Highlights of 84 Years
Providence Missionary Baptist Church was founded and organized by the late Reverend Elijah J. Washington in January 1936. The name Providence was selected by the pastor's wife, Mrs. Bobbie L. Washington. Board. Some of the founding members are (from the cornerstone) the late Mrs. Lena B. Darby, Ms. R. L. Ingram, Ms. D. M. Rayford, Ms. P. Swan, and Mrs. Bertha Ratliff. After the demise of Reverend Washington, Providence was built on Broad Street under the pastoral guidance of the Reverend W. L. Terrell. Sister Mariah Jackson McCullough and other members assisted Reverend Terrell by carrying concrete blocks to lay the foundation at the Broad Street site. Reverend Terrell served as pastor of Providence for 24 years, until his death. Others ministers that served as pastor of Providence M.B. Church were: Reverend W. McWilliams, Reverend J. C. Brown (1968), Reverend J. M. Kimble (1974), Reverend C. J. Quinn (1987), and Reverend Scottie R. Williams (1988). In January 1990, the Reverend Jessie Payne, Jr. was selected as pastor.
Under Reverend Payne's leadership church auxiliaries have magnified their roles in the church and in the community. The church membership has steadily grown. The most significant of all the growth in Providence is in its youth membership and participation in Sunday School. In 1996 the church purchased property and land on Carrollton Avenue for the purpose of building a new sanctuary. After some years of planning to build a new sanctuary, as several obstacles occurred, Pastor Payne and the congregation were introduced to the idea of purchasing an existing structure (incomplete) instead of building a new one. The idea was tossed around, and on May 16, 2005, the pastor, officers and 49 members met in the sanctuary of the new structure located at 3400 U.S. Highway 82 East, Greenwood, MS. After a tour of the building, it was the consensus of the congregation that the building be purchased instead of erecting a new sanctuary on Carrollton Avenue. The facility is situated on 10 acres of land and it has adequate classrooms, office space, a spacious sanctuary with ample dressing rooms near the baptismal. On Sunday, November 6, 2005, the Providence family and visitors gathered at the Board Street sanctuary for a departing prayer service. Following the service, Providencees and visitors exited the building for their vehicles in a motorcade which was led by escorts from the Greenwood Police Department to the new sanctuary at 3400 U.S. Highway 82 East. Several hundred worshipers gathered for the dedication. A bright red ribbon encased the front door. Surrounded by other pastors and members of the trustee board, the Reverend Jessie Payne, Jr. led the congregation in a dedication ceremony as some took photographs and others stared hard, as though to imprint the occasion in their memories. Pastor Payne and the Providence family place great emphasis on the education of our children. The Providence children have excelled in high schools, colleges, and universities, both academically and athletically. Providence prides itself with outstanding members who are involved economically, educationally, socially, and politically throughout the community. With the continued contributed financial, material and spiritual support of its members and friends and the devoted leadership of Reverend Payne, Providence will continue to prosper.
Jessie Payne Jr.