In April 1917, a fervent assembly of African Americans met, and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, organized a local church where they could worship God and serve the community. Commensurate with many local African American churches throughout the country whose organizers migrated from southern states to northern, eastern, and western states, the organizers honored the church by naming her after the city (West Point, Mississippi) from which a number of the organizers transitioned. As a result, West Point Missionary Baptist Church was born. Afterwards, she called the Rev. R.H. Harmon (pastoral service—1917-1921) of West Point, Mississippi, to be her first pastor. The first of a myriad of responsibilities for Rev. Harmon and the members of West Point Baptist Church was to secure an independent place of worship.
During the late eighteen hundreds (1800s), Chicago was one of the northern cities where many southerners who made their exodus resettled. In search of better living opportunities, Chicago became The Promised Land to these weary, yet determined travelers. As a result of the large influx of African Americans to Chicago, local city officials designated sections of the city where the new residents could reside. One of these sections was, as it is affectionately known, Bronzeville. African Americans who resettled in Chicago needed places of worship. Historically, many white congregations would not allow African Americans to worship in their churches. However, due to the heightened number of African Americans in the Bronzeville community, white churches began to relocate their congregations in other areas of the city—leaving many worship facilities empty. What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good.
Due to the flight of white churches from the Bronzeville community, in the winter of 1917, Rev. Harmon and the West Point Baptist Church members could purchase the old St. Mark Methodist Episcopal Church—a church completed in 1865, which was used as a chapel in connection with Camp Douglas during the Civil War. The purchase price was $22,000.00. To date, the original purchased building is one hundred forty-two (142) years old and is still owned and operated by West Point Baptist Church.
As lives were continuing to be transformed and Christ exalted, Rev. James H. Brown (pastoral service—1922-1972), who succeeded Rev. Harmon, added to the numerical growth of the church through uncompromising sermonic exaltation and administrative leadership. Toward the latter years of his pastorate, Rev. Brown cast the vision for a new, modern facility. Rev. Brown would see the vision come to pass in 1972; he died shortly thereafter.
After his passing, West Point Missionary Baptist Church called one of her staff ministers, the Rev. Dr. Carroll J. Thompson (pastoral service—1972-1997), to serve as her third pastor. Dr. Thompson was instrumental in burning the mortgage of over $400,000.00 for the new facility in three years and one month.
In addition, Dr. Thompson had a local reputation of being a caring and compassionate pastor— regularly visiting the sick and shut-in of his parish, as well as non-members. He also had a national reputation as a scholar. Dr. Thompson was the first pastor to retire.
After the retirement of Dr. Thompson, West Point Baptist Church called Rev. Corey Brooks (pastoral service—1997-2000), of Indiana, to be her fourth pastor in 80 years. Rev. Brooks introduced a new methodology of worship and witnessing to this local church. The church experienced a substantial numerical growth during his tenure. After three years of service, Rev. Brooks organized a local church in the Chicagoland area.
As West Point Missionary Baptist Church spent one year in search of her next pastor, it culminated into her calling the Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes (pastoral service— 2001-present), as her fifth pastor in 84 years. The Rev. Dr. Jakes was responsible for bringing healing, reconciliation and restoration to West Point Baptist Church. In addition, Dr. Jakes has led the church in Operation Divine Restoration: Redesigning, Remodeling, and Restoring a 20th Century Building Using 21st Century Designs, constructing neighborhood town homes, creating new ministries for the community, casting vision for the 21st century, empowering the laity to actively engage in social justice, and a host of other successes. In 2010, Dr. Jakes began referring to West Point as, The faith family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church. This was not a constitutional name change, but a description as to who we are as a local church—a family of faith.
The accomplishments of The faith family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church could not have been done without the Holy Spirit, coupled with committed, practicing Christians with a mind to work for the Kingdom.
The history of The faith family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church has a span of over 100 years. Her history is too extensive for all pertinent information to be printed. However, it does not yet appear what she shall be. As God continues to show favor and faithfulness to The faith family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church, she will continue Living to Serve God by Serving Humanity (Galatians 5:13).
Sunday Morning Worship:
7:45 am (1st Sunday’s only) & 10:00 am
Wednesday in the Word
3566 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, Il 60653