God said it! Brother George Cobell, Sister Mary Cleveland, Brother Paul Jenkins, and Sister Semmie Lee Lewis believed it! On the first Sunday in May 1930, Mount Pleasant Church opened her doors to the community, and they have remained opened ever since.
Now, Mount Pleasant did not come into being with a wave of a hand, a charismatic sermon, or a few fervent words. Nor have we made it to the present on an endowment of unlimited financial prosperity. From our conception in Sister Cleveland’s home, where a small wooden wedge under one of the table’s leg steadied her corresponding hand, this body of Christian believers was destined to be a stronghold of God!
And now, it is by His design that Mount Pleasant, a long and obedient servant, should cast out a beacon ever so bright for the entire world to see. Obviously, to the non-believer, we must have been traveling this road – Glory’s Road – without fail to have Him bestow such faith and promise in our future. Yet, we too have been tested, found ourselves stationed at the fork, and clouded by the times. We have had our share of ups and downs. Many a tear has been shed. Many a brow has worked up a sweat with nail and hammer in hand. But, the narrative evolving our passage is almost biblical in proportion, divinely inspired as only His signature work can be.
Sinner’s Friend Baptist Church was the soil that cultivated the friendship of Cobell, Cleveland, Jenkins, and Lewis. Being few in number, the work was great, even insurmountable, had not God been invited to sit in at the onset. Looking first from within, the group organizers turned to the nephew of Brother Lewis, Rev. H. J Tunsen (Pastor, 1931-33; 1940-49), to minister to the gathering. Under his first term, a choir, formed in 1931, was immediately recognized, and set apart by the Maryland Missionary Baptist Convention with Dr. George Crawley as the moderator.
Three years later, the congregation now unwavering in its vision for Mount Pleasant, made its first physical relocation to 512 Forrest Street. During that time (1934 – 40), several men of God came to the aid of Mount Pleasant to preside over its flock:
Rev. Barnes, Interim Pastor (1934-35); Asst. pastor (1935)
Rev. J. N. Thompson, Pastor (1935)
Rev. R. Lock, Pastor (1935 – 36)
Rev. J Culp, Pastor (1936 – 38)
Rev. Meekin, Acting Pastor (1938 – 39)
Under the guidance of Pastor R. Lock, Mount Pleasant made its second move to 1500 E. Lexington Street. Rev. Culp, in 1936, is attributed to helping the congregation secure 1000 N. Wolfe Street as its sanctuary. The location served Mount Pleasant’s growing assembly until 1942.
Mount Pleasant pays tribute to the men and women of God who steered us through those stormy years. Many organizations would have succumbed to such changes, but our convictions were strong and Mount Pleasant weathered the storm.
Recognizing our need, God returned to us His first shepherd for Mount Pleasant. Youthful during his first tenure, a seasoned Rev. Tunsen came back in 1940 and took over the pastorship with zeal. The membership swelled in just two short years under Tunsen’s guidance, causing us to seek and secure 425 N. Bond Street as our home in 1942.
Without fail, Pastor Tunsen’s leadership cultivated an army of trustees, deacons, and deaconesses, who rose again to secure an even larger place to conduct the Lord’s business. In 1949, 1801 E. Preston Street became our home. Over fifty years later, these same bricks bespeak of His trust in our management of His affairs.
Longevity in leadership was now bestowed upon Mount Pleasant. In 1954, God sent Rev. I. L. Williams to preach. He remained until his death in 1969. During his fifteen-year pastorate, the church building underwent complete renovation. The people also renewed their desire for spiritual growth.
When Pastor Clifford M. Johnson ascended the pulpit in 1970, he understood the groundwork prepared by his predecessors. The physical edifice was now beautiful and secured and Pastor Johnson set about working on the building from the inside out.
Drugs, violence, and the ills of a wounded society had infested our community. Mount Pleasant retaliated with ministries and outreach programs, and the membership was strategically placed to serve the needs of our community from the inside out during these turbulent times. To date, those ministries and programs are numerous.
Pastor Clifford M. Johnson, committed to fulfilling God’s plan of nurturing and growing God’s people, rightly divided the Word of God in the following noteworthy sermons: Biblical Evangelism, After Ye have Suffered Awhile, Generational Curses and how to stop them, Rivers of Living Water, Holiness is for You, and Practicing His Presence.
Faith, commitment, spirit-empowerment, and the celebration of Jesus in His journey of life inspired and directed our pastor!
If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…
(James 1: 5-6)
Pastor Clifford M. Johnson’s wisdom in financial matters lead to the attainment of the following properties and vehicles for the church:
Hines Bakery – Ruthland Ave. became a church parking lot
239-1241 Ruthland Avenue
624 N. Castle Street – Lampstand Christian Bookstore
1229-1231 Gay Street
1754 Preston Street
1751 Preston Street
1735 E. Biddle Street (purchased and torn down)
6000 Radecke Avenue
4 Motor Coaches – 1Mini-Bus – 3 Mini-Vans – 1 Maxi-Wagon
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
If Mount Pleasant were to be judged by the fruit it bears, our church would be held in high regard. In most recent times, the church records seven preachers who later received their own pastorships:
Pastor Leroy Nole, Second Baptist, Midtown, New York
Pastor Clifton Freeman, Providence Inspirational Baptist
The Late Pastor Franklin Blackmon, New Pleasant Grove Baptist
Pastor Franklin Peterson, Faith United Baptist
Pastor Linsey Freeman, Liberty Baptist
Pastor Tony McDonald, Fountain of Life
Pastor J. Charles Towe, Strongtower Deliverance Center
Since 1970, Pastor Johnson has been overseer of one of the most progressive congregations in this city. His foresight, planning, and guidance can be found in every sector of the church, for only one of God’s strong and skillful leaders could unite the working objectives of many under one banner against an enemy of such diabolical aspirations. Mount Pleasant Church has triumphed in the face of adversity from those four saints who gathered and dared to dream of our existence, to the present, where thousands work to carry out God’s will! Mount Pleasant Church is a testimony unto her own and a glowing affidavit of His goodness and mercy.
Saints, give praise to His Holy name for all that He has done. Though the work is not over, and the Lord’s adversary is still-at-large, praises must be exalted for God has A PERMANENT SEAT AT OUR TABLE. To God Be The Glory!