History of Pilgrim Rest MB Church


On July 05, 1920 one Sunday Morning all trails in the town of Morton, Mississippi were directed down (what is known now as) Highway 481 North to the Home of Sister Luvenia Jones.

On this special day, some members from the Sanctified Church and the Baptist Church united to establish what was then known as the Little Luvenia Church.  The first congregation held worship service often at Sister Luvenia Jones home; whereas, sometimes service was held under a bush harbor at the same location.  It is our understanding that the first Pastor was Rev. Marion Madison .  We don’t know just when the name changed, but during some time under his leadership the name became Pilgrim Rest Church.

Years later land was given by Bro. Charlie Henry Thompson to Bro. Henry Holifield.  Brother Holifield donated the land to the church.  The first building was built in 1930.

In our history, we have been privileged to have had the wisdom and knowledge of many great Leaders, Pastors, and Deacons.

With God’s blessings in 1951 with divine knowledge of the coming works for this body, Rev. W.D. Williams and Deacons Randolph Boyd, Mose Adams, Dee McEntee, Robert Chambers  and others came together to build the white wooden edifice that serviced us for twenty-six years. 

Our founding fathers used evangelization, teaching, worship and fellowship for the basic work of this body.  Later Rev. Williams had the church add the word Missionary to its name; then the congregation became known as Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church.

Some of the past preachers and pastors were Rev. Marion Madison, Rev. Jackson, Rev. Thomas Boyd, Rev. Ollie Lloyd served until death in 1950, Rev. W. D. William served until death in 1966, Rev. Nathan Pittman, Rev. Eddie Gipson served in 1979 two terms, Rev. Billy Ray Nicholas served in 1981, followed by the late Rev. Tommy G. Robinson in 1984, Rev. I.S. Watkins and Rev. Eugene Holmes.

Some of the past deacons which held up the light were Brother Robert Chambers and Brother Randolph Boyd.

Forerunners as recording secretaries were Sisters Brunie Adams, Ethel Taylor, Victoria Womack. Currently serving as Secretary is Sis. Nell McGee. Assistant recording secretaries that have served were Sis. Tracey Minor Scott, Yolanda Adams Hughes, LaShay Jackson. Presently assistant recording secretary is Sis. Valerie Stingley.

Past finance Secretary:  Sister Daisy Pace, Current finance secretary is Sis. Anitra Hollis.

Church Treasurer:  Sis. Joyce Adams, Current finance Treasurer is Sis. Linda Bland.

Sunday School Secretaries that have served:  Sis Tamaya Pace, currently Sis. Kendall Morgan.

Sis. Nyisha Sharkey is the assistant Sunday School Secretary. 

Other laborers to precede us on God’s program are Bro. Dock Williams, Frank Stingley, Charlie Davis, Robert McEntee, and Rickey Davis.

Mission Sisters to aid were:  Sis. Janie Davis, Josephine Solomon, Alice R. Jackson, Mary L. Chambers, Sue Palm, Hassie Young, Dorothy White, Mary Owens, Eva Stingley, Ruth White, Affie Lee Spann, Mattie Davis, Mattie H. Smith, Dorothy Helen Ragsdale and many more.

Thanks to their loyalty we are able to pass on to the next generation knowledge and wisdom about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Somewhere during this time the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church doors closed and some of the members became a part of this body.  On October 6, 1985 with Rev. Robert Chambers acting as interim Pastor, this body received Rev. Willie E. Jones as Pastor. 

Once again two years later, on Feb. 2, 1987 with Rev. Wille E. Jones as Pastor and the aid of some faithful and diligent deacons, God blessed with Bro. L.C. Weakley leading the construction crew, Bro. Charles Pace, Bro. Larry Adams, Bro. George Taylor, Bro. M.E. Owens, Bro. Joseph Spann and the support of the church family, our first brick structure was completed and on November 01, 1987 Pastor Jones preached his first sermon in the new church building ; along with Rev. Will Croft as guest speaker.

With God blessings the church continued to grow each year and membership increased and new ministers were ordained.

Oct. 04, 1993 an Ordination service was held and Rev. Rochelle Wright, Rev. Darin Owens, Rev. Dennis Davis Jr, Rev. Namon Womack were ordained as ministers. Pilgrim Rest birth other Sons of the House: the late Rev. Richard Taylor, Rev. Marcus Mann, Rev. Robert Stevenson, Rev. Damon Moore, and Rev. Billy Pearson.

December 1996 Bro. Dwayne Hollis, Bro. Steve Hollis, Bro. Archie Rhodes, and Bro. Joseph Spann were ordained as deacons.

God continued to bless us and under the Leadership of Rev. Willie E. Jones the church was represented in the district, state and national conventions. 

The church took a church trip to Disney world in Orlando, Florida in 1997.

In 2002 Bro. Rufus Bland and Bro. Kenny Morgan were ordained as Deacons. Bro. Henry Minor came by letter as an ordained Deacon from Mt Carmel M.B. Church.

