Our Beloved Pastor Charles L. Emery was born September 4, 1944 in Madison County Tennessee to father W. A. Emery and mother Macie Emery a family of 7 children– 5 boys and 2 girls. He is the 4th born child. He attended Washington Douglas and Lincoln Elementary School. Later he moved to Humboldt, Tennessee where he played basketball, football, ran track and sang with the Stigall Junior High and High School. Rev. Emery was a good student who maintained a B/C average at all times. He was well loved by his friends and fellow students. Pastor Emery attended Morning Star Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Dr. John H. Mathis. Pastor Emery had already accepted Christ at the age 9 in a revival that was being conducted by the late Dr. Leroy Freeman at the Sero Garden Baptist Church. Pastor Emery received two scholarship one from the Glee Club for singing to Owens College of Memphis and the other for playing football at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. While attending college Rev. Emery decided to enlist in the United States Air Force. During his military years his spirit was troubled with a divine call into the ministry, but he refuse to accept his calling until February of 1974.
In 1968, Pastor Emery united in holy matrimony to Willie Ruth Bonds who was one of his school mates and majorette leader in Humboldt, Tennessee. To this marriage came about four children; Mary, Charles Bernard, Victoria and Kimberly.
Pastor Emery is the first in the family to graduate from college and pursue a career. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Education from Toledo Bible College in Toledo, Ohio, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburg, Indiana. He has taken specialized courses at Moody Bible College of Chicago, Illinois in church administration, youth evangelism and personal counseling.
In July, 1978, the 1st Sunday, Rev. Emery became the Pastor of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Emery has served as President of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Gary and Vicinity, Moderator of the Northern Missionary Baptist District Association of Indiana for 12 years, the Vice President-at-Large of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana, Inc., member of the National Baptist Convention Evangelistic Board, Teacher of NBC Congress of Christian Education Youth Division for 3 years, Urban League, NAACP Chapter, and President of Church Alive Ministries International, Inc. Presently I am the President of General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana, Inc. His musical background includes stints with the Pilgrim Wonders and the Spirit of Joy Quartet groups and recording artist with the United Male Chorus of Gary and Vicinity, Gary Citywide Seminar Mass Choir, featured artist of CD’s with Rev. Roosevelt Dixon and the Pilgrim Mass Choir.
Pastor Emery is a former President and current member of the Gary Police Chaplain Association and former Secretary of the Gary/Chicago Airport Board. He was also given the opportunity to assist the city on the Gary Zoning Committee. Pastor Emery is consistently involved in the struggle to confront issues and challenges which the citizens of his community and city face.
Pastor Emery is known to the country as having a dynamic personality, powerful and inspirational preacher of the gospel and much sought after evangelist. Most of all he is a loving and humble man of God, who constantly seeks the direction of the Holy Spirit for the people he leads. Like the Prophet Elijah, God has poured out on Pastor Emery a double portion and he has been a mighty man of valor for the Pilgrim Family for the past thirty-one years. His kindness, sense of fairness and sensitivity to the needs of other, establishes him as a special place in the hearts of the membership of Pilgrim and the Gary community.