Historical Biography

The history of Providence dates from the year 1870. The church grew out of Friendship Baptist Church on Mitchell Street as one of several missions. In 1870, Reverend Grant conceived the idea of erecting a church at the Mission on Greensferry Street near a branch not far from Chapel Street. The church was to serve as a citadel of hope for a people whose faith had been undermined by the aftermath of the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves. There was a need for a church because many of the ex-slaves settled near the Mission site. Reverend Grant passed before his hopes of erecting a church became a reality.

In 1871, under the latticed branches of a brush arbor, a faithful and devout band of Christians was organized by their first pastor, Reverend George Washington Martin. This group continued to worship under the brush arbor until a church was erected.

The church had a very humble beginning. It was first called Willow Tree Baptist Church because the first services were held under a brush arbor surrounded by willow trees. When a church building was erected, the congregation left the brush arbor to worship in the new facility. It was then that the church received its present name - Providence Missionary Baptist Church. The term missionary was used because churches that grew out of Friendship were first called missions. Reverend Martin had many productive years as pastor prior to his death in 1907.

The years that followed the death of Rev. Martin ushered in new ideas and challenges for a growing congregation. The church was successful in finding many dedicated pastors to carry out the ideas and purposes of the church. While at this location, the ministers who pastored the Providence fellowship were: Reverends Fran Paschal, W.H. Brown, George Archibald, L.H. Ingraham, M.L. Moneylowe, M.L. Green, J.H. Ponders, W.R. Jones and C.D. Hubert.

A redevelopment program in the community during 1934-1938 to make way for the John Hope- University Housing Projects led the fellowship to seek a new site. The church facility was sold and a new church was built at the corner of Larkin and Maher Streets, Southwest. This building was erected under the pastorate of Rev. C.D. Hubert, and was completed in 1941. While the new church was under construction, the congregation worshipped in Sale Hall on the Morehouse College campus.

Dr. C.D. Hubert served as pastor from 1929 to 1944; Rev. Lucious M. Tobin from 1944 until he became ill in 1955; and Rev. C.J. Gresham for several months during the illness of Rev. Tobin. In 1957 the Church called Rev. Walter Raleigh McCall to the pastorate. Rev. McCall served until 1977 and was succeeded by Rev. Bernard Blount from 1978 – 1980. Rev. Phillip Terry served from 1980 to 1985 as pastor. Rev. Vanester Pugh served as interim pastor from 1986 to 1987.

In 1987, Providence called Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley who was an associate pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In 1995, with God’s vision and strong guidance, Providence moved from its Larkin Street location to 2295 Benjamin E. Mays Drive, in Southwest Atlanta. In this new location, Dr. Durley revitalized Bible studies, youth programs, health committees, feeding and clothing outreaches, boy/girl scouting and other missionary efforts. Providence established an on-site South Fulton Red Cross location, a state-of-the-art computer lab, grief and loss support, as well as communication classes that provide for the community-at-large.

Upon Dr. Durley’s retirement in 2012, Providence called Rev. Dr. Damon P. Williams as Senior Pastor. Rev. Dr. Williams was an associate minister at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Williams brings a strong emphasis on Christian education and community outreach. He joins Providence at a time when the church is poised for greater spiritual growth and continued committed service.

Under each pastor new programs have been set in motion, new methods of administration have been employed, and new blessings bestowed. Providence’s doors are always open to those seeking a spiritual home. Our hope is that Providence Missionary Baptist Church will continue to be a tower of strength and a beacon in the service of Almighty God.