Churches have often been described using the symbolism of a large family. Many congregations tend to grow over the years and see their offspring depart to start building families of their own. Or, as this metaphor might suggest, leaving their home churches to form new congregations in other places.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, located on the Heritage Highway near Brazito, represents one such church family. It came into being through the efforts of a dedicated missionary pastor, a small group of faithful Christians, and the help of a well-established church in the area.
“On October 22, 1881, the (Baptist) brethren Wilson Allee, EW Lumpkin, and RA Stark met with a number of the people of God at the Pleasant Hill School House for the purpose of incorporating them into a church,” noted the ” Constitution, Bylaws and Historical Sketch of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church” printed in 1977.
The remains of the Pleasant Hill School House, which was sold in 1952, remain on State Road D. During one of the follow-up meetings held at the school, plans for a church building came to fruition and a congregation sprang up under Cole’s leadership. Spring Baptist Church near Russellville.
“My mother, who is over 90, attended Pleasant Hill School as a child and pointed out its location many times,” said Kim Smith, a Baptist pastor who served as a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. for more time. more than three decades.
“By motion and second they have agreed to build a church house and…(a)…a committee has been appointed to secure a location…” the aforementioned booklet added. “The building was to be 26 feet wide and 40 feet long, and a frame building was planned with three rows of seats with two aisles and two doors…at one end.”
The first church building was erected on property donated by congregation member Jim Glover and located on the south side of the junction of Scrivner Road and State Highway D. Edward M. Lumpkin was chosen to serve as the first pastor at the new Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. .
EM Lumpkin became a well-known missionary pastor throughout Mid-Missouri and did not stay long with the fledgling church. He later ministered to churches in places such as Hickory Hill and Spring Garden, also helping to establish congregations in communities that included Corticelli and Ulman.
Two years after this first meeting in 1883, Pleasant Hill Cemetery was established on nearby Bainer Road. For many years the church maintained an association with the cemetery and assisted in its upkeep.
“I remember when I was a kid, there were several of us from the church who helped clean up the cemetery on occasion,” Kim Smith recalls.
The Sunday school was established in 1896 and the church hosted several pastors over the following years, most of whom shared their pastoral services with other congregations since worship was not held every Sunday in the early decades of the church.
“Reverend Walter Connor of Jefferson City held services at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on Sunday, December 20,” reported the Jefferson City Post-Tribune on January 3, 1930. “Reverend Connor was chosen to be pastor of this church during 1930.”
The church building was later updated with gaslights and underwent renovation. The building became a fixture in the small community of Pleasant Hill and was used to host ice cream parties and revivals. In the mid-1940s a well was drilled to supply water, and in 1948 electricity was installed.
Blessed with increased membership, discussions were held regarding the construction of a larger church. Reverend Farrie Cole Jr., a respected local pastor, led the church through many of these discussions. In 1953, Pleasant Hill began holding full-time worship services, but Cole accepted the call to serve as full-time pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church.
“In November 1955, it was decided by vote to build the church on Route 54,” the church’s history explains. “Anna Manning has graciously offered to donate part of her land for the new building.”
The wood for the new church came from lumber donated by the congregation, and they moved into their new building on December 14, 1957. Church records confirm that the old church building was sold to help repay debts associated with new construction.
A presbytery was built next to the church and consecrated in January 1964. The following year a wooden bell tower was added to the facade of the church and has since been rebuilt in man-made materials. US Highway 54 was moved in the early 1970s when it was expanded to four lanes, and the church front now faces Heritage Highway. In addition, the old church building was demolished.
“My wife and I got married in 1964 and moved to a farm in the area (from Brazito) the following year,” Mel Callahan said. “I taught Sunday school in Pleasant Hill for many years and was a part of the success of the church bus ministry.”
Callahan, who received his license to preach in Pleasant Hill, now ministers at a Baptist church in St. Elizabeth. However, he acknowledges that the Pleasant Hill congregation remains committed to the scriptures and seizes outreach opportunities in surrounding areas.
“The church is very diverse in its membership – some work in town, some live on a farm,” he said. “There are those who are financially well off and others who may be below the poverty line.”
He added, “Churches are like people in that they have unique personalities. At Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, the personality is friendly and outgoing, where you can always find someone you can talk to. log in.”
Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.