The Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church was organized in September 1935 by the late Rev. S. G. Gooden Sr. Our church, unlike other edifices, was not organized in a dwelling, but under a tree of the late Mother Callie Murray’s home at 2310 Routh Street. Pastor Gooden always depended on God and acted according to the direction of the Holy Spirit. He rented a three-room house on Caddo Alley, where services were confined to the front room with an apple box for a pulpit and lanterns for light. As our membership grew, partitions were removed to make room for those who came to worship with us.
In September 1947, the first brick building was erected at 2525 Caddo. On March 1, 1958, the Lord called Rev. Gooden home, and we were faced with making decisions without his guidance. However, recalling his last message to us, "Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled" (St. John 14:1), we, like the disciples when Christ went home, were able to continue steadfast in prayer, and on one accord until the Lord sent us another Shepherd.
On July 14, 1958, Rev G. B. Prince, Jr. was called to the pastorate of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. After his calling, Pastor Prince immediately began working toward the clearing of all debts. He began teaching tithing, increased man-power, organized several auxiliaries, expanded our church by remodeling our sanctuary, and erected a two-story educational building.
On April 9, 1983 we concluded an exchange of our Caddo Street property with Southland Corporation for property at Washington and Munger Avenue. A groundbreaking service for our new church was held on August 14, 1983. We entered our new church home on November 10, 1985, 7:30 a.m. and our vision, hopes and dreams had been accomplished.
After 31 years of faithful service to this church, like the mighty Oak, his work was finished. Pastor Prince went home to be with his Master to enjoy Him eternally.
Following a nine month period without a Pastor, the Pilgrim Rest family called Rev. Curtis W. Wallace, as the Pastor on January 10, 1990. Rev. Wallace became the third Pastor of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in her proud 55-year history. We considered this man of God to be the Joshua that would lead us to higher heights in Kingdom building. Under Pastor Wallace's leadership, our membership has grown considerably. Countless ministries have been added and we continue to enhance the Kingdom of God. Pastor Wallace teaches the church members before sending them into the community to bring others to Christ. He stresses that the work of the church is to be seen differently from church work.
Outreach and Evangelism ministries such as The Prison Ministry, Soul Winners Action Team (S.W.A.T.), the Crisis Ministry, Boys to Men male mentoring program and the Adopt-A-School Program became part of Pastor Wallace’s vision of reclaiming the neighborhood and community. Mending the spirits of those who are lost and broken-hearted also became part of Pastor’s emphasis for the church.
Due to planting seed in fertile ground and watering under Pastor Wallace’s leadership, God has truly given us increase. Through this church family, more than 4,500 souls have been added to the Kingdom of God.
We look back in order to learn from our mistakes; we also look back to be encouraged by what God has done for us. However, we cannot rest upon what has already been done; we must continue to press toward the mark of the higher calling, which is in Christ Jesus, realizing there are fresh endeavors, greater accomplishments, and new victories that must be won.