Our History

Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church History

1984 – 2021

Founder, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; Cornerstone, strength with Jesus Christ.
February 10, 1984

The Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist church family has truly been blessed. God has established us, protected us, provided for us, sustained us and guided us for the past 37 years and we truly thank Him for keeping us.

We are here today to celebrate our 37th Church Anniversary. One of our very first lessons learned was to stand on God’s Word. With the Lord as or founder and cornerstone and through God given strength we stood on this affirmation, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18

“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 of these 14 people 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. We thank God for blessing and enabling us to assemble in such a beautiful building on this day. Rev. W. Louis McDowell delivered the sermon and at that time 138 people joined the church, 63 as candidates for baptism. The late Rev. Johnnie W. Brewster, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Madison, New Jersey conducted a meeting after the initial service and Rev. W. Louis McDowell was unanimously elected as Pastor of the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist church. It was truly a victorious day for us to have marched in to such a great church. On February 19, 1988 Mt. Pilgrim was inducted into the North Jersey District Missionary Baptist Association, Inc., and United Missionary Baptist Convention of New Jersey under the umbrella of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. On November 13, 1999 we became a member of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey and on September 30, 2005 accepted into the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission.

The church is a body of believers. We are here to save souls and to lift the name of Jesus. This is what Mt. Pilgrim is all about!

37 years ago we were opened for religious teaching and learning and the formation 35 boards and ministries took place over the years. The ministerial staff includes 6 ordained preachers.

Our outreach ministries include our Tutoring/Mentoring Program, Youth Ministry, Senior Ministry, Homeless/Needy Program 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. Vesper services are conducted at the Hamilton Plaza Nursing Center and Chestnut Hill Convalescent Center.

After purchasing the building and property at 158-160 Central Avenue and 156 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.”

As we remember the legacy 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 also 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 the established Mt. Pilgrim Tiny Tot Day Care Center. We now have ownership of the entire corner of Autumn Street, Central Avenue and Harrison Street.

The grand opening of the Mt. Pilgrim Tiny Tot Day Care Center took place on Sunday, March 4, 2007 and the day care was officially opened to the community on Monday, April 2, 2007. On Thursday, March 4, 2021 we celebrated its 14 year anniversary.

On April 11, 2020, our Pastor, Rev. Dr. W. Louis McDowell took his eternal flight and pressed on to his heavenly home. During one of the most unprecedented times in our church history Rev. Pamela D. Sallie, our Assistant Pastor, took on the mantle of leading God’s people and becoming Pastor of the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. It was at this moment, Rev. Sallie realized the importance of what she had known all her life and that God would use her to feed his sheep and shepherd his people. On the morning of April 12, 2020, Easter Sunday, the message was delivered by Rev. Pamela D. Sallie realizing that God would be her strength and uphold her with His righteous right hand.

We thank the Lord, God Almighty for being at our side and sending Pastor Pamela D. Sallie to shepherd and lead this flock. For eyes have not seen nor ears have heard what the Lord has in store for us! Keeping the faith, as we move forward, we have yet to see what God has in the making for this augment body of Christ. God is an awesome God!


Remembering Our Founder

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” -Isaiah 6:8