On June 6th, 1906 a small group of individuals founded the Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church. The organizing Pastor was the late Y.H. Williams of Demopolis, Alabama. He did his best to help others to study the scriptures.
In the beginning, Eastern Star Baptist Church was a frame building with a porch across the entire front. After Pastor Y.H. Williams’ administration, there were ten elected pastors whom served in this same frame building.
In 1945, H.P. Richardson was elected pastor and he saw that it was time to move up higher. In 1947, the church was remodeled to a brick veneer building, which was an asset to the community and the city of Demopolis.
After the passing of Pastor Richardson, Rev. Ralph Abernathy of Linden, Alabama was elected Pastor in 1950 and served faithfully for twenty months. During this period, the church was redecorated, floors redone, new pews, pulpit furniture, and a new electrical water fountain was installed. The Pulpit and Study Aide Club was organized. Ms. Lucy Lewis was president, this club was active for twenty years. Pastor Abernathy submitted his resignation in 1952.
Rev. L.W. Williams of Waugh, Alabama was elected Pastor. During his pastorage, a Hammond organ and a new piano was purchased. He served as pastor for five years.
Rev. Percy E. Green was elected pastor and the church was remodeled in 1960. The remodeling included the addition of an educational department, Pastor’s study, kitchen, and dining room. Also, during his pastorage the telephone and, baptizing pool, were installed, as well as carpet runners from the pulpit to the from entrance. Rev Green organized a church kindergarten and furnished free transportation to the children for two years. The natural gas system was also changed to a central heating and cooling system. Rev Green served faithfully for ten or more years.
During this era of some fifty-six years, Sister Brock served faithfully as the Church Clerk.
In 1970, Rev. Earnest L. Palmer was elected Pastor. During his pastorage, the church membership grew and the church progressed. Two choirs were organized, The Gospel Choir and Children’s Choir. Classes for Sunday school teachers and deacons were organized, so that they could be better leaders. Two restrooms were added, audio system installed, and the Sunday Morning Broadcast was instituted.
The kindergarten program became a state licensed day care center. In his ministry to provide services, to the community the Meals for the Elderly and Transportation program was instituted. These programs provided services to many families in the Demopolis community with his participation in various community projects, such as the reopening of the Jones Recreational Center swimming pool.
Rev Palmer was also responsible for the purchasing of the Church’s Hammond organ and the production of the church’s first record album entitled, “DON’T’ LET MY RUNNING BE IN VAIN.”
Serving as Church Clerk under his pastorage were Ms. Emma R. Pritchett, Ms. Camilla A. Ratliff and Ms. Clara M. Purse.
On September 6, 1981, Rev T.E. Gilmore became the pastor. During his pastorage, Rev Gilmore re-established the Pulpit and Study Aide Club and the Baptist Training Union. He provided leadership in organizing the Young Christian Men, the Nurses Guild and instituted our first Sunday Night Services. Many were blessed and accepted the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Rev Gilmore was a very inspirational minister.
On September 11, 1983, Rev, F. D. Jackson became the pastor. The membership continued to grow. The Mother’s Board was organized with Ms.Georgiana Harris as chairlady and Ms. Annie L. Rhodes as co-chairlady. A new heating and cooling system was installed.
On January 29, 1988 Rev. J.R. Davis from Selma Alabama was elected. Rev Davis organized the Beautification Committee.
On January 29, 1989, after a very prayerful year the Lord blessed Eastern Star Baptist Church with a caring Shepard by the name of Rev. Carlton L. Hogue from Marion Alabama. Improvements were made spiritually, physically and financially during his tenure here. Under his pastorage we were again enjoying a wonderful fellowship with one another. When Rev. Hogue became the under Shepard of this flock, many were like sheep that had gone astray, many scattered, and some had fallen in the ditch and some souls were anemic from the lack of good spiritual leadership. This kind and gentle leader nursed us back to good health. The Church attendance picked up dramatically, members began to support the church financially and the Board of Deacons joined hands with this great minister to foster goodwill and cooperation among auxiliaries. Under Rev. Hogue leadership we have been blessed with a new Ross Public Announcement System, carpeting throughout the sanctuary, the Pastor’s Project that provides additional funds to the Church, the purchase of property adjacent to the church that includes a house, Drug Awareness Classes for Parents, New Converts Class was established and taught by him, stained windows, published our first Pictorial album, purchased new pews and reorganized the male usher board. However, out of all these accomplishments, Rev Hogue takes great pride in the one-hundred and nineteen persons that was added to the church membership.
