Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church History

In December 1946, Reverend F. W. Coleman was unanimously elected by the membership to be the new pastor. He was born in Flora Hinds County, Mississippi in 1901. He was the pastor of 13 churches in Mississippi before moving to Indiana. In 1944, he moved to Michigan City, Indiana to pastor the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The word “Rest” was taken out of the church name during Revered Coleman’s leadership and the church was registered as Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in 1948.

There were many improvements made by the new leadership, providing heat, installing men and women washrooms and seating was the first priority. Our Radio Broadcast which began in 1949 contributed greatly to the church’s strengthening and national recognition.

In August 1958, under Reverend Coleman’s leadership, we, like the children of Israel made our exodus into our new structure located at our present address, 1301 West 21st Avenue. Reverend Coleman passed in 1977. In July 1978, Reverend Charles L. Emery became our new John the Baptist.

He was born in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1944 and later moved to Humboldt, Tennessee with his family. In 1974, he answered his call to the ministry in Toledo, Ohio at the Southern Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of his father, the late Reverend W. A. Emery. In 1978, he was called to his first leadership position as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Swanton, Ohio where he remained for six months before being called to Pilgrim.

Under his leadership, the church membership grew tremendously. Pastor Emery instantly saw the need for improvement in the church structure, those made were: installation of central air, carpeting of main auditorium, installation of pews for choir stand, overflow and main auditorium, a secretary’s office was built on the lower level, lots were purchased and paved for parking and lighting and several other improvements. Spiritually he saw a need to broaden our Nursing Home and Children’s Ministry. The Bus Ministry was expanded with a new van.

In 1987, the Tape ministry was initiated and the Junior Church was organized. Our greatest feat under Pastor Emery’s leadership is the Reverend F. W. Coleman Memorial Annex that is erected in memory of his leadership, because of the dream he had for the church’s future.