Gilt Edge Baptist Church Celebrates 100 Years | New

In 1921, a group of Christian believers dreamed of founding their own church. Withdrawing from the community of Trinity Baptist Church, the small group set out to make their dream a reality.

Brown’s Mission was founded under the pastorate of Edward D. Brown at 9th & Missouri Avenue in Jeffersonville. Later, land and a building were purchased at 7th & Missouri Avenue from Mr. Charles Thomas for the sum of $1,000.

Thanks to their commitment and determination, they were able to liquidate this debt in 90 days. After the mortgage fire, the Mission’s name was changed to “Gilt Edge Baptist Church”.

The following was published in The Evening News on December 4, 1924:

“Tower. ED Brown, pastor of Gilt Edge Baptist Church, is the first black minister from Jeffersonville, IN to install a baptismal pool in the church. Pastor Brown was known and highly regarded as the greatest builder of Indiana and Kentucky state churches.

In 1926 Reverend Isaiah H. Mason became the pastor and remained for three years.

In 1930, Marshall L. Gardner was called to lead the church. He served for 30 years until illness forced him to leave the pulpit in 1959. He remained pastor emeritus until his death on October 15, 1960.

In 1959 Robert E. Campbell became the pastor of the church. The church had to relocate due to the construction of the Interstate Highway (I-65).

In 1962 the church was granted land at 1713 Green St. in Jeffersonville.

Reverend Campbell served for 13 years until his death on March 19, 1972. In August 1972, Douglass L. Motley Jr. became the pastor.

Pastor Motley initiated and supported various programs throughout his 40 year tenure at the church.

Some of the highlights of his legacy include: ML King Food Pantry, first among Jeffersonville churches to become a life member of the NAACP, established radio and prison ministries, first site of Title VII nutrition program for aging in this area, new sanctuary added to the existing church in 1984, burnt off another mortgage in 2002, Kings Table Soup Kitchen was established to feed the homeless, in partnership with food ministry Dare To Care, and Debbie Hillman became the church’s first female deacon.

Rev. HD Cockerham stepped in as Acting Pastor in March 2011. Then the church welcomed Rev. Victor Vinson as the new pastor. He served for five years.

Pastor Darrell K. Nathan was installed as senior pastor on March 16, 2019.

The church physically closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic and reopened on Psalm Sunday March 28, 2021. Pastor Nathan’s leadership has kept the church spiritually connected through the media platforms of the Remind messaging system, lines of teleconference, Facebook and YouTube. During the summer of 2020, the church held several Park and Praise Sunday services.

This synopsis does not tell the whole story.

Gilt Edge is grateful that Pastor Nathan is here to guide us towards the 100th anniversary of the Church on July 25, 2021. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary, a special worship service will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 25.

Martha J. Finley