Pearson and named for Pastor Richardson. The Junior Usher Board grew so large that it would eventually split into two units overseen by Tillie Pearson.
Deacon Richard Austin, always concerned with the education of the church youth, developed an Educational Fund along with Choir #1. This was to help student further their education in college. By the end of 1961, the membership had grown to 333.
In 1966, the first female was appointed to the Trustee Board, Sis. Hilda McNair. She served until 1970.
On May 22, 1969 , Pastor Richardson, full of years of service and beloved by his members, resigned after forty-three years toiling in the vineyard. Having borne witness to his vows and keeping faith with his Lord, the Church unanimously elected him Pastor Emeritus in recognition of his service. His brother, Rev. William Richardson, served as interim pastor.
Our Pastor Emeritus was succeeded by Reverend Levi B. Baldwin, Jr., who at that time was studying at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester , towards his Master of Divinity Degree. Our Pastor Emeritus had seen and met his successor and was in accord with the Church’s choice. On September 14, 1969 , Pastor Baldwin assumed his duties and was installed on October 26, 1969 . With his Pastorate, a new era began with the motto, “To God Be the Glory”.
His first commitment was the dedication services for Pastor Emeritus Richardson which culminated with a banquet honoring his years of service to the Church and community.
A mini-bus was purchased by the Sunday School to help transport the members.
A family presentation of chimes was made to the Church and various hours of the day the bells could be heard announcing glad tidings of “Whosoever Will”.
Property was purchased from Deacon Austin for $500.00 and acquired from the Laurys for the purposes of erecting a parsonage. The men of the Church began constructing the parsonage on this ground.
Our Pastor Emeritus passed on to his final resting place on May 1, 1970 .
Construction of the Parsonage was completed. The building was dedicated to the Lord and was soon occupied by Pastor and Mrs. Baldwin. Other accomplishments under Pastor Baldwin’s leadership were:
Ordained and added to the Deacon Board were: Cleveland Posey, George Posey, Leon Clark, Spurgeon Clark, Wardell Sherman and Raymond Waller.
Added to the Trustee Board were: Sam Laury , James Jones, Joseph Carroll, Frank Ward, John Swindler, Roland Robinson, Ralph DueWhite, Jr., Dwight Green, Arthur Lee Henry and Edward Johnson, Jr.
Membership increased to 386, and the Church budget increased from $4,728 per year to $35,000 per year.
The Male Chorus, No. 2 Choir and the Junior Choir became revitalized.
Additional Auxiliaries were created: The Young Women’s Progressive Club, Nursery Committee, Friday and Saturday Night Bible Classes; There was also a revitalization of the Flower Committee and the Nurse’s Guild.
Foreign Missions began to aid Rev. Brown who was stationed in Haiti , and Brother & Sister Ralph Lumpkins who were stationed in Liberia , West Africa .
The lot adjacent to the Church was purchased from the Deacon Paul Robinson for $2,000.00 for the purpose of building an Educational Building .
On January 7, 1972 , Sister Viola Pryor, one of the Church Founders passed away. Then on January 18, 1972 , Rev. William Richardson also went to be with the Lord.
But their legacy lived on, for on April 16, a Ground-breaking Service was held to initiate the construction of the Educational Building. The “Men of the Church” again put their knowledge and dedication together to construct the building. We acquired a loan of $66,000 for finishing the Educational Annex. And we paid off the mortgage for the Parsonage. Later, a recognition banquet was given for the men who worked so arduously on building the Education Annex. Unfortunately, one of the visionaries of this dream would not see it completed. Deacon Paul Robinson died suddenly on September 16, 1974 .
We became a member of the American Baptist Convention, and Pastor Baldwin was instrumental in Concord Friends awarding four scholarships to our 4 year olds.
Also during this period, four “Sons of the Warrior” would be called to preach the Gospel: Rev. Gregory Posey, Rev. Leon Clark, Rev. Tyrone Small and Rev. Marshall.
The Church would be blessed with the presence of Mrs. Ralph Abernathy as a Speaker for the Women’s Day Service and the Honorable Julian Bond would speak for the Trustee Aids Luncheon.
