About Us

Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church

 Formerly African Baptist Church

 
To the Officers and Members of Historic Pleasant Green, the warmest felicitations:

 

In 1790 Peter Duerett, warmly known as Brother Captain, organized and pastored the African Baptist Church. His charisma and his Godly qualities in spite of his position as a slave conditioned him and won for him friends, both white and black. His nonviolent nature and his spirit-filled life gave credence to his kind Master, Mr. John Maxwell, who helped him to erect a long church at Lime and Euclid “Streets. “Pioneer Lexington” reads, “The log cabin founded by Captain (Peter Duerett’s more common name) was the seed from which grew Pleasant Green Baptist Church.” “Perrins History” list Pleasant Green as, “The First Church Among People of Color in Lexington.

 

The trustees of African Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Brother Captain, purchased and received the deed to present property. Frederick sold this property to Ridgely, a pioneer physician, dated August 7, 1822; recorded in Fayette County Clerk Office in Deed Book W, page 2. The bordering streets on this site are named for    Colonel Patterson, the founder of Lexington, which lived within a stone’s throw of this location and Mr. John Maxwell, a pioneer citizen and the owner of Captain.

 

Brother Captain died in the summer of 1823 as pastor of this, his first and only church. In 1829, the name was changed to Pleasant Green Baptist Church in order that slaves might readily identify this place of worship.

 

From 1823-1855, Reverends January and Brent served faithfully. The immortal George W. Dupee was called to pastor in 1855 and served until 1864. Pleasant Green at a cost of $850 purchased his freedom. Rev. Dupee is noted as the greatest organizer of churches from Fayette County to the western part of the state. Rev. William M. Bell, called in 1864, erected the building preceding this one, which was one of a kind. Evergreen Baptist Church of this city was organized as a mission in 1869. Pleasant Green holds the distinction of housing the town’s first school of color that was funded and established by the government.

 

Other pastors that served up to 1913 was Reverends: Sanford Howard, H. P. Jacobs, E. M. Manuel, O. Durrett, B. Anderson, E. W. Hawthorne and H. W. Jones (father of W. A. Jones, Sr.). In 1913 Rev. E. T. Offutt was called to pastor. The present church was erected in 1931 during the “Depression” including the Education   Building, which is a monument to his ministry. At his death in 1938, Rev. Z. H. Yates was called, and in 1940, Rev. W. A. Jones, Sr. was called to pastor. He served unto his death in 1968. Under this administration, the                     Sesqui-Centennial was celebrated in October 1940; over $51,000 indebtedness was liquidated. In 1947, all  property facing Patterson Street extending to Pine was acquired and numerous renovations were accredited to him.

 

In 1969, Rev. J. C. Beard served as interim Pastor. Rev. R. C. Hutchinson was called and served from 1969-1977. A monument of his ministry included a new parsonage now valued at $90,000. In 1978, our present pastor, T. H. Peoples, Jr., was called. He is the first son of the church to be its pastor. Debts incurred and liquidated  under his administration amounted to over $435,000. He joins other pastors in making numerous  renovations. Since 1978, over 1,113 additions have been realized either by baptism, letter or relations, 25 men licensed, 23 ordained including one for chaplaincy. There are 23 deacons, and 23 trustees, in which four are women. All are active and supporting to further enhance the church’s ministry.

 

Historical accomplishments under the present administration include: (1) For the first time in the church’s      history, the pastor and trustees, on behalf of the church, by court law, obtained a clear title and deed to the church land, which Captain and his people purchased, then African Baptist Church; (2) On July 25, 1987, an official State Historical Marker was unveiled on the church’s property. It is a living testimony recognized with documents by the State of Kentucky, if a people (while in slavery) - who secured land deeded for worship    continually owned to date.

 

This should clear up the matter and remove all questions that Pleasant Green is the oldest Black Church west of the Alleghenies, and (3) On July 22, 1990, Brother Captain’s Garden” was dedicated following a moving sermon by Rev. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, former pastor of Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY. A beautiful marble stone, laid beneath a perpetual fountain, stands as a living memorial to this mighty man of God, our pioneer pastor. It should be noted that many of our pastors have served on state and national levels. Further note that this church has produced three sons in the ministry who have served as national presidents of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. (PNBC), namely Dr. G. K. Offutt, first President of Christian Education; Dr. William Augustus Jones, President, PNBC, and the present pastor, Dr. T. H. Peoples, Jr., who has served as Dean and President of the National Congress.

