Mount Olive Baptist Church will have been in South Rome for 122 years this month.
Senior Pastor Steve Caldwell said the church at 17 Pennington Ave. will celebrate its anniversary at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 15. Pastor Michael Daniel of Shiloh Baptist Church in Taylorsville is scheduled to speak.
“We’ve been here since 1898 in the original location and original building,” Caldwell said. “Not many other churches in the area can say that.”
The church started with just six members who left Thankful Baptist Church. They used to meet in a house on Grover Street prior to the founding of the building on Pennington Avenue. The first senior pastor was Reverend Enoch Whorton, and he remained pastor from 1898 until 1913.
Now, Caldwell said, the church’s vision is “going from membership to discipleship.” The principle of that is for members to go out into the community and touch lives.
Once a month, the church gives out free groceries to the public. Caldwell says they do this without any restriction because it’s simply about feeding the community. The church also has an official mentoring program with Anna K. Davie Elementary, which is located right in front of the church.
According to Rome City Schools, Anna K. has the second highest population of black students in the system, falling right behind Main Elementary. Caldwell said this had a lot to do with why the members thought to start the program two years ago.
“This is the only black school in the area,” he said, adding that the church has been pleased with the results of the mentoring program. “The children are definitely our future, and we want to make sure they have the opportunity to be successful.”
Ultimately, Caldwell said he’s excited for the future of the church because of its accomplishments in the South Rome community.
“We want to see the community saved,” he said. “Mount Olive has been a saving station where people can come without being judged and become productive citizens in our community.”