CHURCH HISTORY – 1952 TO THE PRESENT
IN THE BEGINNING – GENESIS 1:1-5
It was a cold Monday in Milwaukee, WI. Reverend CV Harrington and his wife Susie were praying, listening and obeying God’s commandment to them. God spoke to Rev Harrington and told him to establish a place where people weary of this world could find rest in Jesus Christ. That day, February 18th, 1952, by faith, he established the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church. By faith, Pastor CV Harrington and First Lady Susie Harrington started this family.
By September of that year, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church purchased the first church edifice at 1932 N. 9th Street. By faith, the congregation continued to work in the community and to grow. Pastor Harrington continued to pray, listen and obey God’s commands to him. This obedience directed him to lead this congregation into a new church building. But not like any other historically Black church in Milwaukee had done before. By faith, the members of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church purchased land to build a new church edifice. By faith, members of this family banded together to finance the building. And by faith, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church became the first Black Church in Milwaukee to build a church. Even more, the church was designed, built, financed and legal transactions conducted by Blacks. By faith, God cleared a path of distinction and dedication to the community in which we live. By faith, on April 22nd, 1962, this family moved into the newly built edifice at 2567 N. 8th Street. And by faith, and God’s grace, this family continued to grow thrive and work in this community.
THE GREAT COMMISSION – MATTHEW 28:16-20
Understanding the Great Commission that God gave all disciples, Pastor Leroy B. Mixon was installed as our 2nd Pastor in 1968. Building on the foundation already established, Pastor Mixon quickly expanded the scope and reach of the church.
On a brisk Tuesday, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church purchased its third edifice. On April 1st, 1980, by faith, our family moved from 8th street to a new, larger building at 3737 N. Sherman Blvd. Yet, it didn’t stop there.
Pastor Mixon believed that his role to was preach and teach to all nations. By faith, and under his leadership, Pilgrim Rest was instrumental in supporting ministries in Mexico, Nigeria and Hong Kong. Locally, we purchased the former Bible Way Church at 2975 N. Buffum Street. There we established, Pilgrim Rest East, and held Sunday Worship Services, Sunday School classes, Bible Study and outreach ministry to the community.
On May 1st, 1987, we purchased a building at 4427-29 W. Fond du Lac Ave., known then as Pilgrim Rest West. By faith, we held Outreach Sunday School classes, tutoring for school age children, and provided a space for social / recreational activities. Many will remember this space that was simply referred to as, “The Center.”
Continuing to support our community and provide outreach ministry, by faith, we continued to grow. On April 1st, 1992, we purchased the buildings at 4433-35 West Fond du Lac Ave to provide a food pantry and clothing bank to the community. Pastor Mixon knew that the calling and vision for the church was not about him. He and First Lady Georgia Mixon, wanted to be vessels in a ministry that would thrive long after they were gone. In tune with the Spirit of God and the needs of the ministry, Pastor Mixon proactively sought out a man of God to become involved with the life of this church family. Staying true to the rich history of this church, Pastor Mixon blazed an uncommon trail of having a standing Pastor of another congregation bring regular messages to our congregation here at Pilgrim Rest. By faith, his visionary spirit led the church to greater its impact in our community, city, state and world. Pastor Mixon retired at the end of 2001 and serves as Pastor Emeritus of the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church.
CALLED TO SERVE – PHILIPPIANS 2:1-7
Continuing on the foundation of prayer and by faith, Pilgrim Rest continued to build on our spiritual foundation, emphasize Christian Education and reach out to the world while remaining relevant to and creatively connecting with the contemporary needs of today. Reverend Martin Childs, Jr. And Mrs. Thresessa D. Childs were installed as our 3rd Pastor and First Lady on Sunday, December 1st, 2002. We also praise and thank God for Reverend John H. Riser, who served as Interim Pastor for nine months as God blessed our family with consistent pastoral leadership. By faith, Pastor Childs and our First Lady have continued the proud charge of service to others and the community. By faith, Pilgrim Rest has embraced this mandate to take ministry beyond the walls of the church building. That cold morning in December of 2002 was the manifestation of a new beginning and commission of Pilgrim Rest.
By faith, Pastor Childs has encouraged this congregation to meet the needs of all people. On May 1st, 2003, we purchased a building at 4441 West Fond du Lac Ave. to use as a church incubator to assist newly established churches in growing, building capacity and moving to their own church edifice. We have expanded on our global efforts by forging relationships in Bulumba, East Africa where we have dug wells and built a church for worshippers to gather. Yet, the vision continued to expand.
By faith, on October 6th, 2006, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church established Nehemiah, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit entity, to minister to the community through our Summer Youth Learning Camp, Rental Apartments, a Business Incubator, and a Prison Aftercare Ministry. In 2016, we established our 2nd non-profit entity, Hosea to continue our service in the community.
And by faith, we continued to grow. Between June of 2007 and October of 2012, we purchased five apartment buildings and a duplex and established the Susie Harrington House to provide ministry to people in need.
Our focus on ministry to the community has set us apart from the masses. Pilgrim Rest has a tremendous distinction in our city and state as we have regularly been contacted to serve where other churches have not been willing to do so. Due to our obedience to God for service, God again blessed us with an opportunity to expand.
As news spread about our desire to transform lives, we were approached by All Saints Catholic Church in the fall of 2014 to provide ministry and services to a group of women who would soon be displaced. God’s plan was so much bigger than that! That meeting led to broader discussions and led us to where we sit today. By faith, on the glorious afternoon of Friday, January 30th, 2015, God blessed us to purchase this amazing 51,000 square foot campus in which you sit today. By faith, Pastor and First Lady Childs continue to lead our family, ever mindful of the desire to hear the voice of God as He leads us into a bright future. And by faith, we look forward to moving people closer to God and making disciples of all people.