Church History

In the early 1900’s Picayune was a small community and had no Baptist church. A young preacher, W. I. Williams and his wife, moved here where he was employed as a bookkeeper at the Stockstill Sawmill.

The First Baptist Church began as a mission of the New Palestine Baptist Church. On March 27, 1904 a group from the Mission met on the first floor of the Masonic Hall on the East side of Picayune and organized themselves into the Picayune Baptist Church, which later became the First Baptist Church of Picayune.

Plans got underway to build a church. The land was purchased for One Hundred Twenty Five Dollars, and the first church was built in the second block of Second Street on the East side of town at a cost of approximately $3,000.00. The church building was dedicated on the third Sunday in December, 1906.

Rev. W.I. Williams served for four years and was succeeded by the following in service at the Second Street church site:

1903-1904     Rev. W. I. Williams
1907-1909     Rev. W. S. Allen
1909-1910     Rev. G. H. Webb
1910-1911      Rev. J. B. Rimes
1911-1913      Rev. O. N. Herrington
1913-1914      Rev. W. B. Holcomb
1914-1919      Rev. E. E. Bass
1916-1918      Rev. F. H. Bancroft
1918-1919      Rev. R. R. Jones
1919-1920      Rev. N. A. Edmonds
1920-1922      Rev. J. B. Quinn
1922-1925      Rev. O. P. Estes


Picayune First Baptist was in the Hobolochitto Association until 1920 when N.A. Edwards offered a Resolution to change the name to the Pearl River County Association since most of the member churches were in the bounds of Pearl River County. Dr. O.P. Estes served as the Moderator for the Association in 1923 and 1924, and the Association reports indicate that the Church was growing. Dr. Estes continued to serve as pastor when the church moved to the Goodyear Boulevard site in 1923. During the time Dr. Estes was pastor, 1922-1925, the large white church was erected on Goodyear Boulevard at a cost of approximately $35,000.00, plus material given by Mr. L.O. Crosby in 1923. The pews and electric lighting fixtures were moved from the first church building on the East side of town. They were placed in the balcony and in the Sunday School rooms. New pews were placed in the main auditorium.

The Church made great progress during Dr. Estes’ years of service. He resigned in 1925 and the following pastors were called to serve:

1925-1927     Dr. Roland Q. Leavell
1928-1929     Rev. B. Locke Davis
1929-1932     Rev. H. T. McKaurin
1932-1939     Rev. R. K. Corder
1939-1949     Dr. O.P. Estes
1950-1961     Dr. John R. Maddox
1961-1971       Rev. Carless Evans
1972-1976      Dr. Bill Duncan
1976-1980     Dr. William T. Pruitt III
1980-1982     Interim Pastors


Dr. O.P. Estes returned to First Baptist in 1939 and remained here for ten years, until his death in 1949.

Dr. John R. Maddox was called in 1950. Dr. Maddox inaugurated the plan and succeeded in having constructed the Educational Building which provided rooms and facilities for numerous Sunday School classes and other activities. Also the Chapel was built providing a place for mid-week prayer meetings, as well as a place for beautiful weddings. Dr. John Maddox resigned in 1961 and Rev. Carless Evans was called.

The plan for erection of a new church building was begun on the first day of January, 1961. The church would have a regular seating capacity of 1500. Ground was broken for the construction of the new building October 11, 1964. A part of the old church is still serving the Lord; the columns from the old white church are now part of Roseland Park Baptist Church.

September 11, 1966, the final service was held in the old sanctuary and the new church was dedicated.

The Church continued to grow and during the years Dr. Duncan was Pastor, 1972-1976, the Church recognized the need for a Fellowship Hall, additional Sunday School class rooms and larger office space for the church social events, weekly suppers, Keenager luncheons, noon devotional meetings, banquets and many other activities.

Dr. W.T. Pruitt III served as pastor from 1977-1980. The church was without a pastor from 1980-1982, however, during this time, the church became debt free with all of it’s buildings and land unencumbered.

Dr. Raymon Leake was called as pastor in April, 1982. During his time of service many new ministries were founded including the Picayune Ministerial Association, Christian Care Ministry, Noonday Bible Study, First Baptist Prayer Ministry and the Stephen Ministry. In December 1990 the church voted to build a new educational wing and office complex. The building was completed in April of 1992.

Dr. Leake resigned in 1995 and Rev. Jimmy Albritton was called as interim Pastor. He served until August 1996 at which time Dr. Bill Hardin was called to serve as full time Pastor. He served until April of 2003. Dr. Frank Gunn served as interim preaching pastor until Dr. Keith Warden was called as our full time Pastor in October of 2004.

Dr. Warden resigned in 2018 and Dr. Bo Rice was called to serve as interim Pastor.

As the years have rolled by, First Baptist Church has become a much larger family of many generations, but our mission has remained the same. We seek to bring in people of all ages, build them up in faith, and send them out as fully devoted followers of Christ. “Reaching Every Generation” is the next step in our legacy as a church that has always been ready and willing to add facilities that will help point our community to Jesus. We embrace this legacy, because we know there are still many more to reach.

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. Psalms 71:18 (NIV)

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