Our History


Jerusalem was originally organized as Jerusalem Primative Baptist Church on April 1, 1941, in the home of Dea. and Sis. W.A. Dickerson, at 230 Bloomsbury St. There were 5 members in the establishment of Jerusalem; Dea. and Mother Dickerson, Mrs Austin, Bro. Bedford Dickerson who acted as Secretary of the group and Rev. W. M. English, whom we call Pastor. Services were held at the above address for 9 months and then we moved to 100 Union St. Early in 1942 we moved to Warren St and worshipped there until August 9th, 1942, when the Lord called our Pastor, Rev. English from labor to reward. Being without a pastor for three months, we invited different ministers to come and preach. Amongst those who served was the Rev Wilson, whom we also called Pastor. He served until 1943 and left without notice. The membership had grown to 19. Because of the death of the former Pastor and Rev. Wilson’s unannounced leave, the members became disheartened and began to leave the church as well. Dea. Dickerson, trusting in God, told them that God would not be pleased if they let Jerusalem go down, and as long as he lived there would be a JERUSALEM PRIMATIVE BAPTIST CHURCH. Rev. E. D. Mc Grue and Rev. G. E. Ford of Philadelphia stuck by Jerusalem. Dea. Dickerson kept toiling with the church. In late 1943, Rev. Amos of 226 Clinton Ave allowed the members of Jerusalem to fellowship with them. Rev J. B. Singleton was called to Pastor. Under his leadership, the church began to grow and the members began to take on new life. In May 1944 the premises at 63-65 Mulberry St were purchased for $2500 dollars with the down payment of $1000 and balance due of $1500. Upon worshipping in the front of one building, the congregation began to grow by leaps and bounds; therefore it required the walls between the 2 buildings to be torn down. At this time many members felt that the name “PRIMATIVE” was hindering the church’s growth. The congregation met and decided to change the name from JERUSALEM PRIMATIVE BAPTIST CHURCH to JERUSALEM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH. The name was officially changed at a meeting that was held on Tuesday, December 30, 1952. Rev. J. B. Singleton, John A. Gaines, C. T. Granville, Paul James and John J. Holloway  were elected as building Trustees. In a very short time, the 2 buildings filled up and we were in need for more room. The Pastor, Deacons and Trustees decided that the remaining wall must come down to provide additional space. On the night of Hurricane Hazel, the group assembled and used candles, due to the power outage resulting from the storm. The worked until the walls came down and again we were spreading our wings. On Nov 1, 1957 the trustees were empowered by the congregation to enter into a contract to repair and remodel our church.  Rev. J. B. Singleton passed away suddenly on Aug 23, 1960. In Jan. 1961, Rev E. L. Foster was called to be our pastor. Under his leadership we continued to take on new life. In April 1970, we purchased our present church. On Sept . 1, 1973 , Rev Foster resigned as pastor. In 1974, the building at 148 N. Clinton Ave. was purchased an demolished in order to enhance the appearance of our church. On Dec 6, 1974, Rev Lucius Phillips was called as our pastor. Many members joined under his leadership. In July 1980 Rev Phillips resigned. In Dec. 1980, Rev Riley Forest was called as our pastor and resigned in July 1982.

In July 1983, Rev. Dr. T. L. Steele of Portsmouth, Va. was called as our pastor. Under his leadership the church continued to grow. Jerusalem Baptist Church has experienced much spiritual growth under the leadership of our pastor, Rev. Dr. T.L. Steele, who has lead the congregation for 29yrs.  Pastor Steele firmly believes in spreading the “Word” to all for the bible clearly states. “Feed My Sheep.” Through the grace of God, both pastor and people have indeed done much to glorify the name of God. Truely, “As the praises go up, the blessings come down.”

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