published Sunday, July 10th, 2011

150TH ANNIVERSARY: St. Elmo Missionary Baptist Church


St. Elmo Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary today. Church member Michael White will speak at the 11 a.m. service, and pastor Alonzo Nobles and members of the Mount Eagle Baptist Church of Charleston, Tenn., will be guests at the 3 p.m. service.


  • Location: 3701 West Ave.
  • Membership: 350.
  • Pastor: Billy E. Church.
  • Outreach: Chattanooga Community Kitchen, Chattanooga Food Bank, First Things First, Covenant Keypers, Salvation Army Angel Tree, youth scholarship and missionaries.


1861 — Church organized in storefront at site where the Good Shepherd Fold Day Care Center was later erected. The first pastor was the Rev. N.J. Whitehead.

Early 1900s — Church moves to 37th Street and begins significant growth period.

1905 — Church purchases lot and erects building across the street from current site.

1977 — Church erected on current West Avenue site.

Early 1980s — Fellowship hall erected, classrooms added and other refurbishments completed.

1986 — Mortgage on church paid off.

1993 — Current pastor Billy E. Church, the congregation’s 21st, called.

2000s — Renovations to building made, bus purchased.

2009 — Three adjacent properties acquired for future growth.


“We are rejoicing in celebrating a milestone of 150 years of worship and ministry. Just think of the many people God has used ... in building his kingdom through this local church. Whenever we celebrate an anniversary, the first thing that comes to mind is the faithfulness of God; in the book of Isaiah, [it says] to give thanks to the Lord and make known his deeds among the people. How he has saved souls, how he has caused many to grow spiritually and how he has healed many of sickness and blessed children to grow up into godly adults. It has been a wonderful privilege from the Lord to serve [the congregation] these many years and [to] look forward to ministering and shepherding in the future by God’s grace and power. The church functions as a family of families, with young and old serving together and worshiping side-by-side in participatory, family-integrated worship services.”

— Billy E. Church

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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July 10, 2011 at 2:14 a.m.
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