Roseland Park Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
A Church That Cares in Picayune, Mississippi

History

 

Roseland Park Baptist Church had its earliest beginnings in the summer of 1930. The early 1930’s were depression years when money was tight and transportation by car was a luxury that many residents of the new Roseland Park community could not afford. The journey to the nearest churches, First Baptist or Sycamore Baptist, was therefore long and often miserable due to the dictates of weather. This cause led many to be denied regular, meaningful worship in a church family. But as God would lead, a burden was placed on the hearts of a small group of men and women. That burden eventually became a burning desire for a local Baptist church.

 
Under God’s direction Mr. W.N. Adcox volunteered his home on Sycamore Road as the organization and meeting place for the church. There it met with the hope that growth would come quickly and force them to meet outside under the trees in the yard.
  
That hope quickly came to fruit. They outgrew the house and began a search for a suitable weatherproof meeting place. They soon found such a building in their immediate area. Located at the intersection of Highways 11 and 43 on or about the present location of Mickey’s Quick Stop was an old dance hall. It was just right. Prayer was lifted and because of the gracious consent of its owners the use of the building was given on Sundays at no charge.
  
It was here that the church was first duly organized in 1933. According to existing records and recounts by those who were present, there were twenty-four original members.
  
The names of the original members are as follows: Mr. & Mrs. W.N. Adcox, Mr. Hulon Adcox, Mrs. Alice Brown, Mr. & Mrs. Coa C. Evans, Mr. & Mrs. Wesley Gilkey, Mr. & Mrs. Jack Jones, Mr. Brookler Mitchell, Mrs. Fred Mitchell, Mr. & Mrs. T.H. Mitchell, Mr. L.L. McGehee, Mr. & Mrs. Edmond McGehee, Miss Florence MeGehee, Mr. & Mrs. J.B. McCaskell, Mrs. Pauline McCormick, Mrs. Robelia McCraney, Mrs. Ophelia Stockstill and Mrs. Nellie Watts. At the time of the 50 year celebration in 1983, three charter members, Coa C. Evans, Mrs. Jack Jones (Hattie) and Mrs. J.B. McCaskell (Maudella) were the only three remaining. Since that time, these three have gone to be with the Lord and none remain.
  
Brother Coa C. Evans was designated as the first church clerk and Miss Delores Adcox became the secretary. The leadership of the group fell to Brother Jesse Hedgepeth who commuted to this pastorate on weekends from Monticello, Mississippi. Brother Hedgepeth pastored practically at his own expense as most of the members had little or no cash money.
  
The story is told that Brother Hedgepeth, himself in need of money, once asked the church to take a collection to pay for his train fare to church. He needed three dollars. The hat was passed and the collected amount came to one dollar and ten cents. The pastor’s dejection was turned to consolation when a church member told him, “There’s no need to pass the hat again preacher, that’s all the money we have between us.”
  
In 1933, after the resignation of Brother Hedgepeth, Brother D.W. Nix was called as pastor. Brother Nix brought re-organization to the group and under his leadership the church flourished. One famous photograph shows Brother Nix conducting the first baptismal service in the waters of Hobolochitto Creek. Forty were baptized that day while a crowd of well over one hundred gathered on the bank to watch. Many of those baptized on that occasion are still active members today.
  
Very soon it became obvious that the church could afford to build and maintain its own building, so late in 1935 the church voted to construct a wood frame building on the west side of Highway 11 directly across from the present sanctuary. It was to be built on a plot of ground given by Mrs. Alice McGehee Brown.
 
 Contributions for the structure soon led to a beginning and the first sanctuary had its start. The men of the church provided the labor for the task and at noon time the women folk would bring picnic lunches for all to enjoy under the shade of nearby oaks.
  
Soon it was completed, and though not furnished nearly as well as the members would have liked, it provided a wonderful atmosphere for worship and fellowship.
  
