Church History

Pilgrim Journey: The History of New Mount Pilgrim

On May 19, 1950, a meeting was held at 1150 West Lake Street in Chicago, Illinois at 8:30pm for the organizing of a church. Sister Lucille Williamson sang, "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross." Bro. James McCoy read the 23rd Psalm and sang "Shine On Me." Prayer was offered by Reverend J.H. Johnson.

The Church name, New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church was suggested by Bro. James R. McCoy. That name was accepted by the motion of Bro. L.H. Hunt and with the second by Sister Lucille Williamson. A slate of church officers were voted into existence. The officers were: Bro. A.D. Simmons, Church Clerk; Bro. James R. McCoy and Bro. A.D. Simmons, Deacons; Bro. L.H. Hunt, Trustee; Bro. James R. McCoy, Superintendent of Sunday School; Bro. A.D. Simmons, Sunday School Teacher; Sis. Lucille Williamson, President of the Pastor's Aide; and Sis. Alice Johnson, President of B.T.U. It was moved by Bro. L.H. Hunt and seconded by Rev. Alonzo Smith that Reverend J. H. Johnson be elected Pastor. Remarks were made by Reverend Johnson and a date was set for the first service. Also present at the organizing meeting were Bro. Albert Taylor, Sis. Carrie Taylor, Bro. Elex Taylor, Sis. Eloise Taylor, Bro. Nathaniel Douglas and Sis. Nancy Douglas.

On July 23, 1950, a Recognition Service was held at 3:30pm. Bro. James R. McCoy sang, "Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone". Bro. A.D. Simmons read the 31st Psalm and Bro. Nathaniel Douglas Sang, "Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow". Pastor J.H. Johnson gave remarks and turned the meeting over to the Council of the Northwestern Baptist District Association. The Council consisted of Reverend E.A. Henderson (Moderator), Reverend Alonzo Smith, Reverend L. Puckett, Reverend D.B. Mootry, and Reverend E. Smith. It was moved by Reverend D.B. Mootry and seconded by Reverend A. Smith that at least three members get letters from their former church in order to had a record of membership. It was also suggested that the record show that there were ten members present at the organizing meeting and recognition service. Reverend E. A. Henderson gave some good advice and prayer was then offered by Reverend L. Puckett. Reverend D.D. Mootry brought the Gospel message. The two visiting churches, Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend D.B. Mootry, Pastor and Commonwealth Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend E.A. Henderson, Pastor, gave an offering.

From 1950 to 1955, under the leadership of Reverend J.H. Johnson, at 1150 West Lake Street, the church membership grew. In the summer of 1955, New Mount Pilgrim moved to 7 North Racine (at Madison).

In 1957, the congregation moved to 1740 West Madison. The congregation continued to grow. In 1963, the church moved to 2708 West Washington. Reverend Johnson resigned and Revered George Henry Smith was elected as Pastor. In 1965, New mount Pilgrim moved to 3332 West Fifth Avenue, where Reverend Smith resigned as Pastor and Reverend James R. McCoy accepted the call of the church to serve as Pastor.

Pastor James Richmond McCoy served tirelessly in building the church. Under Pastor McCoy New Mount Pilgrim experienced a tremendous growth in membership, expansion of the sanctuary, and the building of a Fellowship Hall.

Pastor McCoy was actively affiliated with the National Baptist Convention of America, the Illinois National Baptist State Convention, the Friendship Baptist District Association, the Westside Minister's Conference, and the Urban League. Pastor McCoy served as the Moderator of the Friendship Baptist District Association for over twenty years.

Pastor McCoy's tireless efforts to build New Mount Pilgrim and serve the community brought prestige to the church. He developed the Christian Education program of the church and continued to promote education as key to the future. Pastor McCoy, himself, a Moody Bible Institute student, instilled in his congregation the importance of academic preparation.

Pastor McCoy also developed a great reputation in the Christian community as a Gospel preacher. His beloved congregation was one of his convicting sermon from the prophecy of Jonah; "You Can Get By For A While But You Can't Get Away."

Nearing the end of his pilgrimage, Pastor McCoy's growing vision began to encompass acquiring facilities to further the aims of training children and youth for the Kingdom of God. In his final year, Pastor McCoy became consumed with moving the church from 3332 West Fifth Avenue in East Garfield to the historic old St. Mel Catholic properties in West Garfield. Very few people saw this vision clearly as Pastor McCoy.

