WHERE THE DREAM BEGAN – The Pilgrim Baptist Church
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. -- Psalm 127:1(KJV)
Pilgrim Baptist Church is a church of history and mission. The officers and members bought a lot in Linden (Lyttonsville), Maryland, in 1892. A portion of the lot was used as a cemetery for its members. The first building the church was housed in was a yellow building. It had two windows and two doors. Chairs and benches surrounded the large wooden stove in the middle of the room, and the pulpit was at the front of the church. The church had a steeple that housed a bell. The bell was used to signal its members that church was beginning, and in 1898 alerted children that school was about to begin after the Montgomery County School Board paid the church $20,000 for its use as a school.
Pilgrim Baptist Church was established as a local church and founded on the Word of God. It was organized in 1888 at Capital View, Maryland by Walter H. Brooks of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. The first pastor was Reverend Maybell Madison. The members worshipped in a house until 1890 and then moved to Forest Glen, Maryland where Reverend Henry Norman was then called to pastor the church.
In 1901 Reverend John H. Johnson was called and served until 1926; under his pastorship the church made rapid progress and in 1914 he and the members decided to build a larger edifice to replace the original building which was being used as a public school - The Linden Colored School. During the Depression years, Reverend Peter Jackson (1927-1933) and Reverend C.R. Butler (1933-1936) led the flock at Pilgrim. In 1936 Reverend Peter Jackson returned to Pilgrim and added four new ministries to the church. A Bible Study and Wednesday Evening Prayer Service were organized along with the addition of two rooms at the rear of the church building. Reverend Peter Jackson served as pastor until he passed away in 1956. The Reverend James Cromartie then became pastor. The church grew rapidly under Reverend Cromarties' administration with new members and two assistant pastors, Reverend George Henry and Reverend Delaware Helms. Reverend Cromartie served until he passed away in February 1965.
Reverend Delaware Helms then served as pastor for the next two years, followed by Reverend Donald Caldwell for one year. Reverend Alvin Parris became pastor in 1969. During Reverend Parris' administration, a long needed baptismal pool was planned and installed. Upon the resignation of Reverend Parris in August of 1970, Reverend Larney King became acting pastor and in 1971 pastor. Reverend King organized and reorganized many church auxiliaries. Most importantly, under Reverend King the Pilgrim Baptist Church adopted a Constitution and By-Laws. Reverend King worked actively with the Montgomery County Government and, by the grace of God, worked out a profitable arrangement for the rebuilding of the edifice.
In 1989, Reverend Chester L. Burke became the full-time pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church. Building upon the rich legacy of the past, Pilgrim's membership grew and the Christian Education Department was organized in an effort to fulfill God's mandate to the church. The 8:00 am Sunday and the 12:00 pm Wednesday services were put in place to further meet the spiritual needs of the growing congregation and community. In the spring of 1992 Pilgrim began formal training in Evangelism. In 1997, Reverend Burke introduced the second phase of the Evangelism curriculum - a discipleship course entitled, “The Pursuit of Holiness" and in January of 1998, a course entitled "Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts." Reverend Burke resigned on April 13, 2007. After the resignation of Pastor Burke, the Deacon Board held the church on a forward steady course. The strength of the Deacon Board was held together through the strong faith in God working through these men: Deacon Edwin Pratt Sr. Chairman; Deacon Christopher Hammond, Vice-Chairman; Deacon Ellsworth Freeman, Secretary; Deacon William Jackson, Treasurer; Deacon William Hammond and Deacon Joe Taylor. During this time the Deacon Board brought to the church the need for a Spiritual Advisor, Rev., Edith Parrish, first daughter of Pilgrim Baptist Church was asked to serve as Interim Pastor until a new pastor could be found.
On April 27, 2009 Rev. Dr. Charles E. Jackson, Jr. was called to be the new Pastor of the Pilgrim Baptist Church. On June 7, 2009, during Pilgrim's Men's Day weekend, we welcomed our new pastor. Rev. Jackson came with the vision of taking the church from today to the tomorrows by building on the rich legacy of the history of The Pilgrim Baptist Church. The mission focus being on Birthing Christians to make Disciples to Save Souls! In 2010 Pastor Jackson re-initiated the Noon Day Bible and Prayer Study, the SHARE Ministry and the Pastor's Aid Ministry. The church's audio visual system is being re-installed and replaced to provide the members with Class A DVD keepsakes of the services. With a focus upon the recognition of the power of God, Pilgrim Baptist Church, from its cradle to the present day, will continue to retool to meet the challenges for building Godly people, a strong community, and a spiritual church.