On September 29, 1975 Deacon Richard Austin, pioneer, founder and Educational Annex worker passed away. The Annex will always be a living monument to those who helped to bring this building to fruition.
Then on January 26, 1976 the Mount Pleasant Baptist Day Care opened, following much planning and personal sacrifices by Mrs. Etta Baldwin and Mrs. Annie Mae Jones.
The auxiliaries of the Church adopted various projects so that the Annex would be completely furnished. Membership increased so numerically that the “Men of the Church” put their shoulders to the helm and made more space available to accommodate the increased membership.
Later in 1976, the Church saw the need for more persons on its Administrative Board and Deacons Larry Box, Edward Johnson, Sr., John Swindler, and Michael Kennedy were ordained.
The Posey Family donated a water fountain on the second floor of the church center in memory of their mother, Sis. Matilda Richardson.
In 1977, three ladies of the church were added to the Trustee Board- Cora Richardson, Mildred Swindler, and Carrie Bannister. Herman Bannister was appointed Chairman of the Trustee Board.
To familiarize themselves with Baptist principles, a class created for new converts.
In 1978, Pastor Baldwin realized the need for some type of ministry to reach the sick & shut-ins and instituted DIAL A PRAYER. He would tape a message each week so that anyone with a telephone could dial in and listen. This became popular with college students who were away from home, also. Later that year the Church would purchase the New National Baptist Hymnal. The parsonage was redecorated.
Pierce Lawson, Edward Dennis and Earl White were added to the Trustee Board in 1979. A recreation program for the youth was initiated on Thursday nights under the leadership of Rev. Tyron Small. A Wurlitzer chapel piano was purchased to enhance the singing groups of the Church.
On the fourth Sunday of June 1979, Rev. Baldwin preached his last sermon of his first tenure at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church . He was called to the Pastorate of Helm Baptist Church in Jackson , Mississippi .
A Search Committee was then formed to seek out a new pastor.
In 1980, after nine months of devoted work, divine guidance under the leadership of Deacon Jerry Womack, the Church called Rev. A. James Collins as the Pastor-elect on the fourth Sunday of February, 1980.
Pastor Collins was installed on May 4, 1980 . The charge to pastor was given by Rev. S. Amos Brackeen of Phillipian Baptist Church, Philadelphia . The Charge was to the Church was given by Rev. Daniel A. Scott of Bethany Baptist Church, Chester, Pennsylvania .
The outside foundation bulletin was erected.
On Mar ch 13, 1981 , The Dency D. Richardson Library was dedicated and opened by Sis. Tillie Pearson and other committed members. Sun Oil donated books as well as other community members.
In order to present Christ to the youth of our community, Sister Rose Robinson and Deacon Sidney Robinson started a Pioneer Club.
On July 2, 1981 , the church membership voted to appoint a committee for the continuation and reorganization of the Mount Pleasant Day Care. The committee was: Carrie Bannister- Chairperson, Sidney Robinson, Robert Henry, Verna Brown, and Gladys Grover.
The committee went on to seek out and obtain a State License to operate on January 4, 1982 . They then became incorporated under the umbrella of the Church, appointed a new administrative committee, and changed the name from Mount Pleasant Day Care to Mount Pleasant Nursery School Day Care Center.
The Mass Choir was formed. Central Air-conditioning was installed in the Sanctuary.
Pastor Collins served for two years. His position as Pastor of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was terminated on June 30, 1982 .
In July 1982, Minister Earl White was called upon to assume Interim Pastor duties. He received his ordination on October 31, 1982 .
In April 1983, the Pulpit Committee, with Jesus Christ as guide, brought Minister White’s name before the Church to be voted on as the next Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Family. Deacon Raymond Waller served as chairperson of the Pulpit Committee. Minister White was received by a unanimous vote and a standing ovation. On Sunday, May 8, 1983, he officially assumed the position.
Another mini-bus was purchased for the senior citizens.
Sun Oil donated $2,000 for equipment for a playground behind the Church for the Nursery School.
Sister Elizabeth Henry had property to sell at Thomas and Nichols Avenues. She said that the Holy Spirit let her to offer it to the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church . This was brought to the Church’s attention and said property was purchased in May, 1984.
In 1985, the parking lot across from the Church and in front of the annex was paved and marked off.
