Established November 25, 1918, New Mount Olive Baptist Church marks its Centennial year with a series of spectacular festivities. After its historic exhibit, senior luncheon gala, annual cookout and choir reunion concert in October, the church will host its 100th Anniversary Gala and Centennial Worship Service, November 9 and 11 respectively.
Dr. Marcus D. Davidson, Senior Pastor since 2009, noted, “I have come to know New Mount Olive Baptist Church as being open to focused leadership, amenable to change, and ready to move progressively forward with ministry that impacts the lives of those within the church and community.”
The ministry has been a pillar in the community by feeding the homeless, running various educational programs, bolstering political awareness, facilitating affordable housing and providing disaster relief support. It has accomplished this zenith through its rich heritage of prestigious servant leaders in education, law, medicine and the judicial system.
“The New Mount Olive family has been a source of comfort in the time of need,” said Gloria Robinson, a member for 77 years. “My spiritual growth has been developed through the years at Mt. Olive. I am the person I am because of the training from the church.”
However, church leaders are not content to rest on their laurels. “I envision us making a greater impact on our community economically, politically, and socially through intentional efforts of the church through community partnerships and greater relationships with business leaders, community leaders, and faith leaders,” said Dr. Davidson.
How has New Mount Olive promoted and developed such “fervent love for one another” (1 Peter 4:8) over these 100 years?
It all started in 1918 when a group of eight believers “(James & Fannie Jackson; Joe & Georgia Clark; Stephen Stafford; Eva Taylor; James Thurston and Mae Liza Williams) stepped out on faith in the small agriculturally-based town of Fort Lauderdale with a Negro population of 445 where there were already five established Negro Churches,” according to a church statement.
Since then, not only has the church’s faith and perseverance grown, its membership has blossomed from fewer than 500 to now more than 10,000, even having survived major hurricane disasters. But this church family could not endure and thrive without its passionate devotion to God’s vision, mission and purpose through its ministry and leadership.
Its vision to be the Christ-centered church that promotes and participates in Kingdom building is backed by the mission to grow the Kingdom of God through Fellowship, Leadership, Ownership and Worship (F.L.O.W.) and the purpose to worship, witness and work as believers in the body of Christ.
With 11 pastors and two acting pastors over the years, New Mount Olive has experienced tremendous metamorphosis from a humble beginning into its current centennial prime as it has contributed richly to the South Florida community.
After its inception, Reverend Bragdon and Sister Mary Liza Williams, among its first members, chose a suitable site on the corner of Fourth Street and Ninth Avenue. In 1925, they built a small wooden structure for congregants to host church services.
By 1930, with a completed church building, membership had increased to more than 500. Following this development, the church grew further in membership, size and prestige during the pastorate of Reverend O.W. Wells, who took office in 1937.
In 1962, the Reverend G.E. Weaver, led the church into further spiritual, numerical and structural growth.
In 1982, Dr. Mack King Carter assumed leadership, during which membership grew to more than 10,000, along with a national and international television ministry. He also established Mount Olive Development Corporation (MODCO), whose mission is to revitalize low- and moderate-income communities.
In November of 2009, the congregation elected Dr. Marcus D. Davidson as the current Senior Pastor of the church.
You are invited
On behalf of New Mount Olive Baptist Church, Dr. Davidson welcomes all to its Centennial Gala at 6 p.m. on November 9 at the Pier Sixty-Six Resort and Marina, 2301 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $100.00 and can be purchased at www.mountolive.org. There will also be a Centennial Worship Service on November 11 at 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at New Mount Olive Baptist Church, located at 400 N.W. 9th Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
Lydia Hicks serves as editorial assistant at Good News and is a graduate of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. She can be reached at [email protected].