Church History

New Pilgrim Baptist Church Historical Highlights

1900 – 2013
“Go ye therefore and teach…”
They were ambassadors for Christ – husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. They were a nucleus of faith, love, zeal and determination with one common goal: to uplift the name of God and expand His Kingdom on Earth. They saw a dream and seized it. They persevered through hope, tears, and fears with momen-tum, grasping more faith as the years passed.
They were ambassadors for Christ and with the grace of God upon their hearts and undying faith in the Lord Almighty, the 11th Street Baptist Church came into existence. Its emergence is how we began the New Pilgrim Baptist Church, exemplary of decades of progress in God’s arena. Our history abounds with God’s blessings.

“Be strong and let your heart take courage all who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

Organized: June 30, 1900 Location: Avenue C between 11th and 12th Streets, South, Birmingham, Alabama

1900 – 1914
During this time period, seven pastors led the congregation: Reverend Jerry Austin, Reverend Smith, Rever-end Johnson, Reverend F. S. Miller, Reverend J. B. Gardner. Reverend Brown accepted the call in 1909. In October 1914, Reverend W. M. Love accepted the call and served until his death.

From 1900 – 1914, worship services were held in rented houses. The first rented for $5.00 per month. In 1909, a house was converted into a church building at a cost of $2,000.00. During this 14 year period, the name was changed from 11th Street Baptist Church to St. Luke Baptist Church.

“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

1915-1929
A time of trials and tribulations, there were great financial difficulties when Reverend W. H. Thomas accepted the call in 1929. The congregation moved to a new location and purchased a church building at a cost of $5,500.00 and St. Luke Baptist Church was changed to Pilgrim Baptist Church.

1930 – 1939
Reverend H. W. Perry accepted the call in 1936, preaching on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Property was purchased for $2,500.00 and an edifice was built on 9th Street and 6th Avenue South.

1940 – 1949
Reverend Perry continued as Pastor. Cornerstone for the new church was laid September 27, 1946. The name was changed to “New Pilgrim Baptist Church.”

“As your faith increases, our field among you may be gratefully enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you.”

1950 – 1953
Reverend Perry continued as Pastor until his death, December 7, 1950. Reverend W. M. Posey accepted the call in 1951. He was a warm loving minister and his style of preaching was effective. Under his leadership the interior of the church was renovated with air conditioning units and new pews were installed. He served until his death. New Pilgrim Baptist Church was without a leader for approximately one year, but the Deacons carried on. The Mortgage Burning Celebration took place during this interval.

1953 – 2006
Dr. Nelson H. Smith, Jr., age 22, accepted the call June, 1953 as Pastor. He became full-time on the 3rd Sun-day in August 1953. A soul stirring preacher, a powerful lecturer, and an able administrator began restructuring and revamping New Pilgrim. We gained momentum with stronger auxiliaries, increased membership and outreach pro-grams.

“Behold the Lord our God has shown us His glory and greatness.” Deuteronomy 5:24

Under Pastor Smith’s leadership, the following were initiated:
Economics New Pilgrim Federal Credit Union, New Pilgrim Projects, Inc., The Believers, The Pioneers, The Store On Wheels
Goodwill To Others Benevolent Committee, Storehouse Programs, Committee on People’s Emergencies (COPE) Bread of Life Ministry
Education and Service Radio Broadcast, Day Care Center, Monthly Brotherhood Breakfast, Educational Fund, Inc., Christian Men Service Guild, New Pilgrim Homes, Inc., New Pilgrim Towers, Tape Ministry, Sheepfold, Deaf Ministry, The Pioneer Homes, Inc., New Pilgrim Management, Nurses Guild, The Black Women’s Forum, Mother Bessie Barber Library
Mission Church on Wheels, Church School in Haiti, Contributions to a Mission Station in Africa
Spiritual New Member Orientation, Youth Ministry, United Fathers and United Sons, United Mothers and United Daughters, Rites of Passage – Male, Rites of Passage – Female, Wonderful Wednesday, The Men’s Ministry
Social Basketball Team, Boy Scouts, Church Banquet, Church Picnic, New Member’s Fellowship Dinner, New Pilgrim Fun Day
Properties Current Facility, New Pilgrim Day Care (6th Avenue), Martin Fellowship House, Hooper City Land
Original Parsonage, Parsonage at Goldwire Way, S. W., New Pilgrim Towers, Rental Property (3rd Avenue), Administrative Annex, Bread of Life Ministry, Property at Goldwire Way, S. W.

