According to information Sis. Stella Haywood and others were able to gather from the late Sister Mary E. Roberts and the late Rev. Mose Washington some years ago, Pleasant Grove has a very rich and unique history. By the grace of God, Pleasant Grove has stood the test of time and, with faith, will continue to move forward.
As stated in official county records, Pleasant Grove was the first Baptist church in Yalobusha County. The initial parishioners were white and were prominent members of the Yalobusha Baptist Association throughout the mid 1800's. Even after blacks began to worship, it was still pastored by white ministers. It is believed that they allowed blacks to attend worship services in a space provided for them. In 1888, however, it was brush arbor located just north of the present site because the original building had been destroyed. The brush arbor had served as a temple until 1889 when an acre of land was purchased by a Mr. Harris on which another building was erected. This building was also used for a number of years. It was during this period that blacks were given the authority to worship freely and laid the foundation for the Pleasant Grove we know today.
In the early 1920’s the church building was destroyed by a tornado. Although the building was demolished, the spirit was renewed and the “church” marched on. Shortly after, the present building was erected on this same site. During this time, Pleasant Grove also housed a school for students in the Bryant Community.
Pleasant Grove grew and thrived under the leadership of various pastors. Among these, as we were told, were: Rev. D. L. Brown who served 20 years, Rev. H.P. Thompson of Holly Springs who served seven (7) years, Rev. M. W. Wilson who served two (2) years, Rev. A. M. Ross and Rev. Sam Johnson whose years of service are unknown.
Dr. C. P. Bohannan was one of the greatest leaders of his time. As a scholarly, spirit-filled man of God, he was known throughout the nation for his writings, teaching, and preaching. Dr. Bohannan founded the Mt. Moriah District Association. Before passing to the great beyond, he led Pleasant Grove for 35 years.
Among the more recent pastors were the late Rev. Wm. H. Turner who served nine (9) years and Rev. J. C. Batteast who served 14 years. Both served as moderators of the district association. Providing unexcelled guidance and motivation, Rev. Leon E. Robinson served 19 years. Rev. I. L. Conley, who spent many hours renovating and helping to make this a better and more comfortable place to worship, served for 16 years. Rev. R. L. Harris served for five (5) years. Rev. Mitchell Steen served for three (3) years. Although Pleasant Grove has suffered the loss of many great leaders, the church is indeed fortunate to have secured the leadership of our present one. Currently serving as our pastor is Rev. Larry J. Hervey. Although he has only served in this capacity for a short while, he already has big plans for Pleasant Grove. Each time he speaks, he stresses the concepts of growth and unity as well as the expression of love in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We support his vision for the church. We thank God for him and we look forward to great things under his guidance.
Many lay members have also shown great initiative. In 1993, Bro. Sam Johnson initiated the building of a fellowship hall. Mostly due to his diligence and the pastor’s and deacons’ support, the hall was constructed. Although God saw fit to take Bro. Johnson from our midst in 1996, his plans for the growth of Pleasant Grove are continuing.
The history would not be complete without the mention of some of our faithful deacons who served and have been called from labor to reward: Deacons Daniel Gray, Nick Thompson, Alex Roberts, Cain R. Roberts, Amos Roberts, Sam Jackson, Charlie Thompson, Jimmie Harris, John E. “Loafus” Harris, Earnest Jackson, David Martin, Sr., and Nathaniel Roberts. Deacon William H. Helm passed away six years ago at the age of 97. For many years, he served as Sunday School Superintendent, deacon, recording secretary, and in countless other capacities. Deacon Ulysses Kee, Sr. died four years ago.
Sis. Mable Roland and Sis. Eula Starks, who humbly served as pastor’s aid directors as well as on the Mother Board Ministry, passed away in recent years.
Pleasant Grove has produced some noted professionals, skillful businessmen/women, and industrious Christian workers, some of whom are still here and others who have gone on to serve elsewhere. We often hear that our former members are here and there doing well for themselves and performing good works for the Lord. Two of our area’s pastors and district officials, Rev. William Jones, Jr., Rev. Barney Martin and Rev. Johnny Roland, are members of Pleasant Grove. Sis. Elvira Jackson, a prominent member of our congregation, served as Congress Dean for many years and Sis. Marjorie Moore presently serves as Dean.
Pleasant Grove can boast of many members on the roll, but like many churches of this day and time, our attendance does not always support this claim. Be that as it may, we are not worried. The Lord has spared us for over 121 years and with our faith and the grace of God, we shall continue to press toward the mark. The Pleasant Grove Church family aspires to know more, grow more, see more, and be more in Christ. Many Christians talk faith, but do not exercise their rights as believers by putting it into action. We, as saints, are learning to stand on God's word and believe. Be blessed as we progress.