History of Greater New Jerusalem Baptist Church
In the year 1939, a small gathering of people worshipped in a small building called a "Store." This building was located on the North New York Avenue. Rev Hines was the Pastor at that time and the congregation did not have a name as of yet. The members later moved to 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue. After a while they purchased a hall at 115 West 5th Street. Under the leadership of Reverend Seymour Dixon the congregation adopted "New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church” as its official name.
Later the Reverend A. R. Robinson was called to pastor the church until his demise in 1953. Reverend J. Robinson was called after carrying out revival services for the church. Under his leadership several accomplishments were made namely; a baptismal pool was installed, new pews were purchased, and various other renovations were achieved. Succeeding Reverend Robinson was Reverend T. J. Davis, who led the congregation into purchasing a church parsonage at 116 East 5th Street. Following Rev. Robinson, Reverend H.D. Mitchell was called to pastor the flock. Under his leadership the parsonage was paid off and the land that was being bought for the church was paid off, and the land where present Sanctuary sits was purchased.
In 1970, Reverend Louis Rentz was called as Pastor of the church. Under his administration there were numerous accomplishments made, to name a few there was a new church building constructed in 1972 at 1125 North New York Avenue and a new \church parsonage was constructed in 1982, at 1525 Wright Drive. Many other ministry functions were established under the leadership of Reverend Rentz.
On September 20, 1988, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Chairman of Deacons James Pittman and the Church Family extended the call to the Reverend J. L. Downing, to serve as Pastor. With the endowment of the Spirit Rev Downing has led the Church to new Spiritual heights. Under his administration there have been numerous accomplishment; in 1989 the existing Church mortgage of approximately $30,000.00 was paid off and the church mortgage was burned, we purchased a new church van, and remodeled sanctuary. In 1991, a loan was secured in the amount of $120,000.00, to construct a much needed church annex, with church offices and educational wing with classrooms, dining room and a commercial kitchen with all of the necessary appliances. Our goal was to rally and pay this off in five years. November 6, 1995 mission accomplished, the loan was paid in Full! God blessed our five year plan and we burned the mortgage a second time under the leadership of Dr. J. L. Downing, teamwork and follow ship of this great church.
Much has also been done in a Spiritual perspective under this administration. Under Reverend J.L. Downing, the spirit of worship has been revived, and many new ministries were added to the church; New Jerusalem Human Services, New Kingdom Kids Summer Kamp; New Kingdom Kids Kare Center; We Care Food Pantry; Nurses Guild; Willing Workers; Shepherds Care Ministry; New Convert Orientation; Prison Out Reach; Radio Ministry; Children’s Church; Women’s Ministry ; Men’s ministry; Music Ensemble and much more to meet the needs of this culture to which God has called us to serve.
Pastor Downing is a man of Vision, and where there is vision there is hope.