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Pilgrim Rest History

The organization of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church

    On April 4, 1943, a council of ministers from neighboring churches met for the purpose of assisting in the organization of a Missionary Baptist Church.
    The meeting was Opened with a song, "What A Friend", led by Brother Cupples. The opening prayer was led by Brother LeRoy Polk. After this Brother R. A. Holland was elected moderator. Mrs. Ima Ball was elected clerk. She read to the council the names of the following 18 charter members: Hettie White, Archie Brown, Lillian Brown, Calvin Brown, Oscar Watson, Ida Watson, Olgia Watson, Juanita Watson, Brooks Ball, Odena Ball, Everette Ball, Charlie Ray, Ethel Ray, Ima Ball, Hazel Ball, Olan Watson, Willis Ball and Preston Ball, both ordained deacons.

    The following RESOLUTION was read and accepted by the church:

    WHEREAS, it appears to us that there is a real need for a Missionary Baptist Church in this locality and after much prayer and seeking of divine guidance, and much consultation with our neighboring brethren and churches, and after the calling of a council to consider the matter, which countil has voted that there is a need for such a church, it is resolved that we do now enter into the organization of a church under the direction of the council, composed of the following members: Brother A. T. Powers, Brother LeRoy Polk, Brother T. F. Cupples, Brother W. Lovelady and Brother R. A. Holland, representing the following churches: Main Street Baptist Church, Pine Bluff; New Haven Baptist Church, Little Rock; Baseline Baptist Church, Little Rock; Mabelvale Baptist Church, Mabelvale; and Olive Hill Baptist Church, Little Rock.
    By the adoption of our church covenant, and by the adoption of the following articles of faith, by the choice of the following name, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, and by the choice such officers may now seem advisable.
    RESOLVED, second, that these resolutions by all parties hereto and be spread in full upon the minutes book of the church.
    The right hand of fellowship was extended to charter members by the council and visitors. Brother A. T. Powers preached the organizational sermon. A offering of $19.56, was given to Brother A. T. Powers, our State Missionary.
    The Members of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church met in conference April 11, 1943, for the purpose of discussing plans for the church building. Brother R. A. Holland acted as moderator. A motion was made and carried that a building committee be elected. This committee consisted of five men: Willis Ball, Preston Ball, Archie Brown and Oscar Watson. Oscar Watson was elected chairman and Mrs. Lillian Brown, treasurer.
    A suggestion was made that we elect Willis Ball, Preston Ball, Archie Brown, Charlie Ray and Oscar Watson as trustees. They were elected by the church as trustees.


    Services were conducted in an old store building in the front yard of Brother John W. Avery, until a church could be built. The present property on which the church was to be built was deeded to the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church by H. G. Avery, Sr.
    On June 29, 1943, a conference was called for the purpose of deciding on the size of building. The size was to be 26 feet wide and 40 feet long, with a vestibule added. The foundation was to be concrete. The wall was to be 10 feet high with an arched ceiling, and the building was to be painted white just as soon as it was completed.
    On the first Sunday in April, 1944, Brother Conrad Glover preached the dedication sermon, our church being built and free of debt. Cost in cash $800.00. Part of labor and saw logs was donated.
    In 1957, the church voted to build a parsonage, which was built while Brother Howard Thornton was pastor. The building is a block building with three bedrooms, bath, kitchen and living room. The parsonage cost was approximately $6,000.00, with all the labor and some of the materials donated.
    In 1961, while Brother Glenn Motley was pastor, the church voted to build a new auditorium, whick was completed free of debt in late 1963 at a cost of approximately $6,100.00 with 90 percent of labor donated. We held our first services in the new auditorium December 9, 1962. The new auditorium was dedicagted to the Lord May 26, 1963, Brother LeRoy Polk brought the dedication sermon. The first baptizing service was held in the new church April 21 1963.
    A modern Educational Building was constructed in 1971 while Brother Gene Bagwell was pastor. This was done at an approximate cost of $16,000.00 with 80 percent of the labor donated.
    In 1975 and 1976, during the ministry of Brother C. F. Edwards, the church sanctuary was remodeled and enlarged, with a P.A. system installed at a cost of approximately $14,000.00.
    In October, 1987, the church voted to remodel the educational building. This was done at a cost of $6,200.00
    On November 4, 1987, motion made, seconded and approved to establish a fund for the new kitchen to be called the Lillian Avery Memorial Kitchen. This was completed and dedicated in 1988.
    August 8, 1989, the church voted to renovate the auditorium with new carpet, cover the seats of pews and a new curtain on baptistry. This was done at a cost of $5,265.00.
    In May, 1992, an addition of porches on each side of building and brick work on front steps. This was done at a cost of $1,450.00.
    On Old Fashion Day, October 29, 2017 the church started Live Broadcasting the Sunday morning and Sunday evening church services on the World Wide Web. The following month the Sound Booth was enlarged to accomodate the additional equipment. Then in December the church voted to purchase the first Pan, Tilt, Zoom Video Camera at a cost of $2,000.