Eastern Star Baptist Church was first organized in 1900 with the Rev. Oscar Samington as Pastor. The first meeting place was in the Cotton Belt Railroad yard. From that building the congregation moved and met from house to house until the present site was purchased. The church was known as New Zion Baptist Church. Later two devoted ladies, the late Sister Francis McGraw and Sister Estella Brown, suggested “Eastern Star Baptist Church” and it was accepted.
Rev. J. S. Steele was called to be the Pastor in 1913. Under his administration a new building was erected. He served as Pastor until 1924.
After a year without a Pastor, Rev. E. L. Harris was called to serve. He served until 1946 and resigned due to failing health. Under his administration a new building was constructed and $8000.00 of the money for this present building was raised.
On October 3, 1947, Rev. C. R. Ramsey was called and he served for approximately one year.
Our own, Rev. J. S. Ellis served as Interim Pastor until October 5, 1949 when Rev. A. L. Gee was called. Under his administration the present building was built. During construction, the members met and held services at 1221 East Washington Avenue. It was a great day for all members when the mortgage was burned. Rev. A. L. Gee resigned July 17,1960 to become a Pastor in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Rev. Donald Lightfoot was Interim Pastor until September 2, 1960. He was then officially-elected as Pastor and served until his death, August 7, 1967. Under his administration the organ was paid for, new office equipment was purchased and repairs were made to the building from extensive damage from an explosion in our heating system. We added cooling and central heating after the repairs.
Again, Rev. J. S. Ellis was the Interim Pastor until October 24, 1967 when Rev. Sherman R. Redwood was officially elected Pastor. Under his administration we purchased padded pews and new pulpit furniture.
In 1973 property across the street from the Church was purchased and one house was converted into a fellowship. In 1976 additional property was purchased across the street and a room in one of the houses was set aside as a Library under the leadership of Sis. Bernice Thompson. Under Rev. Redwood, the members bought and paid for a bus to add to the ministry of the Church. A new Fellowship Hall with classrooms and a Library were built. On September 28, 1986, Rev. S. R. Redwood officially retired due to ill health.
On October 19, 1986 the cornerstone of the Educational Building was set and dedicated by Rev. Howard Woods, Maston, Maston and Brothers.
Rev. E. Morris Mitchell was elected to serve as acting Pastor and was officially elected in November 1986 as the eighth Pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church. Rev. Mitchell was called home February 29,1988 to be with the Lord.
Rev. R. T. Sawyer, the retired Pastor of Eighth Street Missionary Baptist Church served as Interim Pastor until Rev. Shedrick Warren, Jr. was officially elected in October, 1988. Rev. Warren served the Church two and one half years. Again Rev. Riley T. Sawyer was called to lead the Church in the absence of a Pastor.
In October 1991, Rev. Robert A. Evans, Sr. was officially elected as Pastor of Eastern Star Baptist Church. Under his administration additional property was purchased. In March, 1993, the Church was remodeled with paint, new pew cushions, carpet and blinds for a more modern, up-to-date look. A handicapped ramp was added and a new sound system was installed. In 1996, two new heating systems with duct extensions to the Choir Room and Printing Room were purchased.
In March 2004, Rev. Landrum Marshall, Jr. was officially called to Pastorate as the 10th Pastor of the church. Many exciting things are taking place under his leadership, including the development of this Web Site.
In the 112 years of history, Eastern Star Baptist Church has had Ten Pastors with Rev. E. L. Harris serving the longest tenure – 22 years before ill health caused him to resign.
Pioneers of Eastern Star Baptist Church
These members are listed in the 1897 Edition of Black History of Churches
|Lula WheelerMable Thompson
J. E. Thompson
J. M. Meadow
J. J. Harris
|Mary McBrownFredonia Law
|Ida HughesSusie White