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The History Of Greater Peace Baptist Church 

Greater Peace Baptist Church was organized in the year 1939 when some Christian missionaries of the New Mount Zion Baptist Church saw the need to organize another church to further serve the needs of the community. Thus, the group of missionaries organized the Greater Peace Baptist Church, located on the corner of Spenola and Church Street. Louisiana Grier, Inez Pitts, Edith Thomas "Mother of the Church", Alice Harris, Minnie Brown, Mary Arnolds, Susie Victory, Mattie Gunn, Pinkie Mahone, and others had a strong determination and faith in God. They struggled and kept the name of the church alive and strong. The membership was few in number, but with the help of God, Reverend King and his congregation rendered service to God and mankind until March 4, 1951, when the church was completely destroyed by fire at its present location. The church recovered from the wound and continued on. Several deacons served this church under Reverend King, they were: C. B. Hollis, Jerry Owens, Walter Temple, Henry Williams, Brown Chambers, Ulysses Parker, Rayfus Parham, and J. L. Gooch. The late Reverend King licensed and ordained Reverend J. L. Gooch and Reverend P.L. Randall into the ministry. A new era was engulfed into the history of this church in 1952. On September 6, 1952, the late Rev. Oliver L. Holston was called as pastor of the church. He and his congregation were endowed with great wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Under his leadership, his church was remodeled and expanded to include an education building and fellowship hall. Many people were converted and baptized, thus the church membership grew tremendously. Several deacons served under his vibrant and dynamic leadership: Henry Crimes, Ulysses Parker, Rayfus Parham, Eddie Pitts, Allen Jones, John Parkman Jr., Raymond Mays, Robert Weeks, Albert Hines, Hugh Clark, George Flowers, Willie Daughtry, Benny Parker, and Matthew Jones. These men served in the past years and have either been called to glory or are serving God in other capacities. The church is presently blessed with the service of a deacon board consisting of these members: Benny Parker, John Spratling, Samuel French, Louis Brown, Edward Brown, Karl Brown, Thad Lee, Michael Forte, Marco Grimes, Edsel Whitaker, Lamar Crittenden, and Cornelius Norwood. Rev Holston helped many young ministries to go forward and in their life. The church became a stronger foundation and continued to grow under Rev. Holston’s leadership until he departed this life on February 5, 1984. In September 1984, Rev. Elza L. Sullivan was called to pastor the church. The church has continued to grow under his leadership. Rev. Hugh Clark was appointed Director of Christian Education; the youth mission was organized as well as the pastor’s cabinet, and the church program committee. The Young Adult Choir was organized and in 1986, it was renamed to the O. L. Holston Gospel Choir in honor of the late Rev. O. L. Holston. The Young Adult Usher Board and Missionary Circle were also organized. Rev. Sullivan has enhanced the growth of this church by encouraging members and getting them involved in missionary work through the Prison Ministry and providing services to various nursing and convalescent homes in the community. The Bus Ministry was also established and a 15-passenger van was purchased. God continued to bestow his richest blessings upon us. During the year of 1989, beautifications of the church windows were completed. A dedicated church member contributed a crystal chandelier, which now graces the ceiling of the sanctuary. To facilitate the freshness of the food used in “feeding the flock”, a new upright refrigerator/freezer was installed in the dinning hall. The youth and senior choirs purchased new robes, a new copier, Hymnal books, and through the grace of God, a computer was donated to the church. In 1990, the youth ministry was enhanced by the organization of Boys Scout Pack 199. This Pack was organized and led by Sister Nancy Williams, and Brother Samuel French. Girl Scout Troops: 354, 355, and 256, were also organized and led by Sister Nancy Williams, Mozell Bams, Julia Gardner, and Cornelia Weeks. In 1991, we dedicated and named the fellowship hall in honor of the late pastor, O.L. Holston. The Lord also blessed the church to purchase two lots and two houses. We prayed that the Lord would give us a vision to develop this property