October 2, 1975 Groundbreaking Ceremony – 708 Goldwire Place .
November 2, 1976 Work began – 708 Goldwire Place S. W.
February 11, 1979 Entrance Ceremony
September 24, 1980 Martin Fellowship House purchased
October 31, 1980 New Pilgrim Towers Completed
November 2, 1982 Mrs. Lincy Mae James Lots 6, 7, & 8 of Hooper’s Fifth Addition to Hooper City
June 1, 1984 New Pilgrim’s Store on Wheels became operational
December 1, 1985 $650,000 Bond Sale for Phase II
October 20, 1992 The Bread of Life Ministry was established
December 13, 1992 Special-Tique was established
September 25, 1997 The Administrative Annex was purchased

Pastor Smith served faithfully until his death on September 10, 2006

2007 – A Season of New Beginnings at New Pilgrim
On September 9, 2007 Rev. Dr. James H. Brooks, a preacher/pastor from Ypsilanti, Michigan, assumed the pulpit of New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church as its Senior Pastor. He was installed on November 11, 2007. His ministry among the Pilgrims has been one of ministerial integrity and accountability, founded and fueled by transparency, integrity, honesty rooted in a love for God and God’s people. He continues to inspire, instruct, and instill in New Pilgrim a sense of renewal, reconnection, and revival as we embark upon “A Season of New Beginnings.” In turbulent and trying economic times, Pastor Brooks has led New Pilgrim to see that its best days are not in its past but in its future. He has continued and strengthened the long history of New Pilgrim in helping those who are in need. Hence, New Pilgrim continues to do more for the last, the least, and the lost of the greater Birmingham area.

2007 and Beyond
New Pilgrim continues to grow, as is evidenced in attendance in her worship services weekly, and in the generosity of the parishioners who have given to a level of making New Pilgrim a $1,000,000 congregation annually. During Pastor Brooks time among us, New Pilgrim has firmly planted the fertile roots for building a “campus for Christ” on the hallowed ground upon which the church now sits. The New Pilgrim Pavilion, estimated to cost $4,000,000.00 will be a 21st century worship, fellowship center with multiple state of the art classrooms, a gymnasium, and other amenities suited to being a gospel outreach center to the glory of God. The Pilgrim Pavilion will house the New Pilgrim Day-care (in existence since 1953), and a New Pilgrim Café and Bookstore. The current 1200 seat sanctuary will be renovated for the enjoyment of God’s people praising God., This day is the day that will see the New Pilgrim break ground on the journey to building this campus for Christ. As the Pilgrims rally around the vision for the future of this great church, only God in heaven knows what this church shall yet be. As we march into this great destiny, the people have pledged to give of self and service to climb to yet higher ground for Christ.

June 30, 2013
Under the present pastorate of Rev. James H. Brooks, today we embark our move “From Grace to Glory as we break ground for a new, state of the New Pilgrim Pavilion: a state-of-the-art family life facility for the wholeness of God’s people and to the glory of God.

1979-present building at Goldwire Place SW Church Building ca. 1946 became The New Pilgrim Baptist Church 1950-1979 9th and 6th Avenue Site
1905 Church Meeting Place then known as St. Luke Baptist Church 1933 Location then known as Pilgrim Baptist Church Original Church (known as 11th Street Baptist Church) and One of Original Members, 1900


Groundbreaking 1975

A Promising Future