The Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was organized by the grace of God and under the leadership of Reverend Joshua Webster Green and by the grace of the Almighty God. At that time we had service in the lower level of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. However, in August 1965 we entered into our own building at 562 Clinton Ave. This was made a reality by the dedicated and committed members of Mount Pleasant who raised $4000.00 in three months along with a loan from Pastor Green and Sis. Nellie Hill. However, on Sunday, September 25, 1966, we moved into the building that we worship in today, known as the “Mountain of Pleasantness”. Together, let us take a few minutes to reflect on some of the key dates and events that mark a milestone for our church.
On December 28, 1965, our church building was partially destroyed by fire. We had to worship three Sundays in the American Rescue Mission. On January 23, 1966, we returned to the basement of our church..
On January 22, 1966, Reverend Green called a special meeting to tell the members about a certain property he had looked at in the interest of the Church. After much discussion, we voted to purchase the property and authorized the Pastor and Trustees to proceed with the arrangements. On Sunday, September 25, 1966 with police escort and the band from ST. John’s Church of God in Christ, we marched into the building we are now worshipping in, 441 Washington Ave., Albany NY.
In January of 1968, Our organizer and Pastor, Reverend Green, submitted his resignation. Though we accepted his decision, we were sad to see him go. For ten months, we were without a shepherd. During this time, our loyal and faithful trustees handled the financial part of the church. Our then Church Mother, Sis. Lena Clark would remind us over and over that we should “Thank God for Jesus.” You see, she was not just the Church Mother in name but also Mother, indeed to everyone. In December of the same year, Reverend Lawrence W. George was called as our Pastor. He was installed in March 1969. We were proud to have our new Pastor, his lovely wife and two sons, Steven and Lawrence, Jr., join our Church Family. His theme for Mount Pleasant was “The Church with God’s Spirit”. Reverend George remained with us for 18 months and then saw fit to move on. Once again, Mount Pleasant was without a leader.
On December 27, 1970 after much prayer, God sent us a leader in the person of Reverend Edward-Earl Johnson. He was installed on Palm Sunday April 4, 1971. Mount Pleasant was his first church as a Pastor. He was a blessing in disguise. He reorganized the auxiliaries that had ceased working and added new ones. He also had the following men ordained as deacons: Deacon Branch Clark, Deacon James Dixon, Deacon James Edmondson and Deacon CLarence Lovelace their wives joined them in the Ordination Service.
Under his leadership, we burned our mortgage, three years ahead of schedule. Reverend Johnson stayed with us for seven years. He was called back to his former church where he previously served as Youth Minister.
Yet again without a Pastor, the officers carried on. Deacon Clarence Lovelace then Chairman of the Deacon Board invited several ministers to come and preach for us. After listening to several ministers, a Church Meeting was called. The membership asked Reverend William Roland to serve as Supply Pastor for ninety days and the rest is history. We asked for ninety days –he stayed for twenty years. He was a Community Pastor, receiving many awards for his community service. Under his leadership, Pastor Roland taught that it was our duty to openly worship and praise God for all the good things that he was doing for us. For God’s faithfulness and watchful eye He kept on us. Pastor tried to make this building a comfortable place to worship. Because of Reverend Roland’s strong faith in God and his love for his people, he was able to lead us in the right direction for twenty years. The church van and kitchen renovation was paid in full. During the last year of Reverend Roland’s reign as Pastor, we went through many changes. As the year went on, Reverend Roland recognized his health was failing and authorized the Deacon Board to be responsible for Worship Service--. Deacon Louis Williams Jr. , who gave us his best leadership, led the Deacon Board as chairman at that time. After twenty years of anointed service as our Pastor, Reverend Roland, only because of his failing health resigned as our Pastor. To show our love and appreciation for his service, the Deacon Board and the Church Members gave a banquet in his honor at the former Omni Hotel in downtown Albany. We sent an open invitation to the Community –at-Large to share with us in this recognition. Sis. Elnora French, Church Clerk and Historian, served as the Chairperson for this event. Approximately 300 people attended the Banquet, leaving some people to be turned away at the door. On April 20, 1997, during our morning Worship, the membership voted to give the title of “Pastor Emeritus” to Pastor Roland.
In, April of 1997, Deacon Elvin Baines became our Chairman of the Deacons Ministry and he and our Deacons worked together keeping our Church Family focused and well directed in the path which God set forth. Bro. Andrew Adams became our Chairman of the Trustees Ministry. The officers of the Church and the Membership were now in search of a new shepherd to lead us on to higher heights. As we searched, God continued to bless us under the leadership of the Chairman of the Deacons Ministry, Deacon Baines.
The search for our fifth Pastor came to a halt on Sunday, November 22, 1998. Reverend William Edward Morgan accepted our call. He came with his wife at his side, Reverend Shirley A. Morgan. He immediately introduced us to the meaning of true membership; being a Disciple for Jesus Christ.
Pastor Morgan has taught us through Christian Education that studying and meditating on God’s Word is more important than secular education in that the knowledge of God’s Word is sure to bring about obedience in following His word.
He has implemented the following Bible Study classes: Six-week New Disciples Class (assuring that new members learn basic knowledge of God’s Word), Bible study (with homework) held on Thursday evenings, Bible Institute that introduces classes with Bible based topics taught by Certified teachers that have taken Pastor’s “Teacher’s in Training Class”.
In addition, we now have a Restoration class that not only re-introduces God’s Word but also serves as a resource to encourage our returning members, taught by our Leading Lady, Reverend Shirley A. Morgan.
We have purchased a parsonage, which we paid off in two and a half years instead of fifteen, purchased a new van (paid cash for it) and a new organ. Under this anointed Pastor’s leadership and his teaching we are now striving to move from “Discipleship to His Lordship” and under His Lordship operate under a Kingdom agenda. Pastor Morgan is a leader with a vision from our Lord.
Through God’s anointing of this preacher/teacher, we have witnessed an increase in ministry and membership at Mount Pleasant. . We average 250-300 in attendance each Sunday for Divine Worship. Pastor during his tenure has licensed and ordained three ministers and six deacons, consecrated three Deaconesses and set aside four Junior Deacons and three Junior Deaconesses, appointed five Mothers of the Church.
Mount Pleasant has never been without efficient and faithful officers. They have been good Stewarts over the finances of the church. They always made sure that things were done decently and in order.
We will never forget the members who have gone on before us, who gave their all, financially, physically and spiritually. They were truly our Guiding Lights. May they forever rest in peace for the sacrifices they made.
In closing, there are so many things that we can praise God for and looking back over the years, you just cannot tell it all. Time has moved on Mount Pleasant and we are still here; God has kept us and just seems to keep on blessing us!Let us pause to give God all of the praise and honor for 50 Glorious years. It has truly been a “Faith Walk” journey. To God Be The Glory!