Who We Are
In the summer of 1901, a small group of members separated from the Haddington Baptist Church, now the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and met in the home of John T. Richie. It was subsequently suggested that they try to get a place of worship of their own. James Brown agreed to let them have the use of the front parlor of his home.
The first service was held in September of 1901. At this time, the church had no name. Rev. Napper Hester decided to name the church The Sharon Baptist Church. The congregation soon outgrew its home and larger quarters were sought. In 1903 the church purchased property. The church remained at this location until 1912, when it merged with the Provident Baptist Church and was renamed. Mt. Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church.
The present site of the Mt. Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church was purchased in 1914. Various members joined in the actual work of digging the foundation and erecting the structure of the building. In the fall of 1924, work on the new building was sufficiently completed to allow the congregation to move into the basement of the new church. The hard work of completing it had been carried forward at the expense of the health of Rev. Hester. He had often said, “I am not building this church for myself, but for some young man who will come after me.” On Easter morning of 1925 Rev. Hester preached an inspiring final sermon. It was Communion Sunday and his prayer was “Lord, please keep my little flock together.” A few days later, Rev. Hester was called from labor to reward. During the next eighteen months the church was guided by two interim pastors.
Rev. Marshall L. Shepard Sr., who served as assistant to the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr. at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, was called to serve as the second pastor. The low and infrequently paid salary did not deter Rev. Shepard from leading the congregation in the completion of the edifice, and in the purchase and installation of a $10,000 M.P. Moller pipe organ in 1927. The struggling congregation's financial problems were intensified by the Great Depression of 1929. In order to “save the church” a few members mortgaged their homes. These mortgages, along with an interest-free loan of $5,000 from a friend of the church, helped to preserve solvency. On July 31, 1966, ground was broken for construction of the Mt. Olivet Village; 218 garden-type apartments for the elderly citizens of our church and community.
On February 21, 1967 Rev. Marshall L. Shepard Sr. was called home to be with our Lord and Savior. Rev. Marshall L. Shepard Jr. became the pastor of Mt. Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church. Under the leadership of Rev. Marshall L. Shepard Jr., the senior homes of the Mt. Olivet Village were completed
Rev. Frank A. Johnson, tireless and dedicated, took over as the spiritual leader of church serving as interim pastor on March 9th, 2002.
On March 23, 2002, Rev. Marshall L. Shepard Jr., was called home to be with the Lord.
Recognizing the need for a pastor to continue the vision, the Mt. Olivet congregation initiated a search committee to begin the quest for a pastor. Rev. Dr. Tokunbo Richard Adelekan was unanimously selected as pastor in the October 2004 church meeting.
Under the leadership of Dr. Adelekan, God has moved at Mt Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church. We have been blessed with the initiation of many new ministries. Because of Pastor Adelekan’s willingness to say “YES” to God, Mt. Olivet embarked on a season of transition that allowed Minister Andre L. Price, a former ministerial intern, to become Preacher in Residence in the fall of 2015 and build on Pastor Adelekan’s work. Under Minister Price’s leadership the church is poised to go to the next level of ministry.
Mt. Olivet has “Come this Far by Faith” trusting in the word of God, and being led by the intervention of the Holy Spirit from that summer day of 1901 to today, we remain steadfast and committed as we embark in our “Philippian Season”.
From poverty to prize, from the Great Depression to the Civil Rights Movement, from Napper Hester to Andre L. Price, those who have come before us have paved the way so that we might realize the vision of God being manifest here at Mount Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church.