History of Pilgrim Baptist Church, Locust Grove, Virginia
History of Pilgrim Baptist Church
4189 Pilgrim Church Road; P. O. Box 924
Locust Grove, Virginia
A group of Black people were led by Rev. Alfred Goffney to a little wooded spot just above the place where the Battle of the Wilderness was fought. Before building a brush arbor on land given for that purpose, these people worshipped with their White Christian friends at the Wilderness Baptist Church because they had no facilities of their own.
During the period of reconstruction, there was very little money to be had by this band of Christian followers so building of a new church seemed but a hopeful dream. With a powerful hope, they decided to build a log church which would be more comfortable. Such leaders as Ned Scott, Isaac Smith and Peter Armstead directed the building of the first permanent church. The congregation decided to name it Pilgrim because they were only sojourners here. As they marched in, they joyfully sang, “I’m a pilgrim, I’m a stranger; I can tarry I can tarry but a night; Do not detain me, for I am going—to where the fountains are ever-flowing.” Their voices could be heard a long way off as they sang and worshipped God in their first protected sanctuary.
After many years of leadership and fellowship, Ned Scott and Isaac Smith passed away and were the first persons to be laid to rest in the church cemetery.
In the early 1900’s, Rev. James Robinson was called to pastor the church, and the church continued to grow in numbers and in strength. God blessed them and added many sheep to the fold.
When Rev. B. I. Davis of Partlow, Virginia, was called to pastor the church, the members expressed the desire to build a new church. The group worked long and hard to build an edifice of which they could be proud. Rev. Davis pastured during the late 1920’s and 1930’s, during which time the foundation for the new church was laid.
The next pastor to be called to the church was Rev. William Jackson, who served until he was forced to resign because of ill health. The church was completed during this time. This was a controversial period which caused the church to be closed for two years.
With the help of Deacon Charlie Coleman, now deceased, and a committee from the Wayland Blue Ridge Baptist Association, the church doors were opened once again with Rev. Frank E. Thompson acting as pastor until God sent Rev. Mackie McQueen to be our leader. He served us faithfully for thirteen years, until he died suddenly as a result of an automobile accident. Under Rev. McQueen’s pastorship, the Sunday School was organized with Deacon K. R. Lawson as Superintendent, a senior choir was formed, and a church wide chorus came into being. The pastor often boasted of the fact that eight public school teachers were members of the senior choir. They were from Orange and Culpeper Counties. He was instrumental in winning fourteen souls for Christ during the first year of his pastorate.
Rev. Harold King came to the church in 1968 and remained until 1971, at which time he was called to full time pastor in Washington, DC, where he still serves. He was instrumental in installing a complete water system for the restrooms and kitchen and in putting aluminum siding on the outside of the church.
Rev. Earl Bledsoe accepted the call to the church in August of 1972. He organized the Junior Deacon Board and the Junior Trustee Board which are still working. The Sunday School purchased a smaller, more modern van for its traveling purposes. Memorial stained glass windows were purchased for the sanctuary. During this time, the church service was held two Sundays a month and other activities were carried on in keeping up with the church code of ethics. He was instrumental in winning more souls for Christ and ordaining two deacons. The church drew up its first constitution. Rev. Bledsoe was called to Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Catharpin, Virginia, when that church was gutted by fire, and they were being squandered. He accepted the call in 1975, which left Pilgrim without a shepherd again.
After much prayer and meditation for Divine Grace, God sent us Rev. Charles F. Gee. On March 27, 1977 he was duly installed as our Pastor. During his Pastorate, the following improvements were made: 1) Pews with dedication on them were installed, 2) Doors were installed, and 3) A furnace was purchased. Rev. Gee resigned as Pastor in December of 1980.
Rev. Donahue Scott, Jr. was installed as our Pastor on June 28, 1981. During his pastorate, many improvements were made to the church. Under Rev. Scott’s pastorship, Bro. Robert Broadus, Sr. was ordained as a Deacon, enriching the church with two deacons. In 1986, an annex multipurpose room was added to the church and dedicated to Bro. James Washington who was a faithful member. While pastoring at Pilgrim, Rev. Donahue was the Moderator of the Wayland Blue Ridge Baptist Association, Inc. from 1988-1993. Serving for eleven years, Rev. Donahue resigned in October of 1992 to be the Associate Pastor and Financial Director at another church.
With much prayer and guidance, God sent us Rev. Marvin E. Jackson. He served as Pastor-Elect from December 1993 until he was duly installed as Pastor on March 19, 1994. He promoted Love, Unity and Fellowship in the Church and community. Many improvements have been made since Rev. Jackson’s arrival. Under Rev. Jackson’s leadership, Bible Study was started again. Bro. Donald Brooks was ordained as Deacon on November 2, 1997, enriching the church with three deacons. On April 7, 2002, we began having early morning service on first and third Sundays at 8:30am. Pilgrim now has services four Sundays a month. With Rev. Jackson as pastor, we continue to press forward doing God’s will spiritually and physically.
*cemetery on church premises
Excepts of history taken from Pilgrim Baptist Church’s 125th Anniversary (1877-2002) Booklet
Booklet donated by Donald Brooks