Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church was founded in 1893, when a group of devout Christians purchased an acre of land in order to establish a place to worship. Brothers Sam Capp and William Taylor served as spokesmen for the group that eventually constructed a small wooden frame building at the site of the present church.
The first pastor was Rev. Harding Jackson, who served until his death in 1910. Rev. Pete Netter led the congregation until 1914 when Rev. J. M. Thomas assumed the pastorate. Rev. R. W. Ball became the fourth pastor in 1920.
The church was remodeled in 1924. It burned in December of 1926, and was rebuilt in 1927. A new church was constructed in 1951 under the leadership of Rev. Ball. After becoming sick, Rev. Ball was unable to serve and the assistant pastor, Rev. Eddie M. White, became the fifth pastor of Mount Pilgrim.
Rev. White had a concern for young people and focused on programs that promoted spiritual growth and physical well-being. As the church membership and ministry grew, a new sanctuary, an educational center, a kitchen/fellowship hall, and a Pastor's Study were added. Rev. White passed away in 1974. Rev. Joseph Richard was appointed as pastor.
Rev. Richard served until 1979, when Rev. C. J. Hickman was called to serve as interim pastor for approximately 14 months. Rev. Frederick Powell then served as pastor from 1980 to 1982. Upon his resignation, Rev. C. J. Hickman served as interim pastor once again until the time when our current pastor, Rev. Jesse B. Bilberry, Jr., was elected by the congregation on January 16, 1984 to become the eighth pastor. He was both ordained to preach and installed by the Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association as pastor of Mount Pilgrim on February 19, 1984.
Thus Far By Faith is an enlightening account of the history of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church. Arthenia Milican states, "Ruby Ennis is able to enliven the chronological structure of this centennial publication by recording, analyzing, correlating, and explaining information garnered from oral and written accounts about a journey of faith. This journey began, and continues to move, with a sense of the whole spectrum of this life and the life beyond." Church History Chairperson Mildred Stevenson is emphatic in her love for the historical truths of Thus Far By Faith. "It gives an accurate account of the things that happened in the development of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church. We had meager beginnings but, by faith, the Lord has blessed us to grow and develop into the church that we are today." With the assistance of Dorothy Davis, Barbara Morgan, Marva Spears, and the late Malvia Albert, Ennis is able to capture the spirit of the pioneer members of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church through personal interviews and the sharing of history-making events throughout the first 100 years. The persons who helped research information for Thus Far By Faith were the late brother Tom Eames, sisters Helen Carter, Angela Copeland, Dedra Stevenson, and the late sister Myrtle Hickman. Thus Far By Faith is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the African American church. -- Annette L. Yancy, Sisterhood President 2005