for the advancement of His kingdom, and today this vision is being fulfilled. In 1992, the Girls and Boys Scouts beautified the house next door to the church. Under Rev. Sullivan’s leadership, Rev. Lee Campbell was licensed into the ministry and Rev. William McGhee was appointed to an associate minister. On March 6, 1994, Deacon Samuel French was ordained as a deacon under Rev. Sullivan’s leadership. In 1995, Sisters Teresa Shipman and Mary Williams organized The New Generation Young Adult Choir. In 1996, the church parking lot was paved, and there is now one on each side of the church. On April 6, 1997, Rev. B. J. Joiner was licensed into the ministry. On October 3, 1998, Rev. Joseph Williams Jr. was licensed into the ministry. On October 20, 2002, Rev. Bessie L. Robinson was licensed into the ministry and preached her first sermon on November 10, 2002, In the years 2003, and 2004, ordination service, under the leadership of Rev. Sullivan, was held for eight new deacons: Edward Brown, Karl Brown, Michael Forte, Marco Grimes, Alto Spencer Timothy Carter, John Crowell, and Freddie Seals. On December 20, 2003, the Greater Peace Baptist Church Praise Team was formed under the leadership of Sister Brenda Canty, and Sister Tommasina Hughley. Upon receiving the blessing and approval from Rev. E. L. Sullivan, the Praise Team held its first meeting on January 5, 2004. The purpose of the Praise Team is to demonstrate worship and praise to Jesus Christ, by using simple routines with Contemporary Christian Music. The twelve members began rehearsing on Mondays and Thursdays. Performing for the first time on February 29, 2004, the Praise Team received a standing ovation as Kirk Franklin’s “I Surrender All” played in the background. As these twelve members were proud of displaying their love for Christ they set an example for other youth in the church. Also, on this day, by the grace of God, Greater Peace Baptist Church celebrated the dedication of the new Fellowship Hall. Tables, chairs, a new speaker system, food-warming table, and clock were purchased for the Fellowship Hall. Later in the year, an ADEMCO Vista- 20 security system was installed. In January 2005, an administrative office was added. In addition, the financial office was converted into a newly remodeled Pastor’s Study. Painting and new furniture was added to the Usher’s Room, the former Pastor’s Study, and the entranceway to the front of the church. The church van was also painted and repaired. In March 2005, administrative equipment to include a Mita Point Source copier and an Oki Laser Printer were purchased for the administrative. Currently, several ministers serve under the leadership of Rev. Elza L. Sullivan to include: Rev. Joseph Williams, Rev. Irving Fleming, Rev. B. J. Joiner, Rev. Leotha Williams, Rev. Bessie L. Robinson, Rev, Lee Campbell, Rev. Corey J. Neal, Rev. Alfonza Seldon, Rev. Johnnie Boone, and Rev. Raymond Johnson. In January 2007, due to the damaging storm that destroyed a vast majority of the church’s roofing, a new metal roof system was installed. In February 2007, new floor and ceiling tiles and a new track light kit were installed. In March 2007, new carpet was installed in the choir stand; the hallway of the church was painted and tiled also. Damaged wood throughout the church’s trimming and window bases were replaced; also a new Air conditioner unit was installed and a two-sided Marquee was purchased. In May 2007, the upstairs Sunday School Classes were renovated and new furniture were purchased. On December 30th, Rev. Elza L. Sullivan retired as Pastor of Greater Peace Baptist Church after serving twenty-three faithful years as the pastor. On that same day, Rev. Corey J. Neal was installed as the new pastor of Greater Peace Baptist Church.

As we look back over the church’s history, we thank God for this heritage and his many blessings. We feel a keen sense of gratitude and indebtedness to those before us who laid the foundation for us to stand on so well. They didn’t work for names, but for the crown. They blazed the trail for us in the direction of Heaven. At the crossroads of this trail, they paced a sign that reads, “Turn right and keep straight.” Now, with faith in God, we look forward with confidence to the future.

 

Our Pastor: Rev. Corey J. Neal
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 GREATER PEACE BAPTIST CHURCH
2821eighth street  •  Columbus, GA 31906
phone: 706-662-7218

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