About Us

Church History

History shows that St. Joseph Baptist Church was first organized in 1874 on Cotton Port Plantation in the old St. Clair School House in West Monroe, Louisiana, by Reverend Hall. The church was pastored for a year by Reverend Hall. Joseph Bolden was baptized during this time. Reverend Bolden was ordained under the leadership of Reverend Hall. Reverend Bolden later pastored St. Joseph Baptist Church.

Pastor Joseph Bolden pastored St. Joseph Church in the old St. Clair School until the school burned down. After the school burned, the church was moved to the 9th block of Wood Street and erected its first building in 1878. Three members of the church were called to the ministry and ordained: Reverend Odd Wilson, Reverend Julius Hill, and Reverend Frank Hood. The following deacons were ordained: Almar Green, Alf Robinson, and Alford Scott. Reverend Bolden was one of the founders of the North Louisiana Industrial High School in Monroe, Louisiana. Reverend Bolden resigned as pastor of St. Joseph Church to assume another position.

On January 7, 1902, Reverend C. B. Collins was elected pastor of St. Joseph Baptist Church. The church purchased its first organ and the following deacons were ordained: Robert Page, William Wiltz, and Lee Johnson. The following person were called to the ministry and ordained: Reverend Joe Cox, Reverend Samuel Cox, and Reverend R. B. Beamon. Reverend Collins pastored the church for 18 years after which he resigned.

Reverend Oliver Williams was elected pastor of St. Joseph Baptist Church and served three progressive years; after which he resigned.

Following Reverend Williams, Reverend T. H. Evans was elected pastor and served the church for two years. The following deacons were ordained: Alex Fuller, Singleton Sheppard, Loury Johnston, and Leslie Allen.

On December 23, 1923 Reverend H. L. Broadnax was elected pastor of St. Joseph Church and served one year. Reverend Jesse Cox was called to the ministry and ordained.

Reverend J. H. Housley was elected pastor of St. Joseph Church on December 10, 1924. Many new members and officers were added to he church during his 23 years of leadership. The church exchanged property with Mrs. Esby (White) and moved from 9th and Wood Street to the Broadnax property adjacent to the railroad. The church was burned and later rebuilt June 1, 1925. Among the deacons added were: R. L. Ammons, Reuben Myles, Louis Johnston, and Wash McClain. Reverend Alfred Campbell and Reverend Joe Secrease were called to the ministry and ordained. The following organizations were organized under the leadership of Reverend Housley: The B.Y.P.U., and The Usher Board. A Mission president organized the first Sunshine Band.

Although the Junior and Senior Choirs had been organized prior to Reverend Housley’s administration, both organizations experienced tremendous growth under his leadership.

In May 1946, Reverend Housley resigned as pastor of St. Joseph and Reverend Rankins was called to carry on the remainder of the year. Reverend Jesse Allen was elected pastor of St. Joseph Church and served for a short while.

Reverend C. D. Simmons was elected pastor of St. Joseph in November 1949. Under his administration, the church experienced several progressive movements. The church assumed two pastoral Sundays instead of one.

St. Joseph Church was incorporated in 1952. This was spearheaded by Reuben Myles and Alex Fuller. These brothers, having knowledge of financial responsibilities and opportunities of the church, felt the business of the church should be handled more efficiently. Therefore, these brothers and others prepared the way for others to follow. The first Board Members were Reuben Myles, president; Alex Fuller, vice president; Alvin Richardson, secretary; Whit Caldwell, Emmitt Jackson, and Eddie Burks, board members. The church purchased the property on 700 Coleman Avenue.

The deacons ordained under Reverend Simmons’ administration were: John Campbell, Emmitt Jackson, and John Hendricks. Reverend C. L. Simmons was ordained to the ministry. Reverend Simmons resigned in November 1952, after three progressive years of leadership. During the next three years, the church witnessed many difficult experiences. Reverend Hudson was elected pastor and served for two years.

Reverend J. H. Wilbert was elected pastor in November 1955. The church saw tremendous growth under his administration. The following deacons were ordained: Eddie Burks and John Cox.

The State Highway Department purchased the church property at 700 Coleman Avenue in February 1961. The church purchased property of its present site (206 New Natchitoches Road) in 1961 from the Richardson estate. The contract for the new building was given November 14, 1961. Reverend Wilbert resigned in August 1962.

Due to inclement weather the church was not completed until November 1962. Church services were held in Tim Tippitt School until the church was completed. During this time, itinerant ministers served.

Reverend Henry G. Woods was elected pastor May 13. 1963. He was a very dynamic leader. His theory was lead, follow, or step aside. We give him credit of the following accomplishments – Organ, Piano, Air Condition and heating system, typewriter, public address system, church sign was bought and installed, two fifteen passenger maxi wagons, paying the church out of debt, adding the pastor’s study, office, and choir room, adding the educational and fellowship hall, organizing the Sunday School Fellowship and the first Musical Tea in Monroe. The parking area completed, paid out of debt. Reverend Woods also went every Monday after the Fourth Sunday giving communion to all the sick and shut in. He ordained Reverend M. Lavell Hendricks after he was called to the ministry. Deacons ordained under Reverend Woods were: Alcie Franklin, Richard Gholston, Herbert Gholston, Alex Littleberry, Ronald Littleberry, and Robert (Duke) Russell. Deacon John Williams joined St. Joseph Baptist Church. After 38 years of dedicated service Reverend Woods resigned his position the fourth Sunday in January 2001.

Reverend Charles Williams served as interim pastor after Rev. Woods resigned. Reverend Williams was a very dedicated and spiritual leader. He also visited the sick.

Reverend Lorenzo Price was elected in January 2002. Deacon Bennerson Stamper was ordained. Reverend Price was instrumental in teaching Bible Class on Wednesday night, reorganizing and directing the junior choir, and implementing Youth Service on the first and third Sunday. The Christian Education Center, spearheaded by Sister Estella Smith-Gholston was opened and dedicated to the late Reverend Henry G. Woods.

Our fourteenth Pastor, Reverend Gregory G. Smith served as Interim from Fourth Sunday in November 2006 until he was elected Pastor on July 9, 2007. He was dutiful and a very dedicated servant of God. He reinstituted two biblical ministries: The Mission and Youth Adult Bible Study. He rendered a helping hand anywhere needed, to anyone who would accept, no job was beneath him. Reverend Smith served until the fourth Sunday in June 2011.

Reverend Wilbert Robinson carried out the service as interim for one year. Reverend Robinson is a very knowledgeable Bible teacher. We learned a vast amount of information as he taught bible study on Wednesday nights. Reverend Mark C. Thomas joined under his leadership.

Reverend Mark C. Thomas, our present pastor, was elected in July 2012. Reverend Thomas, our 15th pastor, was installed on August 18, 2012. He has implemented full service. He works untiringly with all ministries for the improvement of the church. He is very dedicated to the church trying to do the Master’s will. He stresses love for each other, as well as love for God.

As the church celebrates its 142th anniversary in this brick structure, several miles from its original ancient landmark, it stands silent, rigid, and kind, speaking to all passing its way. The song it sings and the stories it tells are beautiful. It expresses the love, faith, and spirit of the people, their labors and struggles. We have the vision and we are continuing in Christ.