 

The Bicentennial year was peculiarly blessed with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We witnessed outstanding preaching by “Sons of the Church” and scholarly leaders of our state and national conventions. Souls continue to be saved, tithes and offerings increased, and brotherly love still runs from heart to heart and breast to breast as we lift up the name of Jesus.

 

Our history in detail has been compiled in a book entitled, “Essence of a Saga”, which give documents that support our claim as the true descendants of Brother Captain. This book is copyrighted in the Library of Congress.

 

In spite of opposition, hardship, and strife, this glorious old church, African Baptist (Pleasant Green) continually makes her contributions in the cause of kingdom building, humanitarian causes, and the promoting of good       citizenship. The Lord blessed the church to purchase the Jackson property in 1991 that covers almost an entire block with a value of over $1.5 million dollars which includes 10 apartments, a business complex and spacious parking. An operational contract is pending for a nine-story 64-unit condominiums on the Jackson property  valued at approximately $13 million dollars. The first two floors of the condominiums will be commercial space. This is a joint venture between a private developer and the church. Three additional plots of land were purchased in 1995. A “Miracle in Brick” was realized and dedicated. It is luxurious, efficient, and warm. It is the first annex to the church and is known as the Administrative-Educational Annex. The Central Warehouse Tobacco barn was       purchased in June 2004 for $500,000 dollars, with a present value of over $2 million dollars. Plans are underway to replace the barn, which covers a city block with two-new structures valued at $3 million dollars. By church vote the architectural drawings were approved. The new entrance to present structure and connecting structures are state of the art. The first building will be a two-story structure housing classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen facilities, choir practice room, and chapel. Plans are near completion for a kindergarten through third grade school in the new facility. The second building will house our health facilities as it relates to physical   fitness, and a gymnasium.

 

On the 214th Church Anniversary during the afternoon, we dedicated the Joseph of Arimathaea’s Garden. It was the re-interring of relics from the Maxwell Cemetery on Bolivar Street. This cemetery was established in 1795. Many whites and blacks were buried including Mr. John Maxwell, the first County Clerk of Lexington. Maxwell was the master of our first pastor, and because of their friendship, sold to us the present property for worship. This garden is one of a kind with appropriate monuments to the memory to early settlers in Lexington making it the oldest cemetery in Lexington. The parking lot was recently resurfaced, additional properties secured, and a Hammond organ was purchased. A sound system was installed in 2005 at a value of $20,000. We are proud of our maintenance, which includes painting in various areas, and new steps built to the main entrance.

 

We are proud of our local, state, regional, and national support. Within the last years, Pleasant Green proudly has housed, under the present administration: the Moderator’s Office of Consolidated Baptist District consisting of 52 churches, the state objectives, namely President of Simmons Bible College; the Midwest Regional Office of the Congress and President comprising eight states; and the National Office of the Congress of Christian Education, initiating $4,000 per year in scholarships to colleges throughout our country and supporter of academic pursuits. At present, we have a Youth Financial Center and Post Office now in its twelfth year. We also house a branch of Members Heritage Credit Union. Our radio and television ministries, over the past 22 years and at present, have large audiences and gives inspiration to its listeners. December 2001, the church was awarded Blue Grass Trust Historical Preservation marker. Due to her history, Pleasant Green is now on the historical trail for tourist, listed by the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

The church is growing numerically with a membership of over 1,200. In spite of many deaths and transfers our attendance is very good, the spirit is reverent, and souls are won and strengthened. We are blessed with dedicated members who believe in tithing, that helps us meet our obligations. To God Be The Glory!

 

The Historical Committee

 

Rev. T. H. Peoples Jr., Pastor and Chairman
 
Rev. Herbert T. Owens Jr., Historian
 
Brother Joseph Henderson, Researcher 
 
Sister Viola Brown, Member