Our Church History

 

Mercy Seat Missionary Baptist Church History

Founded: 1918

Mercy Seat is the Holy Temple of God where God meets His where God's spirit indwells the sanctuary and falls upon those who Cherein assemble with open minds and hearts, willing to accept Him. At Mercy Seat, Jesus Christ--God's only Son, is always Center Attraction. The sole purpose of this church is to project Jesus Christ through its three-fold ministry of mission, evangelism, and education. people, Mercy Seat is a holy house---a refuge from the storms of life, an asylum from the burdens of the world, a sanctum sanctorum! It is a house of peace where one can find unspeakable joy! It is a sacred house for God's Holy Spirit dwells herein. It is a house dedicated to God solely for His purpose to work in, work through, and work among His people. Here, He speaks personally to His people through a song, prayer, testimony, and the declared Word. It is a blessed house where God's children come for reproof, repentance, revival, reconciliation, rededication, recommitment, and are received by a loving, merciful, forgiving God.

Mercy Seat is a unique house of worship where saint and sinner both meet on common ground. It is a mysterious house, for here one learns that in order to have, he must give his all; to be happy, he must be willing to suffer; to live, he must die; to be free, he must become a slave for Jesus Christ. The doors of this house open wide, welcoming people of all ages from every walk of life to new life in Christ through His eternal salvation. It stands to remind the world that even in the midst of our present chaotic society, there IS an answer to every problem and there IS a better, more abundant way of life.

Mercy Seat Baptist Church is located in the heart of the Central West End of St. Louis, Missouri and stands as a beacon light in the community, signaling men, women, boys, and girls to the safety of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Mercy Seat humble beginnings originated in July of 1918 within a little frame building located at 3500 Bernard Street in the infamous Mill Creek Valley. This church was organized by the late Rev. Starks and received its name, MERCY SEAT. from the late Mother Nancy Lewis who had belonged to a church in the south bearing that name.

The Rev. Starks pastored for a very short period of time and Rev. R. E. Poole was called to the pastorate and served from 1918-1925. The church prospered under his leadership and began making plans for expansion. Rev. Poole, along with the Mercy Seat Baptist Church members, organized a group of children and named it the Sunshine Band. Unfortunately, Rev. Poole suffered a stroke and was unable to continue to serve. Because of his physical impairment, Rev. Poole offered his resignation and asked the church to pray for a new pastor.

Rev. M. J. Jackson was elected pastor in 1925 and in 1926, the church decided that they would attempt to buy a more modern building with electric lights and inside plumbing. We marched to 3444 Walnut Street upstairs apartment which generated additional church income. During his tenure. a more excellent location with an the church membership greatly increased.

Rev. Elcue Laws of Hamilton, Ohio accepted the call to become the fourth pastor of Mercy Seat M. B. Church. Rev. Laws served for only two years with In 1927, Rev. L. O. Guyce succeeding him. He too served for only two years, and in 1931, The Rev. J. W. Phillips followed him.

Rev. Phillips congregation. Upon Mercy Seat Family.

was succeeded by Rev. A. F. Smith who was pastoring a small acceptance of Mercy Seat, his small congregation merged with the At the end of this pastorate, Rev. Elcue Laws was called again for a second term. After serving this time, he was followed by Rev. F. Sheppard.

During this era in its history, Mercy Seat was on the decline and its membership had decreased. There was a foreclosure on the church mortgage which caused the church to move in 1934 to a small location on the corner of Leonard & Market Streets. After the resignation of Rev. Sheppard, a few dedicated members were determined to work and pray, to stay and hold on, to rebuild the church both physically and spiritually. In 1936, the church moved to 2750 Clark Avenue, remaining in the Mill Creek Valley. Hearing of a dynamic young minister with great potential, the church invited him to come to preach. There was an immediate bond and the church voted unanimously to elect Rev. Roosevelt Brown as pastor. The church had only eighteen members. The church began to grow and take on new life. The membership increased greatly, outgrowing the place of worship. The only remedy was to secure a larger place, so the church moved a few doors away to 2758 Clark Avenue.

Four years later, on the second Sunday in July 1940, the church marched to 2730 Bernard Street. God was richly blessing Mercy Seat. While the church was still rejoicing in its prosperity, the building suffered two fires which did extensive damage. But that did not hamper its growth. The Mercy Seat Family bonded itself closer together, repaired the damages, redecorated the church, and expanded a little more.

In 1959, with the changing times came changing neighborhoods and the urban renewal project for the Mill Creek Valley. Mercy Seat was forced to look for a new site, purchasing a lot at 4424 Washington Boulevard during an era when the law prohibited the sell or lease of property in the 4400 block of Washington to Negros. With plans to erect a new edifice, Mercy Seat prayerfully persevered, and on February 28, 1960, we marched to our present location, later purchasing a house next door, to the east of the church.

Rev. Roosevelt Brown, with the help of God, made great accomplishments at Mercy Seat. We purchased new pews, a baby grand piano, a Hammond organ, kitchen appliances and utensils, and dining furnishings. The church purchased two additional bulidines to the east of the church Afer only five year, on Sunday; February 2, bulbil one church hold its mortgage burning ceremony- helie fitt foft the mortgage the Sulling and all its contents and other properties-being debt free. Rev. Roosevelt Brown continued to preach the gospel of our Christ and the church grew spiritually.