In 1986, a new van was purchased.
On August 10, 1986 four new deacons were ordained and added to the Deacon Board. They were Alvoid Bannister, Jr., Joseph Carroll, Ralph DueWhite, Sr., and Dwight Green, Sr.
In September 1986 kindergarten was added to the Day Care facilities. Dorothy Peterson was hired as the first kindergarten teacher; Paul and Lena Simons were hired as the Directors.
Outreach ministries started under Pastor White: Godly men- revitalized; Godly women-revitalized; Pioneer Club’s started weekly meetings and summer camps; Wednesday the Church was designated to be open all day for prayer and meditation; Deacons were designated to be in charge on selected weeks; Early Sunday Prayer Assembly; Youth Sunday (Every 5 th Sunday in any given month, the youth conduct the entire worship service).
The Lord is continually blessing us through the teaching and preaching of Pastor White. The congregation has begun to tithe more and participation is study classes have increased.
Still standing as a statement of faith after sixty years, the Mount Pleasant membership has grown to approximately 600 strong, operating on a budget of approximately $130,000 per year.
With the background instituted by the founder, humility, tolerance, service to our fellow man and by the Grace of God, Mount Pleasant continues to grow in winning souls to Christ.
The Pioneer Club, under counselors Rose Robinson and Adrienne Gordy sent a delegate to the Christian Campaign International Convention.
Sister Delores Purnell and Sister Elizabeth Tolson were added to the Deaconess Board.
A public address system was installed in the Church.
The name of the Young Adult Choir was changed back to # 2 Choir.
The sanctuary was refurbished; men and women lavatories were added to lower level.
The Church also celebrated its 60 th anniversary with a week of services ending with a banquet at the Log Cabin Inn in Media. Rev. Levi B. Baldwin, Jr. served as the guest speaker for the occasion.
The Women went on this first spiritual retreat.
The Church purchased a new kitchen stove. The Library was expanded to a multi-purpose room. The kindergarten has its first graduation class (approximately 12 children). Renovations were done to the parsonage.
Other activities added: Children’s Church, Wednesday Afternoon Bible Study, Evangelism Explosion, Singles Group, Cluster men, Cluster women, Prison Ministry, Adoption Ministry and Worship Committee.
During November 1988, the altar ornaments were donated and purchased by auxiliaries, families, and individual members for the beautification of the Church, were dedicated. Among the items were scarves, candlesticks, set of flags, flower vases, candelabras and the cross.
Extension services of the University of Pennsylvania furnished soil and seeds for our gardens. This was an effort proposed through the Flower Club.
November 1988, the tree in memory of Deacon Jerry Womack was planted near the road in front of the breezeway.
Rev. Earl White served with us for seven years. His position as Pastor was terminated in April, 1989.
On August 20, 1989 , being guided by the Holy Spirit, the Reverend Levi Benjamin Baldwin, Jr. was again recalled to the helm of the “Cathedral in the Country”. Soon after returning to Mount Pleasant, Pastor Baldwin instituted ministries of outreach, support services, training, enrichment and growth, including: Bible classes, Children’s Church, drug addiction support, employment support, family life skills, financial planning seminars, and marriage enrichment seminars.
The loan for the Annex was paid off. A new furnace was installed. The Church purchased a set of drums and two complete computer systems. The Day Care program purchased two copiers.
The Godly Women & Godly Clusters was named Women’s Fellowship. The Godly Men & Men’s Clusters were changed to Men’s Fellowship. The Cathedral in the Country was changed to The Cathedral in Suburbia.
In November 1989, the Church purchased land next to the firehouse.
Dial-A-Prayer was reinstituted. The D. D. Richardson Library was painted and cabinets were installed. Curtains were hung for the beautification of the Annex. A Boy Scout Troop #388 was formed by Brother Gilbert Bruton and Brother Ralph DueWhite, Jr. The Church began sponsoring a one-half hour weekly broadcast Bible Class over radio station WCZN, 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. each Sunday, featuring Pastor Baldwin.
In May 1991, two Sunday morning services were instituted beginning ( 7:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. ). A Building Fund was started to enlarge the sanctuary. Annie Austin and Ruth Slater, two of the original founders of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church died.
