Pilgrim Valley Missionary Baptist Church History
TIME FRAME (1912- 1980)
Pilgrim Valley Missionary Baptist Church was organized and established in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1912 by Reverend William Sanders. The original location was between 6th and 7th Streets on the west side of Park Avenue in a frame house. The church was named for the property site which was downhill from the street level in a valley type atmosphere looking up at the properties surrounding it. In 1917, the church body purchased the property on the northeast corner of 6th and Park Streets. The house on the property was converted to a church.
Ministers succeeding the Reverend Sanders as Pastor of Pilgrim Valley Missionary Baptist Church were: Reverend Isaiah Anderson, Reverend George McClinton, Reverend George Jones and Reverend W. M. Thompson. Pioneer deacons were: Willie Edwards, Sr., Silas Cheathams, Newton Day, Henry Beaman and Frank Robinson.The church property was paid in full in 1929. The same year under the leadership of Reverend W. M. Thompson, the building was torn down and the members provided the labor to build the first church. Sometime later the church was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt up to street level adding a basement for Sunday School classes and other church activities.
Other ministers who served as pastor were: Reverend N. C. Thomas and Reverend S. J. Nash. Reverend Thomas was recalled to pastor and served an additional 12 years, totaling 18 years. In 1966, the church was forced to sell its property at 6th and Park to the State of Arkansas for the expansion of the State Capitol grounds. While remaining on the property and paying rent, the congregation was blessed to purchase the property at 1821 Wolfe Street in 1967 by the Trustee Board. The Trustee Board members were: Nathaniel W. Hill (Chairman), Finist Quiller, John W. Silver, Riley Griffin and Lucille Blakes. (Willis Blakes took his wife's place when she died).
The "Ground Breaking Ceremony" was held on Sunday, October 8, 1967 at 2:00p.m. The General Contractor (Smith Brothers Construction) began construction in early November 1967. Upon completion, Pilgrim Valley moved on Saturday, April 19, 1968. The first worship service was held the following Sunday. The Dedication Program began Wednesday, June 12th and ended on Sunday, June 16, 1968. On Sunday, September 22, 1968 at 2:30 p.m. the Corner Stone Service was held and preformed by Trinity Lodge #33, P.H.A. Other Masonic Bodies that were in attendance were J.L.H. Smith Consistory #76 and Mohammed Temple #34, all of Little Rock, AR.
December 31, 1968, Reverend N. C. Thomas resigned and was honored with an appreciation program. The church remained a widow until July 19, 1969, when Reverend L. T. Coley was called to pastor. After three years, Reverend Coley resigned to continue his education in Atlanta, Georgia. November 23, 1971, Reverend Anthony Honeycutt became pastor. In January 1975, Reverend Honeycutt resigned. In April 1975, Rev. Robert Lindsey became pastor. With thankful hearts to the Lord, on Sunday, August 29, 1976 at 2:30 p.m. the "Burning of the Mortgage Papers Program" was held. Reverend Lindsey resigned on October, 19, 1980.
TIME FRAME (1980- 2014)
Reverend William B. Fields was called to pastor on July 20, 1981. Reverend Fields elected July 26th as an effective starting date. On August 16, 1981, at 3:00 p.m. an installation program was held. In 1987, a new wing was added to the church building. In 1991, the sanctuary was remodeled including new pews. In 1993 a lot was purchased for church expansion. Another lot was purchased in 1997.Ground was broken for the new Sanctuary/Office building on October 21, 1998 and construction started on January 25, 1999, with the church serving as the General Contractor. Nathaniel W. Hill volunteered to serve as the construction manager, with a completion date of August, 1999. The construction cost of the building was $377,000, which was $188,000 less than the lowest bid. The new building was dedicated on August 29, 1999. On June 20, 2004, the church purchased a 26-passenger Mini Bus to use in its ministries. On July 25, 2008, the church purchased three (3) lots behind the church on Marshall Street for future church use. On October 19, 2008, a dedicatory service was held for the lots. A forth (4th) lot was purchased on July 27, 2010, also on Marshall Street. In 2011
Henry Peoples, Walter Hill, Sr.,C.W. Winslow, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Spears, Nathaniel Bankhead, John W. Silver, Henry E. Hill, Ike Newborn, Arthur Turner, Morris Haynes, Emmanuel Lupo, G. Woods, Elijah Taylor, Thomas Murry, Finist Quiller, Willie Brown, Louis Green, Riley Griffin, Emmanuel Cornelius, Fred (Al) Harris, George Craig, Ceodia Lasker and Elvester McCraney.
Charles Sanders (Chairman), John Fletcher, Sr., Albert Hughes, Sr., Willie Edwards, Sr., Bradley Shell Sr., King James, Melvin James, McKinley Scott, and David Smith .
Past trustees were: Jefferson Arnett, Louis Greene, George Craig, and Detricia Fletcher. The present Trustees are: Nathaniel W. Hill (Chairman), Joe Hill, Sr., Walter Oliver, Rena Stevenson, and Willie Edwards, Sr.
Pilgrim Valley Missionary Baptist Church was Incorporated by the State of Arkansas. On Sunday, May 27, 2012, activities started for the celebration of our 100th Anniversary, with a Kick-Off Party outside in front of the church. On Sunday, July 15, 2012, an Open House was held, featuring pictures, videos, old church furniture, and old church records. On October 18th and 19th church services were held. On October 20th there was a church picnic. On October 21, 2012, the Grand Celebration 100th Anniversary was held with Ruthie Wrather serving as the general chairperson. Past Pilgrim Valley's Pastor, Rev. L. T. Coley brought the morning sermon. Afterwards there was church dinner. Rev. C. D. Edwards, Pastor of St. John Baptist Church brought the afternoon sermon. Pilgrim Valley Church Family marched around and made a ceremonial offering by dropping 100 coins into a tub, representing 100 years.
Pastor William B. Fields served as Pastor (1981-2013) until he died on November 14, 2013, and the church became a widow.
TIME FRAME (2014- Present )
On September 14, 2014 the church elected Reverend Patrick H. Greene, Sr. as pastor. After a meeting with the Trustees, Pastor Greene chose November 1, 2014 as his official start date. He preached his first sermon as pastor on November 9, 2014 from the book of Joshua 1:1-2, entitled “Living Without Moses.” An installation program was held on December 14, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.
In August 2015 the mortgage was paid in full and on October 18th during the 103rd church anniversary celebration a mortgage burning ceremony was held. On August 21, 2016 after several months of serving, King James, Melvin James, David Smith, and McKinley Scott were ordained as deacons. In June 2016 the church purchased the property at the corner of Wright Avenue and Wolfe. One week later the building was demolished in order to make room for additional parking.
There have been several other projects to note as of today. A new roof has been added to the church. The sanctuary and foyer were repainted. There have been upgrades to the sound system which includes speakers throughout the entire church. A new overhead screen was added in the fellowship Hall and surveillance cameras have also been added to the security system.
Under Pastor Greene’s leadership we are continuing to grow, spiritually, numerically, and financially. Our current vision is to “Connect the people with the church in order to connect them to Christ.” This vision is carried out through celebrative and joyful worship, fostering loving relationships through fellowship, deepening our relationship with Christ through discipleship, and using our spiritual gifts through service.