Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church to host mortgage burning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The congregation at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church has something special to rejoice as we gather to celebrate the burning of our mortgage during Sunday worship 11 a.m. March 26. On this day, we will go forth in high praise and worship of God’s grace and the fulfillment of the vision of the Rev. Melvin L. White, pastor of the church.

When we look back over the life of Pilgrim, we know that this is the day that the Lord predestined, when the spirit of the Lord moved upon the hearts of the founders to act with passion and a labor of love so that the word of the Lord could go forth and impact the lives of many across the Miss-Lou area.

The history of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church is a rich and glorious story that began more than 100 years ago. The original records were destroyed by fire, but that does not hinder our story from being told through the eyes and ears of the older generations, who in turn, learned the story told to them by their fore-parents.

Email newsletter signup

Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church got its beginning on the Giles Place, a plantation that ran along the banks of the Mississippi River. It was in this setting that a few of the settlers felt the need to fellowship. They just wanted to sing Zion songs, read the Bible as best they could and offer up prayers giving thanks to God for all the blessings He had bestowed upon them.

First, they met from house to house coming together after a day’s work, then on Sundays, they would meet on the Mississippi River banks under the willow and cottonwood trees to hold their church services under the leadership of the Rev. Swan.

The plantation owner, Mr. Giles, saw something in this group of believers and gave them a plot of land on which they could build themselves a church. He helped them to build so that they would have shelter from the weather. Through many prayers, hard work and determination, they built a church on Cemetery Road.

As time passed, the Rev. Willie Green became pastor of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church and served for more than 30 years until his health began to fail. The torch was passed to the Rev. Melvin Lee White who preached his first sermon in 1997 and became pastor of the church in 1999. The little church that began on Giles Island, moved Under-the-Hill then to the top of the hill to 98 Cemetery Road is now located at 117 Pilgrim Boulevard, formerly Old Wilson Road.

The present congregation moved into the new facility 11 years ago because of the vision of the Rev. White. Under his leadership, the church has grown numerically and spiritually. It has launched more than 20 ministries, a strong Sunday Church School, an energized youth ministry and active involvement in community outreach.

To God be the glory. With heartfelt thanks to all who contributed in both prayers and finance, we are able to hold our mortgage burning service and celebrate that this humble Christian edifice is paid for. The Rev. White says, “It takes a lot of generous donations and a dedicated membership to pay off a 25-year mortgage in 11 years.” We know that this church does not belong to us, it belongs to Christ, and may by His grace, we continue to responsibly be entrusted in its care.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, March 26, we will hold our mortgage burning service and we invite the community to come join us for this momentous occasion. It is a grateful and exciting time in the life of our church because it represents a time of completeness and a fulfilling of God’s promise that His “grace is sufficient to meet all of our needs.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) “God has smiled on this church family and blessed us exceedingly and abundantly,” the Rev. White says.
Lee Pearl Batieste  is the director of Christian education at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.