In March 1933, the Reverend Clarence Cobbs and approximately fifty members of Metropolitan and Enon Baptist Church held a meeting at the home of Deacon and Mrs. John Ross, 214 West Hoffman Street, and organized the Mt Vernon Baptist Church. A few months later the Reverend Coleman from Pennsylvania was called to pastor the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. Later that year, the church relocated to 1143 McCulloh Street and was renamed the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
Rev. Coleman served approximately one (1) year and return to Pennsylvania. Rev. Samuel Washington, from Metropolitan Baptist Church, succeeded Rev. Coleman. Under the leadership of Rev. Washington, the church grew and prospered. Then they relocated to Park Avenue and Preston Street in the Old Saint James Episcopal building where they remained until Baltimore City bought the property to extend Howard Street. The church then relocated to Maryland Avenue and Preston Street. Again the church grew and prospered until the Greek Orthodox Congregation bought that building. Once again, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church had to look for a church home. Many fell by the wayside, but God blessed a faithful few and gave them the mind and heart to hold on. For short periods of time, these members worshipped at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and Preston Street, 900 Eutaw Street until they found a suitable facility on March 1, 1940 at the Galilean Fisherman Hall, 411 West Biddle Street, Baltimore, Maryland. Rev. Washington served until his death in 1947.
Guided by the Holy Spirit from 1947 to 1949, Pleasant Grove was without a pastor. On the first Sunday in May of 1949, the Reverend Joshua L. Harris was called as Acting Pastor. During the time that he served, he showed the people a “Shepherd’s heart” and was made Pastor in 1951. Under his leadership, the church grew and prospered again. Pastor Harris then had a vision to expand the church’s worship to higher grounds. It was time to have a permanent place of worship. The members were able to purchase a building at 582 West Biddle Street where many were added to the church. An apartment house on Springdale Avenue was also purchased with the intentions of building a church home from the ground up. Due to Baltimore City buying out the Biddle Street property to make way for a school, the apartment house property was sold to Saint Mark Baptist Church to help purchase the present site at 214 S. Loudon Avenue in December 1969.
“We are Family” has been woven throughout the fabric of our congregation as a reminder of who we are and “WHOSE” we are. When we marched back into our newly renovated sanctuary, September 1997, the theme was “We are One in the Spirit.” Several dignitaries joined us in our Victory Celebration, Mayor Kurt Schmoke, and Congressman Elijah Cummings along with numerous pastors, former members, and other supporters. Pastor Sapp continued to lead us until his health failed. After suffering a stroke, he would not quit because he said, “I’m doing the work of the Lord.” His love and commitment toward the people of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was evident in his compassionate, easygoing spirit. He did not shirk his responsibilities; Pastor Sapp could always find the good in every situation.
In 1971, Pastor Harris’ health began to deteriorate and Rev. William Austin was called to assist. Shortly thereafter, Pastor Harris passed on to be with his Heavenly Father and Rev. Austin was officially installed as Pastor. He served as pastor until his retirement in 1976 and the Reverend W. A. Richardson was made Interim Pastor.
In 1977, GOD continued to bless Pleasant Grove as He carefully placed Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Sapp as the new Pastor. Pastor Sapp served as a living witness of God’s love and influence. During his pastorate, the church grew from 25 to 300+ members. He was a hard working pastor who devoted much of his time to advancing the work of the LORD. Over the years, Pastor Sapp developed many spiritual training programs and outreach ministries which included Leadership Training, Life Preparation, a Food Ministry, Security Ministry, Body Builders, Firm Foundation, Care and Concern Inc, Faith House, Jamaican Mission, and a Dance Ministry.
Pastor Sapp was a goal-oriented servant, who had a vision. From 1989 through 1995, the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church moved towards that vision by completing Phase I of its Renovation Project including, new classrooms, an administrative office, purchase of a ministry house, and renovation of the pastor’s office.
Phase II of the expansion process was put into motion in February 1997. During which time, the Saints of Pleasant Grove worshipped at Shiloh Christian Community Center, on the corners of Yale & Beechfield Avenues. Ten months later, the church returned to worship in the “new” Pleasant Grove Baptist Church sanctuary, along with seven (7) new members, who joined our community during the temporary move to Shiloh Christian Community Center.
Years 50 - Present
The Most Beloved Pastor Sapp ended his work here on earth, as he blessed his family and slipped quietly away to answer a higher call on May 26, 2002. The Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Robinson, our assistant Pastor, was asked to be our Interim Pastor in the August 2002’s church meeting. Dr. Robinson, along with Deacon James Hairston, Chairman of the Deacon Board, led the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. The Pastor’s Search Committee had an urgent and serious task before them. As the Committee labored week after week, praying and fasting for God to send a shepherd. Rev. Dr. Ronald C. Williams interviewed for the first time on February 2, 2003. There was no mistake that God had sent him to lead our church and this was evident as the church members voted and Dr. Williams won by a landside majority vote on May 21, 2003.
Dr. Williams’ first Sunday as the new Pastor Elect was June 1, 2003 and God was truly in the midst as we were blessed with three new members. More than 70 people attended his first Wednesday Bible Study. Under his leadership, Pastor Williams has developed a Strategy Team to plan for the future of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in addition to upgrading church technology and developing our church logo with the theme: Spreading the Gospel…transforming lives. His installation service was September 7, 2003; it brought dignitaries and world-renowned pastors from all over, including Dr. Charles Booth of Columbus Ohio who preached at the Installation Banquet. God could not have sent a better Pastor for our congregation. Since his arrival, the ministry has experienced a surge in passion for evangelism, outreach, and personal spiritual growth. The minstry moniker introduced by Pastor Williams says it all. We're "Spreading the Gospel...Tranforming Lives!".