February 9, 1992 , Susie Carroll was called home to be with the Lord. Susie Carroll was one of the founders of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church , known as the “The new Church”. She was the last of the original founders. Aunt Susie, as she was lovingly called, was also a Deaconess. She initiated auxiliaries in the church, The Willing Workers Club, Missionary Circle and the Mt. Pleasant Chorus.
The Cathedral in Suburbia having consistently been fed the word became FAT (faithful, available and teachable). Because of its growth, on April 15, 1992 , the Church took on a mission to build a new sanctuary. The theme for this project is “ Mission : Possible ”, standing on the promise that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me.” (Philippians 4:13) The building fund was disbanded and the Church took on “The Christian Stewardship Capital Fund Campaign”. This Campaign became a three year project. “So build we the wall… for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6)
Ground breaking Ceremony for Phase I for the building of the new sanctuary was held. Later that year the Ground-breaking Ceremony for Phase II which involved the Administration facilities (office, book store & conference room) was held.
Construction completed. Worship Center and administrative facilities are completed. The Congregation processed into the new facilities for Worship Services.
The Living Tree Monument was added to the Narthex to memorialize love ones. The Community Development Corporation (CDC) was incorporated.
Administrative offices are complete and are dedicated for worthy service for the Kingdom. Mt. Pleasant School of Ministry in consortium with Virginia Union established. The Bookstore is officially opened under the Leadership of Adrienne Gordy . On April 14, 1996 , Claudia Williams becomes the first female licensed at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church .
The Men’s Ministry held its first and largest Men’s Retreat. Six new Deacon’s in training were called to service: Willie Jones, Charles Caples, Edie Armor, Art Henry, John Bennett, Sr. and Alvin Thomas.
Groundbreaking for Phase III celebrated. On December 31, 1998 , Pastor Baldwin was called to be with the Lord.
Rev. Dr. Benjamin Green, Jr. installed as Interim Pastor, April 11, 1999 . Search Committee called to began a the process of calling a new Pastor. Cornerstone Ceremony marked the completion of Phase III . In August, Minister Gloria Voltz was the first female allowed to perform a Baptism.
Pastor Harold Dean Trulear was called as Senior Pastor.
On May 11, 2002 , Rev. Michael Evans and Rev. Gloria Voltz were ordained by the New Hope Association. Thus making Rev. Voltz, the first female to be ordained under Mount Pleasant Baptist Church rules.
The Bookstore is closed as direct ministry of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and is leased to a vender.
Martin Luther King III became the keynote speaker for Black History Month on February 10 th.
Pastor Trulear resigns as Pastor. A Search Committee is selected to begin the search for a new Pastor.
Rev. Sheldon Nix becomes the Interim Pastor in February.
In July 2007, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church calls Pastor Willie E. Robinson to the Pastorate. On the first Sunday of September, Pastor Robinson assumes his duties. He is officially installed on December 9, 2007. The preacher of the hour was Pastor Emeritus Gus Roman. The Charge to the Church was given by Dr. Baynard Taylor of Calvary Baptist Church in Chester , PA.
The Church embarks on 21 day fast (The Daniel Fast) in the Month of January. Officers are installed for the year. The Men’s Ministry goes to Pocomont for its annual retreat in September. Pastor Robinson is given an appreciation on September 21. Pastor Emeritus Gus Roman is the preacher for the occasion. The Women’s Ministry prepares to embark on their Retreat on November 7, 8 and 9th.
Four new deacons in training were called to service, Deacon Larry Dixon, Deacon Michael Parker, Deacon Theodore West and Deacon Hilton Waters.
Church-wide conference held to discuss the futtue of Mt. Pleasant.
Mt. Pleasant begins a 3 year Capital Campaign Fund to support the expansion of our church which includes a new balcony and renovated interior.
In December 2013, Sunday Worship services were moved to the Phoenix Ballroom. Construction began on the church..
In August of 2014, Mt. Pleasant returned home to a newly renovated church. A balcony was added in the sanctuary. New carpeting was added throughout the church along with expanded restrooms.
In December 2014. Mt. Pleasant welcomed four newly ordained deacons; Deacon Cliff Issac, Deacon Charles Holloway, Deacon Enrique Josephs, Deacon Mack Washington.