COOPER COUNTY – One of the oldest Southern Baptist churches in Missouri will celebrate 200 years of Christian work at a special worship service at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23.
Pisgah Baptist Church members invite former members, friends and the public to celebrate with them. Calvin Brown, director of missions for Concord Baptist Association, will preach. The church is located on Highway O, approximately one mile south of the intersection of Highways O and J in Cooper County. Terry Barnett is pastor.
Established June 19, 1819, Pisgah Baptist was organized in the home of Lewis Shelton, with John B. Longan as a founder and first pastor. Longan, pastor until 1847, and the church played a major role in starting Concord Baptist Association in 1825 and the General Association of United Baptists of Missouri (now the Missouri Baptist Convention) in 1834.
Longan and the church were instrumental in or assisted with organizing at least eight additional churches in the mid-Missouri area in the early- to mid-1800s, including Mount Gilead Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church of California) in 1833 and Cole Spring Baptist Church, near Russellville, in 1835.
Early in the church’s history, its council voted against slavery. Membership included 75 African Americans among its 368 members in 1864. Pisgah Baptist assisted its black members to form a separate church in Pisgah in 1871.
Pisgah Baptist members constructed their first building in 1821. They built a brick structure at its current location in 1838. It was replaced by the current building in 1871. Sunday School and Church Training programs were established. Women members organized Woman’s Missionary Union in 1939.