“Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:18.


A group of spiritual missionaries and believers in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ met and organized the church; which is the body of Jesus Christ of which He himself is the head.  This group met on February 10, 1984 at the home of Rev. W. Louis McDowell, 117 Linden Street, Passaic, New Jersey at nine o’clock in the evening.  There were 14 people present and being led by the Holy Spirit and prayer the name “Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church” was presented by Rev. McDowell and agreed upon by all.  The main interest was to have a spiritual church and establish as its goal, to honor the head of the church who is Jesus Christ and to always aid our spiritual leader, the Pastor, who God has placed here to lead and guide us.  Being led by the Holy Spirit our interest lies in saving souls and proclaiming to the world that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”  Rev. McDowell conducted the meeting and it was agreed upon that we would march into the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 163 Autumn Street, Passaic, New Jersey on March 11, 1984 at 11:00 a.m.  After delivering of the sermon at our very first service 103 people joined the church, 63 as candidates for baptism.   As of today we are over 1000 in membership on roll.


The late Rev. Johnnie W. Brewster, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Madison, New Jersey conducted a meeting following the initial service and Rev. McDowell was unanimously elected as Pastor of the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.


35 years ago we were opened for religious teaching and learning with Sunday School and Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.  The formation of 30 boards and ministries took place; namely Deacon, Deaconess and Trustee Boards, Missionary Circle, Sr. Usher Board, Nurses Unit, Mass Choir, Male Chorus, Pastor’s Circle, Beautifying Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Seniors Ministry, Scholarship Ministry, Laymen’s Department, Young Mother’s Ministry, Vacation Bible School, Youth Ministries (includes Youth Choir, Jr. Ushers, Jr. Missionaries, Jr. Nurses, Jr. Worship & Praise, Jr. Praise Dance).  The Mt. Pilgrim Steppers, Women’s Praise Dance Ministry, Mother’s Board and Young Men’s Crusade are newly formed ministries.


Weekly services are held of Sunday School, Morning Worship, Wednesday Night Bible Study and Hour of Power Prayer.


Our outreach ministries include our Tutoring and Mentoring Program, Youth Ministry Seniors Ministry,  Homeless Program (where breakfast is fed and clothes are given out each Saturday morning) and our Drug Referral Program for Alcohol and Drug Addiction. In connection with the Passaic County Court System community service workers are able to fulfill their community service obligations here at Mt. Pilgrim.


Mt. Pilgrim also conducts weekly vesper services at the Hamilton Plaza Nursing Center and Chestnut Hill Convalescent Center.


After purchasing the building and property at 156 Central Avenue and 158-160 Central Avenue and through the recommendation and support of the Mayor and City Council the corners of Central Avenue and Autumn Street became recognized to all as Mt. Pilgrim Square.”  This year extensive renovations and restorations have been completed in our Recreation and Learning Center as we still maintained space for our  programs here at the church.


As we remember the legacy of our late First Lady, Mrs. Sanella McDowell who was so devoted to our Pastor and to the ministry of the church, on Thursday, May 27, 2004, the banquet hall in our center was named the “Sanella McDowell Fellowship Hall” in her memory.  We are proud to pay tribute to Mrs. McDowell who was granted a street name change in her honor.  Today the street sign on the corners of Harrison Street and Central Avenue reads Sanella McDowell Way.” 


Through the acquisition of property at 348-350 Harrison Street which is now the established the  Mt. Pilgrim Tiny Tot Day Care Center, we now have ownership of the entire corner of Autumn Street, Central Avenue and Harrison Street.  


In 2007 history continues to be made for on Saturday, March 3rd Mt. Pilgrim for the first time has held ordination service for two people, Rev. Michael Robinson and Rev. Pamela Sallie were ordained into the ministry.


Our second milestone is in that we have completely furnished and held grand opening of the Mt. Pilgrim Tiny Tot Day Care Center on Sunday, March 4, 2007.  On Monday, April 2, 2007 the day care center will be officially opened to the community at large.


We look to the year 2008, one beyond belief, for eyes have not seen nor ears have heard what the Lord has in store for us!  We still must hold on and keep the faith!