Period Of Beginnings
In the year of our Lord 1946, February 10, five (5) Christians met in the home of Brother and Sister Emanuel Tanner at 1431 West Liberty Street for the purpose of organizing a mission.
The third meeting was in the home of Brother and Sister George Earsery, Sr., 3217 Hale Avenue. At this point, the mission members increased to thirteen (13); namely, Emmanuel Tanner, Della Tanner, George Earsery, Pearlene Earsery, Alvin Reed, Mattie Reed, Lettie Eskridge, Lovie Morris, Willie House, Abner Brown, Janie Patterson, and Evelyn McClendon accepted and followed the will of God to organize a church. The people named above secured their letters from the Massie Zion Baptist Church on Bells Lane, and Reverend Justus Herring was invited to the Ebenezer Baptist Church on 7th and St. Catherine Street. The Pastor, Reverend Paul C. Cayce rendered us every needful service in preparation for organization. February 26, 1946, the church was organized and was named Elim by Mattie. A call to the pastorate of the infant church was extended to Reverend Justus Herring. He accepted the call with lofty goals and active faith in God.
Period Of Development
1946 – 1949
Supreme sacrifice was the household words for Pastor Herring and congregation. A temporary place for worship was needed until a permanent facility could be secured. Brother and Sister George Earsery opened the doors of their home and housed the church for eighteen (18) months, wherein regular Sunday and midweek services were held without cost. The same spirit of loyalty was reckoned in this labor of love by Reverend Herring. He refused to accept a donation or salary for the three (3) years and seven (7) months he served.
The lot was ideal on which the edifice now stands. But we encountered several unexpected reverses, and funds were in short supply. Brother and Sister Alvin Reed provided the means to purchase the site, and allowed the church to pay them at our convenience. Again the blessing of God was realized by their act of caring and sharing. Definite steps were taken and the building process was well underway when the work was brought to a halt when discovery was made that an unprincipled contractor had taken us. At this point, we purchased a portable building and stationed it on the rear lot. We marched from the Earsery’s home to our new place of worship October 3, 1948. On this first Sunday, the building was dedicated and the Lord’s Supper highlighted the day. Work was resumed on the completion of the Church. Nineteen (19) months later our dreams were reality. While making preparations for the dedication of the church our beloved Pastor, Reverend Herring, was summoned from this labor of love to his reward on August 9, 1949 at the Red Cross Hospital. The dedication was delayed until September 4, 1949. Reverend M. H. Gant, Superintendent of Missions, served as supply minister after the loss of Reverend Herring. He was indeed an able leader, giving comfort and guidance. Elim extended him a call but he regretfully declined because of previous State Mission commitments.
When financial difficulties became acute, we pooled our resources and with Reverend Gant, Reverend R. J. Miller, the Chairman of State Mission, and Sister Bennie Duncan, launched a community-wide drive to help us. $1,039.77 was received including $307.03 was solicited by Reverend Gant from churches in the state. During the three (3) years and seven (7) months of Reverend Herring’s pastorate, our membership grew to seventy-nine (79). Within this congregation he ordained six (6) deacons, namely: John Peacock Sr., Ernest Robinson, Willie Taylor, Dewey Peacock Sr., Alvin Reed, J. M. Maxwell, and S. J. Maxwell. From Deaconship to the preaching ministry were the Maxwell brothers. Our Trustees were: Abner Brown, Henderson Mask, Willie Caldwell, Walter Hughly, and George Earsery. The Auxiliaries organized were: Sunday School, Choir, Missionary Society, Pastor’s Aide, Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Usher Board, and B.T.U. The spirit of unity prevailed and much was accomplished for the good of all and for God’s glory.
On February 13, 1950, Reverend F. M. Hall was called to the pastorate. He served one (1) year and ten (10) months. During his administration, nineteen (19) members were added and an indebtedness of $1,921.77 was paid in full. We prospered and grew with his leadership.
