In the early 1880's a large group was baptized into the membership of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Among those baptized were the late Mr. William Henry White and his wife the late Mrs. Kate Garnett White. Shortly after his baptism, Mr. White was appointed to lead the Prayer Service of the said Church. Several of this group proved to be faithful helpers in the organization of The Mount Carmel Baptist Church.
Mr. White, having felt the urge of greater service to God and man, launched forth on a venture, which widened his sphere of influence. On Burial Ground Hill, in the home of Mr. And Mrs. Shackleford, Mr. White started an afternoon Mission Sunday school. Some of the first teachers of this Sunday school were Misses H. B. Fizhugh, Lena Kemp, Emma Liggons, Emma Randolph, Virginia Randolph and Pasty K. Anderson. Mrs. Lena Jackson was the organist. This Sunday school grew fast and the work accomplished in it soon won the respect of the public to the extent that as weeks passed larger quarters were sought and the organization of a church contemplated. Pioneers in this organization were Messes Beverly Ford, Charles Burton, William Poindexter, Wellington Stutely and Mrs. Mildred Winfree, who voluntarily withdrew their letters from Ebenezer Baptist Church and with the founder organized the present church.
A Council from the Baptist Churches of Richmond was called in October 1887 with Rev. Wells serving as chairman and the Church was organized with Rev. White as Pastor. Rev. Richard Wells, then pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church named the Church.
The Sunday school raised money for the purchase of two lots on which the first building was erected. On February 26, 1888, Ebenezer Baptist Church called a council and the founder was ordained.
As a result of a revival in the summer of 1888, many were converted and of the number, nine persons were added to the membership of the Church. They were Mrs. Minerva Christian, Misses Anna Jackson, Lillie Valentine, Mary Strown, Phyllis Burton, Ada Harris and Mr. Robert Lee Haskins. The first Sunday in October 1888 was a great day at Mount Carmel with its first baptism, reported to be one of the most picturesque religious ceremonies ever to be held in Richmond. The line of march formed at the Shackleford home and proceeded through historical Bacon Quarters Branch to the pond where the services were held. The Times Dispatch carried a picture of the ceremonies and estimated the witnessing crowd to be several thousand persons.
Soon after this Mrs. Eliza Cook offered the use of her home for two weeks for a festival, during which time enough money was raised to pay cash for the lot on Saint James and Fritz Streets. In December 1889, through adversity and struggle, a new building was dedicated to God with appropriate dedicatorial services. Financial aid was received from sister churches and friends.
Following a second revival, about fifty members were added to the Church, among them were Deacon John Clarke, Mrs. Mary Anderson, Deacon Oswald Bowler, Deacon R. B. Clarke, and Ms. Missouri West, Sadie Holmes and Mr. William James. A few more years of progress and inspiration and this building became inadequate to accommodate the members and friends. So, the lot at 1303 North First Street was purchased and in 1904 a new building was erected. The cornerstone was laid with elaborate service by Henrico Lodge of Masons. The first worship services were dedicatorial. On August 18, 1913, after a pastorate of twenty-six years, the founder and first pastor died on his sixtieth birthday.
In February 1914, the Rev. Edward D. Caffee of Salem, Virginia was installed as pastor. During his pastorate from 1914 to 1924, the members and friends of Mount Carmel made great progress that culminated in the glorious celebration of the burning of the mortgage.
In 1924, the Rev. B. H. Johnson of Charlottesvile, Virginia accepted the call of the Church and pastored for three years. In December 1927 he resigned to serve in another field.
In 1928, the Rev. F. W. Black of Norfolk, Virginia was called and at the same time that he was installed as pastor, a new pipe organ was dedicated. Following the retirement of Rev. Black in August 1937, the Rev. J. L. Wood, also a student at the University, was asked to serve as regular supply pastor in January 1939 and continued in this capacity until November 1943.
The Rev. Thomas Freeman was called to the position of supply pastor and assumed duties in October 1944. He later became pastor and was installed with impressive services in November 1946 and continued his pastorate until 1951. During his administration the Church was sparked with his youth and enthusiasm. Many new departmental groups were formed and the Church was more organized for business efficiency.
In late 1951, Rev. Rosamond C. Kay was called to become pastor and assumed full duties in January 1952 and was installed with impressive services on March 1952. The Willing Workers Club was organized and also the Deaconess Board was organized during his administration. After serving for a period of a little more than two years, he was called to New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Edward D. McCreary, Jr. was elected pastor in August 1954. He assumed duties on October 17, 1954. Installation services for Dr. McCreary was held in February 1955. During his pastorate, many improvements were made and the membership increased tremendously. On the first Sunday in June 1958, the Church moved from North First Street to 3200 E. Broad Street. Many new organizations were formed. Women became active and accepted leadership roles on the Deacons Board and Trustee Board. Young men became active on the Junior Usher Board, the Ladies Auxiliary Board and the Missionary Society. Participation in conventions was started and property was purchased for the purpose of making a parking lot. Dr. McCreary donated books for the establishment of a Church library. The Church celebrated its 100th anniversary during his administration.