Several ministers have evolved from the congregation of the Eastern Star Baptist Church, Rev. J.L. Russell, Rev Walter Lane Robinson, Minister Willie Daniels, Rev. Joe Moore, Rev Ronald Sams, Rev Eddie Lee Walters, the late Rev. Allen “Buddy” Harris and Rev. Fred Burrell.
The Church has been blessed with good and faithful musicians. Sister Johnnie M. King served as the Minister of Music for forty-seven years. Others who have served as musicians are: Mr. Maloyd Jones, Ms. Mildred Givans, Mr. William Caldwell, Jr., Mr. Tony Thomas, Mr. John Conner, Ms. Annie Harris and Mr. James Armstead.
Under the leadership of Pastor Hogue, there were fifteen active deacons and they are as follows: Barrown Lankster, Jessie Tucker, Albert Thompson, Sr., William Caldwell, Sr. Jesse James, Hobart Braxton, Jr. Jesse Ware, Michael McClain, Sr. Edward Williams, James Brown, Sr. James White, Major Walker, II, Ludie Pearson, Jimmy McGowin, and Isaac Harris.
There were eleven trustees that served on the trustee board during Pastor Hogue’s administration. And they are as follows: Major Walker II, Wyatt Williams III, Leven Croom, Barrown Lankster, Emma R. Pritchett, James White, Freddie Stafford, Jesse Ware, James Brown, Sr., James Smith, and Eugene Daniels, Sr. There were four Associate Ministers that served under his administration and they are as follows: Willie Daniels, Mitchell R. Congress, Joe L. Jackson and Isaac Harris. In March of 2002, Reverend Congress became the Pastor of Mount Horeb Baptist Church in Faunsdale, Alabama.
On May 26, 2003, Pastor Hogue resigned leaving the Church without a pastor.
After Pastor Hogue resignation, the deacon board appointed Bobby Wilson to the Board of Trustees on June 6, 2003.
Isaac Harris, Associate Pastor, along with our Board of Deacons, faithfully carried out the pulpit aspects of the church in the absence of a pastor. All auxiliaries and boards continued to function effectively. The strong Bible and doctrinal teaching that had been given by previous pastors strengthened the congregations’ determination to keep “The Old Ship of Zion” sailing on.
The flock needed a Shepard to lead to be in order with God’s Holy Word. Therefore, the Board of Deacons organized a Pulpit Search Committee to formulate the process by which the search committee would conduct its search. Secondly, the committee asked for input from all members who expressed interest in the process of searching for a pastor. The search for a pastor was conducted within a seven month period. Candidates were invited to preach and were interviewed by the Deacon Board, and later voted on by the church.
On November 2, 2003, Minister Isaac Harris was ordained by Reverend Harper at the Eastern Star Baptist Church.
The meeting to vote was held in December 2004. Reverend Terry L. Gosa of York, Alabama was called as the pastor by an overwhelming margin. Reverend Gosa was installed as the eleventh Pastor of the Eastern Star Baptist Church on Sunday, April 04, 2004.
Pastor Gosa brought a wealth of knowledge and experience and was unquestionably capable of leading the church. In the brief time he has been our Shepard, he has continued our pattern of growth. Under his leadership, he ordained Minister Joe Jackson (May 30, 2004), increased the attendance at bible study, paved the parking area around the church and added many new souls to our congregation.
For years this church has stood as a wayfaring station for men, women, boys and girls, to the Heavenly Way. In the midst of world turmoil, in face of strife and wars, this church has held high the banner of Christ who said, “Upon this rock I’ll build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevailed against it.
We, the Eastern Star Baptist Church Family, with the steadfastness of the Pastor, and the enthusiasm of the congregation, are truly proud of our heritage and excited about God taking us to Glory!