St. Paul Baptist Church, 1404 S. Georgia St., celebrated its 150th anniversary Dec. 7-8. The pastor is the Rev. Steven E. King.
“Our Christian experience began prior to the Civil War, when all local Baptists, both black and white, belonged to the same church,” according to a news release.
In 1866, the black members of the congregation organized what is now First Missionary Baptist Church. In 1869, part of that membership organized Woodstock Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. George Robinson, a freedman.
“That congregation ultimately changed the name to what is now St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, which became the second black Baptist church in Pine Bluff,” according to the release.
St. Paul’s spiritual leadership included 13 pastors: the Rev. George Robinson, Rev. E.C. Morris, Rev. S.A. Mosley, Rev. J.C. Rogers, Rev. C.J Hardy, Rev. R. W. Patterson, Rev. John W. Clark, Rev. A. Edward Davis, Rev. Robert Dickerson, Rev. Nile E. Smith, Rev. Isaiah Easter, Rev. Jeffrey C. Franklin, and Rev. Steven E. King.
“Under these leaders, St. Paul has been blessed to enjoy dedicated Christian members, impactful community service, financial security, and a beautiful architecturally significant Gothic style sanctuary,” according to the release.
The members held a formal church banquet at the Corretta Scott King banquet hall Dec. 7, in celebration of the 150th anniversary. The host and hostess were the pastor and wife, the Rev. and Mrs. Steven King.
“Numerous members, friends, and church supporters enjoyed a wonderful meal, special entertainment provided by Michelle Johnson and Damen Tolbert, and spiritual fellowship,” according to the release.
At 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, service featured the Rev. Pierce L. Moore, of First Baptist Church – Cordell at El Dorado, who presented an inspirational message. In attendance were members and pastors of many churches, including one former St. Paul pastor, the Rev. Jeffrey Franklin and his wife, and members of his church from Camden.
Jacquelyn McCray served as the chairwoman of a steering committee that organized all events. On that committee were Rev. King, Sandra Wells, Pearl Harris, Carolyn Blakely, Linda James, Tumiga Livingston, Bessie Kohn, Talvin Collins, Katryne Horton, Betty Morgan, Donald Sampson, and Madeline Hughes, who served as mistress of ceremonies for the afternoon service.
“St. Paul has been fruitful also by giving birth to the following local churches: Eighth Avenue Baptist Church, organized by Rev. J.C. Rogers in 1869; Grace Temple Baptist Church, organized by Dr. S A. Mosley in 1907; Mt. Harmony Baptist Church, organized by Dr. J F. Clark in 1954; Grace Evangelical Church, organized by Rev. Richard Bullard in 1985; and New Fellowship Baptist Church, organized by Rev. Thirland McKissic in 2009,” according to the release.
“St. Paul is grateful to our Heavenly Father for what He has allowed the leaders and congregation of this church to accomplish during these 150 years,” according to the release.