Brother Nix resigned as pastor in 1937 and was replaced on the church’s call by Brother C.N. Campbell, a student at the Baptist Bible Institute of New Orleans. After a two-year pastorate he gave over leadership to Brother Roy Gordon.
  
Brother Gordon was the first and only pastor to be called from the church membership. He was licensed and ordained by Roseland Park Baptist Church. “He was one of our own called out to serve.”
  
It was during his pastorate that a great tragedy befell the church. On a Saturday evening in 1939, the church building was burned to the ground by an unknown cause. The next morning a group of tearful worshippers sat under the oaks and asked God’s strength to begin again.
  
For several months the church met under a brush arbor near the burned building until at last a larger piece of property was given by Mr. S. G. Thigpen on the east side of the highway. There, under God’s leadership and Brother Gordon’s direction, the second church building was erected. It was a two-story structure with an auditorium upstairs and classrooms and kitchen downstairs. This building served the church from 1940 until 1956, when the present sanctuary was built.
  
After Brother Gordon, the church was led by Brother J.M. Holloway. He pastored the church faithfully from 1940 to 1943 when the church called a native of Pearl River County, Brother Morrell Lee.
  
With the beginning of Lee’s ministry the church started a full-time program with preaching services conducted every Sunday. Many other steps of progress were noted during his ministry here. An addition to the building was made giving more space to the auditorium and also providing two rooms for Sunday School upstairs and an additional room downstairs.
  
Reverend Lee led the church in the building of a much needed pastorium which was built on Highway eleven near the church. It was completed in 1947 and Brother Lee and his family were the first to live in it.
  
The church held its first Vacation Bible School in the summer of 1943 with 108 enrolled. Pictures of early Bible Schools show that a trailer pulled behind a car was used to carry children to and from the church.
 
 With the church still less than 10 years old, Lee led it to found a mission at Ozona. In practically no time the mission became a church and continues today.
 
 In June of 1947, Brother Lee resigned and was succeeded by Brother Charles Davis (1947-1950) and later by Brother C.E. James. Under Brother James a fund was started for the construction of a new sanctuary.
  
The church continued to grow in many ways during the early 50’s and true to the calling to “send out laborers into the harvest” the church voted to license and ordain Jimmy Albritton, and did so on October 23, 1952. Brother Albritton is now retired from the pastorate and back in Picayune where he does interim work in the area. In addition to Roy Gordon and Jimmy Albritton, many others have been called into service as ministers through the years.
  
In 1953, Brother Gordon Halbert became pastor succeeding C.E. James. During his first year 63 people were joined to the church increasing the need for more space to accommodate the family in worship. The church continued to be desirous of a new sanctuary and under Halbert’s guidance a $60,000 dollar auditorium was designed and built for use. It was completed in 1956.
  
In 1957, Brother L.P. Petty became the pastor. He was later succeeded by Brother Edward L. Griffin who pastored from 1959 until 1966. The church blossomed under this young pastor’s leadership and growth dictated that more room be made available for Sunday School.
  
In a letter to the church dated September 15th, 1963, the deacons unanimously recommended that a study be made to determine the feasibility of building a Sunday School building to house 500 for Bible Study. It was discovered that it would take $75,000 to build the structure. Eventually the church came to agreement in the matter, the bonds were sold and the building was dedicated in January, 1965. Deacons serving the church at that time were Carlie Pearson, Chairman, Esco Johnson, Belton Watts, James Winstead, Bill Herrington, U.B. Tabor, Clinton Williams, and Jack McQueen. Brother D.W. Nix, the original pastor of the church, was called back from his pastorate at White Sand to deliver the dedication address.
  
During Ed Griffin’s pastorate a second staff member was added for the first time. Bobby Jones, a student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, became the Director of Youth, Music and Education.   He is now serving as Minister of Senior Adults at Main Street Baptist in Hattiesburg. The church continued to grow and by 1963 had increased from its original 24 on roll to 505. The budget increased proportionately from $500 in 1933 to $20,000.
  