On July 6, 1984, after giving service to Mercy Seat Baptist Church for forty.
eight sears, Rev. Roosevelt Brown went home to be with the Lord God had trilf
blessed him with wisdom and understanding whereby through his efforts under the
direction of God, he laid the strong foundation whereupon we shall continue to build

In August 1985, Rev. Dr. James Brown, Sr., being raised in Mercy Seat from 1936, was elected as pastor and on Sunday, September 12, 1985, he accepted the call and assumed the responsibility as the eleventh pastor of the church. Under the direction of God, Pastor James Brown, Sr., presented a proposal to the church at the time of his election, with his primary goal was that Mercy Seat be effective in her three-fold ministry of mission, evangelism, and education. He earned the respect, support, and fellowship of the Mercy Seat Family as we endeavored to fulfill every
phase of that proposal.

Our Tuesday Evening 6:00 P.M. Prayer Service undergirds our weekly Bible Study. Here, fervent prayers transcend earth carried on the wings of faith to be laid at the feet of God to be interpreted and translated by Holy Spirit petitioning blessings upon Mercy Seat and this world, resulting in rich blessings upon each of us! Because of his love for God and God's Word, Pastor Brown instituted a weekly
Bible Study Program that provided instruction for ages 3-103. Through the declaration of God's Word being studied, researched, and presented on each age level, many souls were added to the Mercy Seat Family, making our total membership over twelve hundred. Many of these persons came as a result of the Bible Study.

The Children's Church was organized in April 1996, offering a learning worship experience for children ages 3-9. Plans are underway to increase the age limit to eleven (3-11) years. They have their own worship service each Sunday and on First & Second Sundays they come to the main sanctuary for communion and for baptism. To aid in advancing the ministry of this church, Rev. Brown led the church in the purchase of two fifteen passenger vans, one para-lift equipped for our handicapped and non-ambulatory members. The vans were replaced with a twenty-four-passenger bus in 2002. The church program is designed for total membership involvement and participation from our little tots to our Golden Ages. Not only did he strive to provide or the spiritual enrichment and fulfillment of the membership. but also for the Potomac, social, recreational, and Christian education of each member. Members participation is offered for all members-to in role seniors-through twenty-two ministries, auxiliaries, groups, and organizations. Under the leadership of Pastor James Brown. Sr. growth and worship are fence demanded that we expand our met, row be fine a staunch advocate of Christian Education, under divine Breton, healed us not only into a program in expand and remodel our sanctuary, b' Ines focal needed classrooms and a Renault to assembly hall, thereby enhancing the focal point of our ministry evangelism, and education is that we may glorify God of mission, Growth also necessitated additional parking which led to the purchase of two lots directly in the rear of the church at 4423-2431 Olive and the demolition of We house east of the church at 4418 Washington Boulevard to provide parking space, the purchase of lots west of the church 4448-4452 Washington Boulevard, the apartment building west of the church at 4432 Washington Boulevard, and the purchase of lots across the street at 4433-4437 Washington Boulevard
the Concerned for the total welfare of man, he was divinely inspired to lead us in construction of housing for our senior citizens, The Mercy Seat Apartments November 1996 marked the completion of this 43-unit senior apartment complex located on the west lot at 4452 Washington Boulevard. The old apartment building located at 4432 was demolished and the site is now a parking lot for the church. All of the other listed lots are used for church parking with the exception of 4433-4437 Washington Boulevard which will be used as a mini picnic/recreational area.

In 1999, we purchased lots in the rear of the church at 4433-4437 Olive. These lots are also being used for church parking with other future possibilities. On July 25, 2002, during our 84 Church Anniversary Celebration, Mercy Seat held its mortgage burning celebration for the Church expansion project that began in 1990.

In 2004, the installation of an elevator that travels from the Lower Level, the Sanctuary Level, up to the upper level (Choir Room & Offices) was completed on the southeast side of the church. Future plans are for the erection of a facility that will provide additional classroom space, a child development center, a recreational center, and a banquet hall, all under one roof.

In 2005, continuing the legacy of Dr. James Brown, Sr., Mercy Seat Missionary Baptist Church was honored as Church of the Year by the St. Louis Argus Newspaper and Pastor Brown was awarded the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award as pastor.

On December 23, 2010, because of his dedication, commitment and service to
Mercy Seat Missionary Baptist Church and the community, Alderman Terry Kennedy
introduced an ordinance authorizing and directing the Street Commissioner to take all
actions to honorary designate the 4400 block of Washington Avenue as "REV. JAMES BROWN. SR. AVENUE".

In January 2014, during an annual business meeting, Rev. Dr. James Brown, Sr. announced his retirement from Mercy Seat Baptist Church, becoming effective November 18, 2015, completing his 30-year tenure as the 11' pastor of Mercy Seat Missionary Baptist Church. As We began our Pastoral Search process, Pastor Brown was unanimously bestowed with the office of Pastor Emeritus and volunteered to
remain as the Interim Pastor until the church was blessed with a new pastor.