1952 – 1975
In the fall of 1952, Reverend W. F. Fisher was called as Pastor. His able leadership enables us to stem the time of adversity, until hope was revived in the hearts of his parishioner. Advanced steps were taken. In November, that same year, we purchased a six (6)-room parsonage at 1049 South 32nd Street. In 1960, a house west of the Church was bought. This served as a temporary Annex. In 1971, edifies were enlarged and remodeled. All indebtedness was paid. The membership increased to four hundred (400). Accredited to his successful pastorate, five (5) deacons were ordained, namely: Lincoln N. Bingham, Harrison Eskridge, Chester Morton, Gloster Morris, Joseph Anthony, Arthur P. Davis, Louis Smith, Arthur Gabriel, and William Allen. Trustees: Garvin Hall, James Tate, Louis Alford, William McClendon, John Marshall and Wilbur Hackett. From the rank of deaconship, three (3) accepted the higher calling of the preaching ministry: Reverend Lincoln N. Bingham, successful local pastor, Reverend John W. Peacock, Sr., and Reverend Ernest Robinson whom is the pastor of a church he founded in Louisville.
Reverend Fisher organized Elim Chorus, Youth Chorus, Cherubs, and Young Adult Chorus. He resuscitated the Pastor’s Aide, Brotherhood, and Sisterhood. After having spent twenty-three (23) years of faithful service, he was made Pastor Emeritus until his home-going July 3, 1982. Under his leadership, the church reached its apex during the 50’s and 70’s.
1975 – 1992
After Pastor Fisher retired, a call was extended to Reverend John W. Peacock, Sr. to shepherd the flock. He proved himself to be worthy of his calling. A total of one hundred and forty (140) members were added to the Church – ninety-two (92) by baptism, forty-eight (48) by letter. He has ordained ten (10) Deacons. They are: Silas Battle, Dewey Peacock Jr., Edward Reed, Harold Cecil, John Peacock, Jr., Ronald Dudley, Levi Goodman, Ollie Howard, Jimmy Smith (presently pastoring), Johnny Eskeridge (licensed preacher). To the Board of Trustees five (5) members were added: John Wigginton, Shirley Williams, Harold Howard, Cheryl Hardimon, and Sam Wigginton as Chairman. Auxiliaries organized: Junior Deacon Board, a Mid-Week Noonday Pray Hour, a Nurses Guild, and a Meal-A-Day for the poor. A new edifice has replaced the old. Our finances have increased in a measurable way. He was an amiable spirited leader.
The Spirit of God continues to reside within us and move among us to accomplish the purpose of the Church on earth.
1992 – 1993
Members added to the Church: By Baptism-7, by Letter-5, by Christian Experience-3, and by Restoration-2. This is not a tiny defensive enclave, but a mighty advancing army in a hostile world. The Lost are being SAVED, and the SAVED are being EDIFIED, and GOD IS GLORIFIED.
1994 – 1995
May 1994, Reverend John W. Peacock, Sr. resigned his pastorate of Elim. Reverend Johnny Eskridge served as Interim Pastor for fourteen (14) months. During his leadership twelve additions were added to the membership, five (5) by Letter, four (4) by Baptism, and three (3) by Restoration.
1995 – Present
October 15, 1995, a pastoral call was issued to Reverend Vincent E. James Sr. and he accepted the called on November 10, 1995. Reverend Vincent E. James, Sr. is a man with a vision of remarkable force and dynamics.
Assured in knowing that the power of the Holy Spirit is timeless and limitless and can unite North, South, East and West for the good of mankind and for the glory of God. Reverend Vincent E. James, Sr. moved the Elim Baptist Church beyond the four walls. During his tenure Reverend James has ordained eight (8) deacons, three (3) deacons in training, two (1) ordained ministers, ten (10) licensed associate ministers, and has increased Elim Baptist Church membership to over 700 active members. In addition, the church has acquired and purchased additional properties and has renovated the church fellowship wing and the parsonage. Under God’s direction, Reverend James has orchestrated and revitalized new and existing ministries. In 2003, the Oasis Life Center was created to serve the Church and Parkland Community. In the fall of 2004, the Louisville Youth Entertainment Studio Project was implemented for the purpose of introducing Christianity through music and entrepreneurship.
We now have over 27 ministries that support the church and community. Most recent ministries are:
- Pastor’s Aide Ministry
- S.O.U.L. Ministry
- Tots & Toddlers
- Elim Summer Academy
- Possess The Land
- LIFE School
- Single’s Ministry
- Word Explosion
- 90 Days (Evangelism Program) that has exploded our church to having over 700 active members and multiple services.
We have sent up to 1,000 children to Kids Across America over the past 12 years. A capital campaign to raise $450,000 for seed money for the purchase of additional land and buildings has been launched.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing.”