Following Ed Griffin, the church was led by Brother Wayne Sterling from 1967 to 1968, Charles Long from 1968 to 1970, Bill Rickets from 1970 to 1972 and Bobby Robinson from 1972 to 1973. Under these men the church continued its steady increase. This is perhaps the greatest and most noticeable characteristic of the church. Since its inception in 1933 it has seen constant growth. Its reputation for stability and sound Bible doctrine has resulted in continued blessing in this form. This fact is acknowledged by the church family and they give God the glory for it.
  
In 1973, Brother Dale Patterson was called to pastor Roseland Park Baptist Church. His pastorate was the longest to that date totaling eight years. Under his able direction the church continued to grow, almost doubling in size during his tenure. In 1975 the church purchased a new pastorium on Sycamore Road about a mile north of the church. This fine multi-level home was first resided in by Brother Patterson and his family.
  
In 1980 the church recognized again that there was a need for more Sunday School rooms. They decided to build a two-story edifice to the rear of the main Sunday School building. Construction was supervised by Deacon Belton Watts and the dedication was held in October of 1981. The total cost of the building and furnishings was $202,000. This sizable sum proved to be a small challenge for the now prosperous church and the debt was relieved in less than two years.
  
In August of 1981 Brother Patterson was called to a pastorate in Florida. The church called Brother Gene Smith, a native of Texas, in February, 1982.   The church continued to grow and prosper. Under his leadership the three part-time staff positions became full-time. During his tenure, the vast parking lot was paved, enhancing the church’s parking facilities. Brother Smith was called to Florida in November of 1986. The church was without a pastor for a period of two years. In January of 1988, a call was extended to Dr. James Spencer of Pontotoc, Mississippi. New educational, fellowship, and administrative facilities were completed under his leadership, in July of 1990. A formal dedication of this building was held on September 21, 1990, with former staff from years gone by attending. The dedicatory message was preached by the President of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. 
  
Dr. Spencer resigned in September of 1991 in response to a call from Hernando, Mississippi. The next pastor, Rev. John G. Brock, was called in November of 1993, from Ackerman, Mississippi. During the tenure of Brother Brock renovations were made to the original educational facilities and sanctuary. The church membership has now grown to over 1600. In 1995 the church reported a record 67 baptisms. Rev. John Brock retired in October 2006 and Dr. Preston Nix was called as Interim Pastor until October 2007 when Rev. Kriss Haymes of Oklahoma joined our staff as Senior Pastor resigning in August of 2009.
  
July of 2011 our Youth Pastor, Walter Barnes, of two years became our new pastor. He is originally from Mantachi, MS and a graduate of Ole Miss. 
  
The members of Roseland Park are optimistically looking to the future and are still keenly aware of Christ's command to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
  
 PASTORS OF ROSELAND PARK BAPTIST CHURCH:
   
D.W. Nix May 1939 - Jan. 1940
C.N. Campbell Dec. 1937 - March 1939
Roy Gordon May 1939 - Jan. 1940
J.M. Holloway Feb. 1940 - Jan. 1943
Morrell Lee April 1943 - June 1947
Charles Davis Aug. 1947 - July 1950
C.E. James Sept. 1950 - Dec. 1952
Gordon Halbert May 1953 - Sept. 1956
L.P. Petty 1957 - 1959
Edward L. Griffin 1959 - 1966
Wayne E. Sterling 1967 - 1968
Charles Long 1968 - 1970
Bill Ricketts Sept. 1970 - May 1972
Bobby Robinson July 1972 - Sept. 1973
A. Dale Patterson Nov. 1973 - Aug. 1981
Gene P. Smith Feb. 1982 - Nov. 1986
James L. Spencer Jan. 1988 - Sept. 1991
John G. Brock Oct. 1993 - Oct. 2006
Kriss Haymes Oct. 2007 - Aug. 2009
Walt Barnes
July 2011 - July 2013           
David Brown
June 2014 - Dec. 2015

Dan Young

May 8, 2016 - Current