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HISTORICAL SKETCH OF NEW JERUSALEM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
“SERVING THE LORD SINCE 1885”
Over one hundred and twenty years ago, the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church was organized through sweat and tears, in the city of Greenville, Texas (Hunt County), by Pastor L. Blake. The church was organized in the residence of Sister Emmer McLemore. (Sister Raymond Miles’ grandmother) in the east part of Greenville on Bois D’Arc Street. The church had eighteen members and one deacon in which Bro. A. Miles and Bro. Simon Smith were the current officers. New Jerusalem remained at this location for six months before relocating to a different area. [At that time] The church moved to the Gulf Refining site under the leadership of Pastor Blake [and remained there] for six years.
After the resignation of Pastor Blake, Pastor W.H. Robertson served for one year. Pastor L. Blake returned as Pastor for a second term. Under this leadership, Bro. Jimmie Edwards, Bro. Henry Edmondson and Bro. J. H. Robertson were ordained as deacons. After the passing of Pastor Blake, Pastor J.L Perrine was elected as Pastor and Bro. J.H Holman was ordained as a deacon under his pastorate.
After a period of time, P.F. Johnson served as the Pastor for nearly a year and a half and succeeding him was Pastor L.H Harvey who served as Pastor for two years. After his tenure, M. B. Bilbrew became the Pastor, he served nine years and successful work was accomplished under his pastorate. Bro. Saul Garrett was ordained as a deacon and served actively in services despite hard times. Plans were made to purchase ground and build a church located where the “new ice company”was located; Sis. M.H. Holman served as the recording secretary at this time. After the resignation of Pastor Bilbrew, Pastor Daily served for one year.
Succeeding Pastor Daily, Pastor G.W. Hamilton served for nearly a year. After him came Pastor E.E. Strong, who served for three years. Under his pastorate, plans were made to move the church to its current site. Pastor Foster of Marshall, TX preached the initial sermon in the new church. Next Pastor W. T. Prior served for one year, Pastor Fagan served eighteen months, Pastor W. T. Bartle served and then Pastor C. M Watson, Minister D.T. Tramble and Pastor P. W. Wiley.
Pastor Wiley served for 18 months and under his pastorate twenty-
In 1951 Pastor Lonnie E. Morris served as Pastor and under his pastorate the present church was built, a church bus and organ were purchased, and the parking lot was added. Pastor Morris’ tenure ended in the spring of 1977 and at that time Pastor James Smith served as Pastor and most of the church’s debt was paid off. The church gained forty two new members before his tenure expired in the summer of 1979.
In December 1979, Pastor Simms Drummond served as Pastor until April 25, 1981. Under Drummond’s leadership the note burning took placed, the parking lot was repaved, the lighted church signage was installed and the Pastor’s family room was furnished. In September 1981, Pastor Alvin Turner served and thirty-
Pastor Johnny Mitchell served as Pastor from January 1987 to September 1991. Sister Vivian Hughlean Williams served as church clerk and that position was transitioned to the current church clerk Sis. Alfreda Linson. Pastor Harold Jones was installed as Pastor on August 9, 1992 and under his leadership the church adopted a motto, “If you do it the Bible way, you will get Bible results.” Also, the church sanctuary and dining area were renovated, with ceiling fans, a glass enclosure, and upstairs better known as “The Upper Room” was completely remodeled. A group of men from Ridgecrest Baptist Church and the men of New Jerusalem collectively built a storage shed for New Jerusalem.
After Pastor Jones’ resignation on February 23, 1997 New Jerusalem remained steadfast and prayerful under the direction of the brotherhood: Byron Aimes, Marvin Sedberry, Wilbur Willis, J.C Rogers, Deacon Napoleon Wright and others. Monthly and weekly projects were still being successfully completed, such as new concrete porches with handrails on the north and south sides of the building, gutters, a new roof on the patio and a concrete slab for the BBQ smoker.
October 12, 1997 Pastor Robert Snowton was elected as Pastor and began his service as the new Pastor on November 2, 1997. Several members were added and baptized under his leadership. A van port was assembled and siding was installed on the outside of the church. After his resignation, Pastor David Henderson, the Northwester District Moderator assisted New Jerusalem in filling the pulpit until Pastor Kerry Duffey, Sr. was installed on October 7, 2001. Under his leadership the church grew. New Jerusalem teamed with citizens of Greenville to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Freeman Jones and J.C. Rogers were ordained as deacons. April 23, 2006 Byron Aimes, Rickey Gibbs, Cornell Blakely and James Robinson were ordained as deacons. With the financial support from membership, Deacon James Robinson remodeled and completed the window renovation project.
After a ten and half year tenure, Pastor Duffey resigned. Pastor Terrance Ray Johnson was elected as Pastor in November 2012 and relinquished the pulpit in October 2013. New Jerusalem continued in fervent prayer for God to send us a Pastor to serve. On May 19, 2014 Pastor Eric Anthony Brown was elected to serve as Pastor. He preached his first sermon as our new Pastor on May 25, 2014 and installed September 7, 2014. Under his leadership the membership has grown exponentially and others have come back to reconnect with the church. A praise team has been formed, the signage has been renovated to include the Pastor’s name, the church has a gained social media presence and a website.
Under Pastor Brown’s leadership God blessed us to relocate to our new location at 808 Wright Street in Greenville on March 3, 2019 (see image below). This location has three structures that total over 17,000 square feet as well as ample parking spaces, plenty of outdoor lawn area in addition to acreage for growth. This campus includes a spacious sanctuary, nine classrooms / meeting spaces, nursery accomonidations (with adjoining restroom), nine administrative and executive offices, and two conference rooms. The fellowship / reception hall, which is located in a separate structure on the same campus can easily host a variety of functions and contains a fully equipped commercial kitchen.
God has been good to New Jerusalem, we are continuing in unity to be change agents to connect church, community, and cultures. We build Kingdom people, for Kingdom purpose, through Kingdom principles. To God be the glory, for the things God has done.