Dr. E. D. McCreary retired on December 31, 1988. He served as pastor for 34 years. On December 25, 1988, he preached his last sermon as pastor. He performed baptism, dedicated three babies and two members were added on that last Sunday. The title of his last sermon was "Peace I Leave With You", a most dynamic message!
From January 1989 to June 1990, the Church was without a pastor and was under the leadership of the Deacons with Deacon George P. Armistead, III as chairperson.
On the first Sunday in June 1990, Rev. John S. Fountaine assumed pastorate, baptized at 10:00 A.M., preached his first sermon as pastor and conducted communion. A few of the accomplishment during his administration, the Church van was purchased, the names of organizations were changed from "Boards to "Ministries", the Gospel Choir was started and a "Save The City Crusade" was conducted. Dr. Fountaine resigned on the fourth Sunday in September 1995.
The Church was under the leadership of the Deacons, with Deacon Jerry A. Smith serving as chairperson. On the first Sunday in April of 1996, Dr. Wade Richmond became our Interim Pastor. He served until the first Sunday in August 1996.
Rev. Cessar L. Scott, Executive Minister of the Baptist General Convention, became our next Interim Pastor. Rev. Scott served until the 2nd Sunday in March 1997. Under the direction of the Trustees, with Sister Bertha Carter serving as chairperson, the administrative office, the pastor's study, and the library were all renovated and the Church acquired two additional properties. On February 12, 1997, Dr. Edward D. McCreary, Jr. and Rev. Cessar L. Scott participated in the dedication of The E. D. McCreary, Jr. Library.
On April 6, 1997, Dr. Calvin C. Green began his tenure as Interim Pastor. Under his leadership and Mr. McCreary' guidance, the Church ordained one of its own, Rev. Rosalind Bradley, on June 15, 1997. It was a great day for our Church.
In October of 1998, The Mount Carmel Baptist Church called Rev. William E. Jackson to be its 10th Pastor. He preached his first sermon on December 7, 1997 entitled ?Follow Me'. His emphasis was on following him because he is following Christ.
Under his guidance, the Church accepted the Theme "Discovering God's Vision for Our Church". A few of the accomplishments during his administration a Leadership Council and Retreat was formed, a New Members Class, five computers were purchased for the Church and a Computer Task Class was held. The first Christian Education Institutional was started. Renovations were done on two offices in the lower level of the Church and the entire church was painted. A Church welcome song was composed. The Children and Youth Minister position was organized under the leadership of Minister Lakendra Hardware. Dr. William E. Jackson resigned on April 8, 2001.
In March 2002 a Pastoral Search Committee was formed. In June 2002, Reverend George N West accepted the call to serve as interim pastor. The Pastoral Search Committee recommended to the members of the church candidate Dr. Stephen Greene Howard. After a unanimous vote June 7, 2003, Dr. Howard was named the 11th pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church. An appreciation service was held for Reverend West on September 14, 2003 to thank him for his faithful leadership and spiritual growth as interim pastor of the church.
On October 5, 2003 Dr. Howard preached his first sermon entitled "Where Do We Go from Here?" Under the leadership of Dr. Howard our church continues to grow numerically, spiritually and physically. The Deacons ministry has been reorganized and now includes the Deaconess Ministry and restructuring and empowerment of the Trustees Ministry. The Christian Education, Sunday school and Senior's Ministries have all been reorganized. The churches Women's Ministry has also been reorganized and held its first retreat. The church has also accepted a new church theme and mission statement, "Worshipping, Empowering and Discipling Wedded to Christ."
Keeping up with the advancements of today's youth has proven to be a priority in the youth ministry as it now offers classes in karate and Spanish. A Children's Church Ministry was also established along with the reinstitution of the Girls Scout.
Since his beginnings with the church, Reverend Howard has implemented the Evangelism Ministry, Prayer Commission, Stewardship Commission, Media and Technology Ministry, a church webpage and the LoCaSha Ministry.
Dr. Howard has appointed Reverend Sarah Dabney as Minister Visitation, Reverend Wilhemenia Parker-Cunningham as Minister of Young Adults, Substance Abuse and LoCaSha Ministries, Reverend Andrew Diggs as Minister of Christian Education and Evangelism, Deacon Juanita Armistead as Minister of Seniors and Deacon Jerry Smith as Minister of New Disciples.
Dr. Howard has done extensive research in grant writing and has applied and continues to apply for grants for the advancement of our church. He has applied and received a grant that enabled us to employ a Ministry of Christian Education and Evangelism/Outreach.
The disciples of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church are excited about the great and excited things that God is doing for our ministry. We are prayerful as God continues to give Dr. Howard vision, wisdom and guidance to move our church forward into the twenty first century in a most spiritual and powerful way.