Port Gibson Baptist Church

Equipping, Serving, and Building up the Body of Christ


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Our History

Prior to 1872

The history of Port Gibson Baptist Church has been traced to the Magnolia Baptist Church about four miles southwest of Port Gibson, where Baptist of Claiborne County worshipped in the early days of the county. According to Rev. D. I. Purser, missionary to Union Association, “. . . The old Magnolia Church was found numbering twelve members and the house was without seats. The house was much injured by shot and shell during the Civil War since it was in the midst of a battlefield. Soon after, Port Gibson was visited . . . where there had never been an organized Baptist church. . . . With much difficulty a house was obtained where worship services were held until the second Sabbath of May. Then, assisted by Brother James Nelson, a meeting was held . . . which resulted in the organization of a church with nine members.”


Records show that on May 22, 1872, nine members of the Magnolia Baptist Church were granted letters of dismission “to go into constitution of a church in Port Gibson.” Rev. Purser served as first pastor and the church was known as “First Baptist Church of Port Gibson.” His annual salary was $1000.


The congregation first met in the Presbyterian Church, and later in a schoolhouse in the town. On June 3, 1873, the Baptists purchased a lot on College Street for $200 on which their first building was erected. Years of hardship followed in which a boll weevil plague, yellow fever, and loss of membership led to financial difficulty and, finally, the loss of the building due to the inability to meet payments. 


But the Port Gibson Baptist persevered in their desire to fulfill the Great Commission. In 1895 a new building was erected at the corner of College and Jackson Streets, where they worshipped until 1923. The present building at Carroll and Church Streets was completed and dedicated in 1923. Next door to the church was the pastor’s home. Rev. S. P. Morris was pastor. 

1952 This is from a March 30, 1952 Sunday bulletin—Rev. A. A. Ward, Pastor.

Sunday, March 23, 1952 the regular tithes and offerings were $115.46 with $1.20 going to the building fund.

The Total receipts for February, 1952 were $1166.39.

The Disbursements were as follows:

Pastor $224.42
Janitor's Salary $24
Cooperative Program $100
Brown Music $18.00
Minister's Retirement $20
Baptist Record $8
Baptist Book Store $110
Local bills $110.88

A comment from the bulletin:

"Mr. W. R. Roberts, State Brotherhood Secretary, said the Brotherhood meeting here last Monday night was the best ever held in this part of the state. Eighty-five men from the churches of Union Association were in attendance. Thanks to the men of our church for being such splendid hosts. NO BETTER MEN ANYWHERE."


In 1952, the auditorium was remodeled and redecorated. This included new pews, a new choir loft and baptistery, a new heating system and other changes. The church felt a need for more space for Sunday School classrooms. Thus, the pastor’s home and garage were converted into classrooms. A lot was purchased on McComb Avenue on which a new brick parsonage was completed in April, 1956. 


On November 21, 1960, a ground breaking ceremony was held for the construction of a long awaited educational building. This building was completed and ready to use on June 14, 1961. 


Another remodeling program was undertaken again in November 1971. this remodeling included central air/heat for the auditorium, paneling the walls, waterproofing the brick, installation of the iron fence on the Carroll Street side, and painting of the woodwork. 

1976 On April 20, 1960, The State of Mississippi issued a grant of charter to "Port Gibson Baptist Church.


The Sunday School rooms downstairs were opened up and turned into a fellowship hall. All work was done completely by Sunday School members and was finished in 1978. 


The property just south of the church was purchased by the membership in February, 1980. On June 10, 1980, the church voted to start a Day Care Ministry. This was a much needed service for the community and was opened on September 2, 1980 and ran until 2003


On September 26, 1982, the church voted to remodel the auditorium, replacing the old theater style seats with cushioned pews. Also at this time, the beautiful chandelier was installed and new carpet was added. In April, 1983, a pitched roof was placed on the church building. 


The property west of the church’s boundary was purchased and a parking lot was constructed on March 27, 1985.


In May 1986, the church completed the installation of an elevator at the front of the building. This was a blessing for those who found the stairs impossible to conquer. 


On December 6, 1987, the church voted to undertake remodeling the pastorium on McComb Avenue. This included heating and cooling systems, also foundation extensions and repairs. The major renovation and addition to the pastorium was completed on March 26, 1988. 


The old bell at the Magnolia Baptist Church had been passed from farmer to farmer during the Civil War and afterwards. In January, 1988, the bell was brought home and a tower was built to house the bell. The bulletin board in front of the church was also transferred to the bell tower. 


In the fall of 2005 the church library was remodeled with custom designed shelves by church member, Jeri May. The vestibule and fellowship hall have received a new coat of paint. Other renovation plans are in progress.

2006 During 2006, the outside of the church was painted, a new roof was added, and new wrought iron railing was installed. A new awning was installed over the patio outside the kitchen.

Port Gibson Baptist Church
804 Church Street, Port Gibson, Mississippi 39150
Phone: 601.437.5550

WebServant Martha Harpole