The History of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church
1883 ~ 2020
The Elizabeth Baptist Church has given spiritual guidance and inspiration to the city of Monroe and surrounding areas for 137 years. The recorded history of the church was compiled from a limited amount of records and resources, yet its history has served to enlighten all generations.
Reverend Joseph Ratcliff, in the year 1883, with a small group of Baptist believers, saw the need for a Black Baptist Church in Monroe, North Carolina. The charter membership consisted of eighteen members, whose identities are not available. These members named the church Timmonsville Baptist Church, but it was recorded in the Union County Courthouse as the Colored Baptist Church. The wooden structure, which was erected on a plot of land two hundred feet south of our present structure, was purchased from Elizabeth Monroe for whom the church was named for one thousand, three hundred dollars ($1,300.00). This purchase was orchestrated by Mr. J. C. McVan, Administrator for the estate of C.N. Simpson. The following members, Reverend W. T. Gatewood, Deacon W.M. Nivens, Deacon J.Q. Robinson, Deacon Tom Robinson, Deacon W.C. Jones, Deacon Rueben Perry and others witnessed the purchase of additional land on which our present structure was erected.
The pastors who have served the church are as follows: Reverend Sims, Reverend J.B. Ivey, Reverend Hicks, Reverend Hawkins, Reverend M.A. Murray, Reverend Staton, Reverend McLester, Reverend W.H. Inman, Reverend C.C. Johnson, Reverend Hawkins, Dr. J.H. Ferguson, Reverend David L. Massey, and Reverend Brenda Hopkins served as Interim Pastor; currently Reverend Osco E. Gardin, Jr. serves as Senior Pastor.
Under the leadership of Reverend M. A. Murray the mortgage was paid off on the wooden structure. Reverend W. H. Inman rebuilt our present structure in 1928. This was accomplished by the financial assistance of the membership and dedicated friends.
During the administration of Reverend C. C. Johnson, the carpet and organ was purchased for the church. Sunday School rooms and a kitchen were built in the basement of the church.
Dr. J. H. Ferguson assumed leadership in 1965. Through the prayers and efforts of Dr. Ferguson and our faithful dedicated members, the indebtedness of the Elizabeth Baptist Church was paid in full. The following accomplishments have been attributed to his leadership: new parsonage, church renovation, organ purchased, renovation of old parsonage for a daycare, purchased land for parking, purchased a bus, built a ramp for aid to senior citizens, installed new windows, covered the church with a new roof, installed central air-conditioning, purchased a new van, New Fellowship Hall and the establishment of the Elizabeth Learning Center. Dr. Ferguson also established the Good Samaritan Club to aid the sick and shut-in, established the Department of Christian Education, organized a Youth Worship Service and Youth Ushers.
God continued to bless Elizabeth Baptist Church by sending the Reverend David L. Massey. Reverend Massey did much to encourage us to keep the torch of faith aglow. Reverend Massey established the parsonage building as the official Administrative Office of the church, purchased computers and new office equipment and furniture, and established office hours for a permanent part-time church secretary. He organized the Men’s Fellowship Choir, church newsletter, reorganized the Ministry of Christian Education, and started a second daycare facility across the street from the church. Other accomplishments attributed to Reverend Massey’s leadership included: the purchase of additional land for parking, paving both church parking lots, purchase of a new piano and securing a Hammond Organ.
Interim Pastor Brenda Hopkins served for a little more than one year. During this period the Search Committee was organized. Prayers, baptisms, funerals, and membership growth continued under her brief but effective leadership.
On December 3, 1995, God sent our present pastor, Reverend Osco E. Gardin, Jr (he was elevated to Bishop on March 29, 2014), to serve our church, thus at the dawn of the twenty first century. Since Reverend Gardin’s inception, our church has continued to experience a tremendous growth in every area of our church life. In 25 year’s, Reverend Gardin received new member’s into our church congregation, having baptized 250+. Sunday morning worship services were filled to capacity every Sunday, forcing us to go to two Sunday Morning Worship Services.
Under the direction and leadership of Bishop Gardin our Church and former Day Care has had many upgrades. The church now have a new drainage system in place, the heating and air-condition has been upgraded to serve the capacity of the church new growth. Bishop Gardin has also beautifully decorated our sanctuary by his own hands and the men of the church. This project saved the church over $150,000. With the vision for the future of Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Gardin was instrumental in gaining eight additional acres of land for our future church, 4 fifteen passenger vans, a covered shelter for the vans, and two 47 passenger buses. In 2001, Bishop Gardin started a pre K program for four (4) year olds in the daycare which came about as a result of tireless efforts of Bishop and friends of EMBC. This program served as a pilot for the entire county.
Under Bishop Gardin’s leadership we have continued to grow and expand. We now enjoy the Rosa Bell Event Center. This included the enlargement of the kitchen, men, women, family bathroom, storage room, and TRIO Office. Bishop Gardin was the overseer of this project and worked tirelessly. We we’re blessed by many that donated their time, money, and building skills. Yes, God is still blessing the Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church
daily, to God be the glory.