Greater Galatian MBC History
Greater Galatian Baptist Church emerged from a split with New Hope Baptist Church in January 1970, where Rev. Dr. Charles Burgs took leave as Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. Rev. Burgs, being a man of keen vision, insight, wisdom and an unusual servant of Jesus Christ, founded Greater Galatian Baptist Church in February 1970. Our first lady at this time was Mrs. Pearlee Clark-Burgs. Greater Galatian Baptist Church held its organizing and first service at the YMCA on Willett Street.
The Charter Officers were: Rev. Dr. Charles B. Burgs –Pastor
Deacons Bro. Edmond Dandridge Bro. Charlie Berry, Sr. Bro. Clarence Perry Bro. James Godwin
Trustees Bro. Fred Todd, Sr. Bro. Joe Willett Sr. Bro. Eddie Patterson, Jr. Sis. Thelma Boyd Sis. Vivian Wright Bro. Charles Harrison
Sis. Shirley Wilkins
Sis. Carolyn Jones
The first Musicians were: Mrs. Mattie Todd and Mrs. Christine Willett
The first Choir Director was: Mrs. Oletha Dandridge
The first President of the Usher Board was: Mrs. Earnestine Hawkins
First President of the Choir was: Ms. Cordelia Walton
The Charter Mother Board was: Mother Lucy Lewis, Mother Mildred Stinson,
Mother Mary Watson and Mother Hattie Johnson.
Historical Church Pictures
We held service at the YMCA for two weeks and on the 1st Sunday in March 1970, we moved to the CME Publishing House at Lauderdale and Parkway. The Lord blessed our congregation to grow and we moved to 918 Lane Ave., (formally Greater Middle Baptist Church) with a 50 member congregation in June 1970.
While on Lane Ave., our membership grew by leaps and bounds. Rev. Burgs acquired a church bus and we were able to continue to fellowship with Williams Chapel in Detroit, MI along with Rev. Burgs’ home church in Shreveport, LA. In addition to these, we were also able to attend The National Baptist Conventions all over the US and various Conventions in Arkansas where Rev. Burgs was the President of the Arkansas National Convention. Another milestone that we were able to continue was honoring high school graduates with a banquet and gifts each year. This continues up to the present day. We worshiped at this location 1 year and 9 months. In February 1972, another church bought the property and we had to move.
Rev. Burgs had envisioned us having our own house of worship, so he started negotiating in March 1972, to buy the property (a duplex) at the corner of Jackson and Maple. While these negotiations were going on, we worshiped in the basement of the old Middle Baptist Church on Lamar Avenue where Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks was the Pastor. We worshiped there for 2 months. March and April 1972.
In the meantime the duplex had to be converted into a church. We acquired the skills of contractor James Miles and our own Charter Member Fred Todd to renovate the building. All the members pinched in to turn the duplex into a church. On May 14, 1972, we came home to our “OWN”. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks preached the sermon for our grand opening celebration. Under the leadership and spiritual guidance of Dr. Burgs, the church grew and flourished in this community. Rev. Richard Miller served as our Associate Pastor.
In 1974, the sanctuary was enlarged to accommodate the growing membership. The church also purchased a portable building and had it attached to the church to serve as Sunday School rooms, a Finance room and the Cafeteria.
All was going well until the church was destroyed by fire in 1984.We preserved and the church was rebuilt by contractor Fred Todd and Trustee Charles Harrison. During this period, we worshiped at St. Joseph Baptist Church on Vollintine. In August 1984, we returned back home after the church as completed.
With a view in mind of expanding the church building, we purchased the land behind the church for parking and Rev. Burgs initiated the purchase of the vacant lot next door to the church. He did not live to see the fruition of this plan. God call Dr. Burgs home to rest on January 1990, after a job well done. He served as Pastor of Greater Galatian Baptist Church for 20 years.
In April 1990, Rev. James Robinson became the second Pastor of Greater Galatian Baptist Church. Our first lady at this time was Mrs. Willistein Robinson. He picked up the mantle and the church continued to grow. Under Rev. Robinson’s leadership we paid for the vacant lot and in October 1999 began construction on a new church building and fellowship hall. Mr. Keith Collins from Bank of Bartlett, Rev. Juan Self and Self Tucker Architects and Mr. Wayne Cole from Calico Construction Enterprises are the entities that made this building possible. July 19-23 2000, we held our grand opening celebration of this sanctuary that we’re worshiping in today.
Rev. Robinson continued to lead us until his health failed in February 2005. Rev. Harry Spencer, our Associate Minister along with Rev. Doug nettles and Rev. Kenny Liggins, our other Associate Ministers continued to carry on the services during Rev. Robinson’s illness. In December 2005, due to an enduring illness, Rev. James Robinson became pastor emeritus after serving faithfully as Pastor for 16 years, the search for a Pastor began.
After much searching, the Lord sent us Rev. James A. Gilkey in October 2006. Our first lady today is Minister Joshua Gilkey. God has given him a vision to continually grow our church spiritually, numerically and financially. He’s a dynamic Shepherd, Preacher and Teacher, dedicated to doing the Will of God.
Not only does he have a vision for the church, but for the community also. Today, we have a Pastor that came to the Church on the Hill, that’s definitely promoting God’s Will.
In closing, I say to all of you “Today Greater Galatian is Alive and Well”.