The history of our church is told each year during the anniversary in honor of those who began it, in honor of those who lived it, and in honor of those succeeding generations who will be here to carry on the legacy.
In the beginning, in 1841,slaves were going to First Baptist Church at 12th and Broad Street with their slave masters. A committee of white churches voted to leave the colored members behind and relocate themselves. The church was renamed African Baptist Church and a number of years later 30 members withdrew to establish a new Jackson Ward church named Fifth Street Baptist Church at Fifth and Jackson Streets.
- In 1905 Rev. Alexander resigned, but 252 members left the mother church, Fifth Street Baptist Church, to form the New Baptist Church. They met and held the first service at St. Luke Hall, at St. James and Baker Streets on Sunday, August 25, 1907 and remained there until 1909. Located in the middle of the hub of professional activity in Richmond called Jackson Ward, we purchased a church at 9 East Clay Street. Would you believe blacks did not live on Clay Street before that church was purchased and for a while we had to enter the church by a side door.
- Rev. Edwards resigned a few months after the 9 East Clay Street Church was purchased. He was followed by Rev. Thomas Jesse Joseph Mosby, known as Rev. T.J.J. Mosby, for short! He moved the church forward, paid off its $11,500 mortgage and served 13 good years until his untimely death on November 25, 1923. Later in the history of the church the members voted the honor their beloved pastor by renaming the church Mosby Memorial Baptist Church.
Following the printed Chronology of Pastors, we continue:
- Rev. James H. Brinkley, Sr. who served from 1925 to 1928 was well educated, a gospel trumpeter and a pulpit orator. Under his pastorate, the New Baptist Church was renamed The Clay Street Baptist Church. We purchased another “big” church, Randolph Street Baptist Church, located at Randolph and Idlewood Avenue, known today as 2nd Baptist, for $70,000 from a white congregation in 1927
- Rev. C.H. Pearson served as supply minister from 1928-1930.
- Rev. Samuel L. Parham became our pastor in 1930, during The Great Depression when times were so hard. Rev. Parham decided to move the church back to 9 East Clay Street again. He served without pay until the church could “recoup”. During his 29 year tenure, many new groups were organized, the mortgage was paid off and the old 1860 church was renovated, and a new organ and piano were purchased. Our present mother of the Church, Deaconess Olive Richardson, was a little girl in those days! Rev. Parham retired after 29 years of service and devotion.
- On September 25, 1960 Rev. Howard A. Chubbs was called as pastor. He was young, energetic and just out of VUU School of Theology and was not only handsome but a great speaker. The church grew financially and celebrated its 53rd Anniversary. He resigned in 1966 to accept the pastorate of Providence Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina where he remains today.
- Rev. Emmett C. Burns, Sr. served as pastor from 1967-1969. He started the Tithing Program and a day nursery for preschoolers. He was political minded and left our church to assume a national position with the NAACP.
- Under the leadership of our next elected pastor in 1971, Rev. Ollie B. Wells, Sr., we made great advances. The late Rev. Joseph Godfrey and Rev. Berkeley Jones were ordained, the membership committee and joint board were organized, the 1st van was purchased, the finance committee was re-activated and the day care nursery was revised. Rev. Wells was a good preacher and he and his wife sang beautifully together. He served until 1974.
- Our next pastor, Rev. Dr. David J. Ragland came from a long line of Mosby descendants who dated back to his great-grandmother. Rev. Ragland encouraged us to save $200,000 for our future plans to renovate, build or buy a new church. Rev. Ragland resigned to pastor 2nd Mt. Zion full time in 1984, where he remained until his death in 1996.
- Rev. Ragland’s pastorate was followed by several pastors who only stayed a few years. Rev. Walter Paul Matthews, Jr. pastored from 1984-1986.Five years later, Rev. Matthews was responsible for passing along to our Trustees information from a friend about an up and coming sale of this church. We promptly acted on it and was blessed to be able to purchase this church property.
- Rev. Jesses J. Rufus pastored one year but was dedicated to reaching lost souls and often ministered to the homeless at shelters from 1989-1990.
- Again without a pastor, we sought help from the Baptist General Convention and for 3 months in 1990, Rev. Cessar Scott assisted us in finding an interim pastor. Help came when Dr. E.D. McCreary, Jr. became our interim minister. He was a stabilizing force and helped us make many important decisions. Then it all came together like a fine piece of silk cloth when Rev. Barry T. Young became our pastor in May 1992. He guided us through the purchase of our church and we were blessed to be able to pay $363,000 cash for it. We will never forget the day when we marched into this church. It was terrific having central heat and air and no steps to climb! For 15 years we lived in sweet harmony with Rev. Young as our very able leader until his passing in September 2007, which left a big empty place in our pulpit and in our hearts. Under Rev. Barry Young’s leadership, quite a few associate ministers joined the clergy team: Rev. Jaqueline Anderson, Rev. Kim Clarke, Rev. Otis Hawkins, Rev. Gift Agamah and many others. Some became pastors and are still serving their congregations. They include Rev. Dr. Mary H. Young, Rev. Gerald Stewart, Rev. Dr. Dexter Cannon, and Rev. Theodore Tyler. Rev/ Dr. Stephanie Wilkes continues to serve Mosby as our Minister of Christian Education.
- However, the Lord provided a Ram in the bush, with Rev. Dr. Mary Young who stepped up to the plate and became our interim minister. She held our church together through our grief and pain of loss from 2008-2009. In September 2008 Rev. Cynthia Fox was licensed to the ministry under Dr. Mary Young.
- Rev. Dr. Elisha Burke, who was already a member of the church, accepted our invitation to be interim minister. He did a great job as our leader. His calm, quiet demeanor was what we needed to help us stay focused on finding a pastor.
- We elected a new pastor, Rev. Dr. Billy J. Hill, who stepped into our pulpit in July 2010, and served us well until January 2012.
- Rev. James Frazier was licensed to the ministry in September 2011 during Dr. Billy J. Hill’s term.
- In April 2013 Rev. Dr. James E. Leary was appointed as our interim pastor; we together have prayerfully and strongly deployed a shared vision in the life of our church home. Also, within the first six months of his tenure, Dr. Leary motivated members to discover their spiritual gift(s) and, has enhanced the ability of giving through time, talents, temple and treasure. We are so grateful to God for Dr. Leary’s guidance in articulating administrative and biblical intelligence, through the Word of God and, as we prepare for the next pastor of our congregation.
- Rev. Melba Y. Jones was licensed to the gospel ministry on August 24, 2014 under the direction of Rev. Dr. James E. Leary.
- In May 2015, we installed Rev. Dr. Price London Davis as Pastor. Pastor Davis, Minister Laura Davis and their son Justus Davis have been a blessed addition to the life of Mosby. In our time together Pastor has encouraged us to put first things first and is building a strong foundation of loving, listening & learning while launching toward our future!