Church History
In 1918, a small group of people met from house to house in the Leeds community to praise the Lord and ask for a leader. This group was called "The Prayer Band". After 6 months of meeting in individual homes the group continued to grow. With less than 20 members the Reverend Chyna (pronounced China) was called to lead them to organize a church.

The church was organized in September 1918 with Sister Chyna as acting secretary. The name "Pilgrim's Rest Missionary Baptist Church" was decided on. Several Brothers of the church became deacons. These first deacons of the church have been reported to have been Brother Jasper Hawkins, Brother J.P. Jackson, Brother Fred Lee, Brother W.L. Williams, Brother Lewis Brinkley, and Brother Halcomb. The first offering was one dollar and ten cents. 

Reverend Chyna led the members to purchase a lot at 34th Hardesty. Here the first church was erected. The one-story, one room frame structure was built at a cost of $1,600. It was a great day of worship and fellowship when the members and friends of other churches gathered for the first service in the new church. Dinner was served and they all gave thanks to God.


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Under the leadership of Reverend J.C. Chyna the membership multiplied and organizations were formed. These organizations were the Women's Missionary Union, The Men's Bible Class, the Mother's Board, the Cradle Roll, and the choir. To these organizations the office of secretary and treasurer were added. To the Sunday school, a superintendent was added. Two sons of the church were called to the ministry: Rev. D.W. Lewis and Rev. C. Gipson.

Rev. J.C. Chyna, the first pastor of the church resigned after 18 years of service. Rev. C.L. Rice was the church's second pastor. Re. C.G. Wilson served as pastor number three for 18 months. He was succeeded by Rev. G.J. Gipson who served for 2 years.

In 1941, Rev. Harley Akers who was then studying at Western Baptist Seminary was called to the pastorate. Rev. Akers served 2 years, adding many new members to the congregation and effecting the complete remodeling and extension of the frame building.

After the resignation of Rev. Akers in October 1942, an invitation was extended to Rev. Frederick D. Robinson of Tucson, Arizona and his wife, the former Miss Mabel Harvey of Kansas City, Kansas. Rev. F.D. Robinson and his wife came highly recommended by the pastor and members of Calvary Baptist Church, Tucson, of which they were active members. In 1943, Rev. F.D. Robinson became the 6th pastor of the Pilgrim's Rest Baptist Church. In 1949, the spirit of God led Rev. Robinson to erect a larger church. Rev. Robinson presented to the congregation a five-year building plan which he explained would result in a stone edifice. The members voted and agreed to follow his leadership to rebuild for more space on the same location, 3350 Hardesty. Also better facilities were needed.

In 1944, a $1,500.00 extension was added to the church. In 1945, the 35 foot lot adjoining the church was purchased. Rev. Fletcher and his brother gave a portion of their lot to provide more sufficient ground. A parsonage and an electric organ were purchased with the later being installed in 1947 at a cost of $1,500.00. The church bought a new bus in 1948. A modern and fully equipped kitchen was added to the church in 1950 and a new gas furnace was purchased. Meanwhile repairs and improvements were made on the parsonage.

For a year and four months the women of the church, led by Mrs. Robinson, worked daily preparing and serving box lunches to the construction crew working on Veterans Hospital.

Sunday, June 1, 1952, ground breaking ceremonies were held and marked the beginning of a long hard struggle. The contractor for the new building was Rev. C. Smith, pastor of the Hew Hope Baptist Church and masonry instructor at R.T. Cole's Vocational High Scholl, J.J. Lindsay was the architect.

During the construction period of the new building, the church was granted the free of charge,  the use of the old Green Grove Baptist Church building---the place of origin of the Pilgrim's Rest Baptist Church. Rev. P. Allen, Moderator of the Union Baptist District Association, so graciously granted the use of building. Construction was completed in October1953. On Sunday, August 2, 1949, a mortgage burning and dedication service was held.

Under the pastorate of Rev. F. D Robinson, God blessed the church with nine sons of the church who were called to the ministry: Rev. James A. Smith, Rev. Edward L.   Brown, Rev. Kenneth Ray, Rev. Joseph Page, Rev. Enoch Mosley, Rev. Leroy Ford, Rev. Wilbert J. Foster, Rev. Floyd Webb and Rev. William Gaines.

After 32 years of dedicated service to the church, on June 12, 1975, the Lord called Rev. Frederick D. Robinson home. With the death of Rev. F.D. Robinson the church closed a chapter on 32 years of long and faithful service.

Rev. Wesley Townsend served as pastor from June 1976 - 1979. Rev. Edward L. Brown served as pastor from 1979 - 1983. Rev. George Debose served as pastor from May 1983 - January 1987.  God blessed the church with one son of the church who was called to the ministry:  Rev. Edwin C. Hill.

Rev. Robert Davenport became the 10th pastor of the church on November 1, 1987. Under his pastorate, the church purchased 2 lots to the north of the church. He served as pastor for 18 years and resigned in February 2005.

On August 14, 2005 Rev. Tommy Williams became the pastor of the Pilgrim's Rest Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership, a van was purchased for the church. We then began remodeling by having the pews upholstered and with the assistance of Rev. Kenneth Ray, new choir chairs were purchased. 

On October 2, 2007, the church was victimized by an arson fire that destroyed everything. With God on our side, and under Pastor Williams' leadership and by him having construction skills and ability, the church was completely restored with everything new. There were many upgrades and additions including 2 bathrooms added on the upper levels of the church, a new pastor's study, and a new finance room. New furnaces were installed and new wiring and plumbing were done. Everything was completed by February 2008. In March 2008 the church purchased the house across from the church at 3341 Hardesty to rebuild and use for a Youth Outreach Center. 

Tommy Williams is currently serving as Pastor of Pilgrim's Rest Missionary Baptist Church.  In March 2010, one son of the church was called to the ministry:  Rev. Anthony Harden. In May 2012, one son of the church was called to the ministry: Rev, Charles Love JR. III. In December 2012, one daughter was called to the ministry: Rev. Angela L. Williams.
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