December 2002 it was approved for the youth ushers to operate in a separate capacity on 1 Sunday out of the month. They began in January 2003 with Sis. Linda Bland serving as Usher Director. 

God is not through with us yet. In 2004 Rev. Perry Fletcher and Rev. Eddie Johnson Jr were ordained ministers.

Then 18 years later again God blessed us and we purchased another church home. On the 1st Sunday in November 2005 we marched in our new sanctuary on Hwy 13 South in Morton, MS which have more  land, classrooms and a Family Life Center.

In April 2006 we begin full time weekly worship services on the 1st thru the 4th Sundays.

God keeps on blessing us over and over again! 

In 2008 Bro. Andre Hollis implemented an Upward Basketball League for the youth.  Our Layman and Deacons served as Coaches and assisted with the league which was a great success. 

The League afforded Pilgrim Rest youths as well as neighboring towns and communities youth to participate and develop fundamental skills for basketball and the opportunity to be introduced to Christ.

The League outgrew our Life Center after the First Season and the games had to be held at Bettye Mae Jack gym. Everyone always looked forward to the end of season celebration. The Upward Basketball League was active until 2014.

On Feb.1, 2009 we began our children’s Church Ministry  at the Family Life Center under the direction of Rev. Jarvis Adams, Sis. Linda Bland, and Sis. Anitra Hollis. The Ministry is currently under the direction of Sis. Yolanda Adams Hughes, Sis. Cassandra Gilstrap, Rev. Jarvis Adams, Rev. Earl Lee Jr, and Sis. Valerie Stingley.

On December 15, 2012 we voted to have a church color. Our church colors are Burgundy and Ivory. We also purchase a lighted Church sign in 2012.

November 03, 2013 we held our 1st children church Graduation. Our 1st graduates were Kiara Gary, Demarcus Hollis, Caleb Moore, and Tyrus McCoy.

In 2014 Pastor Jones implemented Noon day Prayer and In-Home prayer for the sick & shut in.

In Oct. 2014 our Pastor Willie E. Jones was elected President of the East MS Baptist State Convention and was installed Feb. 06, 2015.  He made his 1st annual address Oct. 29, 2015 and lead the convention until 2019.  He gave his 5th Annual President’s address Oct. 31, 2019.

May 2015 the church purchased it 1st 45 passenger Motor coach bus. We had also purchased a 25 passenger small bus.

In June 2015 we held a Summer Feeding Program My food network for children under 18 at the family life center.

In Feb. 2016 our outreach bus ministry was reactivated providing transportation to Sunday school, bible Class, and worship services.  It is being operated and directed by Sis. Chanel Spann.

God just keeps on blessing us over and over again. In June 2016 our church family took a 2nd trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

In 2016 Pilgrim Rest implemented its 1st Christian Education Board.  The members are Pastor Willie E. Jones, Bro. Victor Gilstrap, Sis. Yolanda Adams Hughes, and sis. Anitra Hollis.

God is still not through with us yet. He blessed again and on March 18, 2018 Deacon ordination service was held and Bro. Victor Gilstrap and Bro. Joseph Lee were ordained as deacons.

He keeps on blessing us on April 29, 2018 we held our Minister ordination and Rev. Larry Harper, Rev. William Earl Lee II, and Rev. Tony Moore were ordained ministers.

God has blessed us to be able to train and send leaders out to work in his vineyard. Pastor Willie E. Jones have had over 18 Sons of the House. They are:   the late Rev. Richard Taylor, Rev. Rochelle Wright, Rev. Daron Owens, Rev Namon Womack, the late Rev. Dennis Davis Jr, the late Rev. Robert Stevenson, the late Rev. Eddie Johnson Jr, Rev. Billy Pearson, Rev. Marcus Mann, Rev. Perry Fletcher, Rev. Jarvis Adams, Rev. William Earl Lee II,Rev. Reginald McCoy, Rev. Allen Cooks, Rev. Damon Moore,  Rev. Tony Moore, Rev. Willie Robinson, and Rev. Larry Harper.

Blessed to still be under the anointed leadership of Pastor Willie E. Jones since October 06, 1985 until this present day, we have witnessed increased membership, new ministries, technology advancements as well as future plans for improvements of the church. Ministries of the church:  Deacons, Trustees, Sunday School, BTU, Missionary Society, Matrons, Ushers, Laymen, Youth, Adult and Youth Choirs, Transportation, Prison Ministry, and Marriage Enrichment.

God has truly been good to us. In 2020 in the midst of a COVID-19 Pandemic God blessed us on September 08, 2020 to pay off our  mortgage on our church building and family life center. 

To God Be the Glory!

Blessed with God’s favor here we are 100 years later still following the footsteps of our founding fore-fathers remaining biblical based and continuing to operate under the 3 E- Mission:  which is to:  

Exalt the Savior, Equip the Saint, and Evangelize the Sinner.   

On November 01, 2020 we burned the mortgage on our facilities located at 1055 Hwy 13 South Morton, MS.  Praise and Glory be to God!

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