The large properties on Washington Boulevard seemed so far-fetched for this Pastor and congregation from such humble beginnings. But what man sees as impossible, faith says that with God all things are possible. From 1992 to 1993 Rev. James Richmond McCoy became a man possessed with this vision from the Lord.

One wonders who but God drives a man to grasp a moment in history and move beyond even his own ability. Who but the Spirit of God empowers an aged man to envision starting over on mountains terrain? In 1992, Reverend James Richmond McCoy at age seventy-five was a man on a new, large mission to move his church from the comfortable surroundings of Fifth Avenue to the uncertain challenges of Washington Boulevard.

The old St. Mel Catholic church properties had laid vacant for several years. Reverend McCoy through a personal relationship with Father Thomas Libera, the pastor of St. Martin Deporres Catholic Church, engineered the move of New Mount Pilgrim to the 4301 West Washington Boulevard location before purchasing these properties from the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. This move was accomplished on short term lease by the faith of the man of God.

On Easter Sunday, April 18, 1993, New Mount Pilgrim marched from 3332 West Fifth Avenue to the landmark facilities at 4301 W. Washington Boulevard. The Spirit of the Lord fell on the great host of worshiper's and Pastor James Richmond McCoy the humble man from Aberdeen, had fulfilled a life goal. This mission was accomplished.

On May 14, 1993, Pastor James Richmond McCoy's earthly pilgrimage had ended and he was called to an even greater and the richest reward.

In the Spring of 1993, the spirit of grief and uncertainty hung over the New Mount Pilgrim congregation. During this period the church had two powerful remaining assets that kept the congregation afloat during turbulent times. This congregation retained a fervent spirit of prayer. And New Mount Pilgrim yet had the presence and stability of spirit of Mother Sarah Ann McCoy.

Also, during this time Deacon Ernest Riley, one of the longest serving church officers, helped keep the lines of communication open with the Catholic Archdiocese and the real estate agent, Mrs. Ann Gaynor or Gaynor Realty. Rev. Frank Cottrell served faithfully as interim Pastor. The people of God, uncertain and grief stricken, were yet confident that through prayer the Lord would guide the congregation through the pastoral selection process.

The process of selecting a Pastor in the Baptist church is a precarious process. During this process, there must emerge some people who are confident that God is in full control and the church must seek His guidance and lean not to their own understanding. In fact, many people inside and outside the congregation could not see how the church would survive such a turbulent time. For not only had the church moved only a few weeks before from a comfortable building into a massive facility without completing the transaction. New Mount Pilgrim was in grief and in between locations. These unsettling times affect greatly the stability of the congregation. and yet, out of this congregation emerged a pastoral search pulpit committee that, by early August, was moving deliberately to prayerfully research the credentials of the young Pastor who performed the burial rites for the lat Pastor McCoy. Pastor McCoy, a close friend of the lat Reverend Elijah J. Hatch, had remarked that Reverend Hatch's son may one day pastor New Mount Pilgrim.

The Chairlady of the Pulpit Committee, Mother Rosetta Simpson knew well the background of the emerging pastoral candidate, Reverend Marshall Elijah Hatch. Other committee members served faithfully in their task of prayerfully probing Reverend Hatch's background and current pastorate. Pulpit Committee members were Bro. Robert Brown, Sis. Ruth Ratliff, Bro. Moses Neeley, Sis. Annie Lee Perry, Sis. Lue Williams, Sis. Elnora Green and Bro. Clifton Stewart. The chairman of the Deacons, Deacon Bobby Scott and President of the Deacons, Deacon Charles Lee Gross, gave their prayerful support as the committee studiously went about their task.

On September 22, 1993, after an outpouring of anointed prayer, the committee offered and the church accepted the Reverend Marshall Elijah Hatch as the fourth Pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor Hatch accepted the call and on the first Sunday in October, Reverend Hatch preached his first sermon as Pastor of New Mount Pilgrim. The sermon's title was the beginning in leading the congregation in continuing the pilgrimage of faith: When nothing is what you see" - keep on looking (I Kings 18:43-44). In October, after a brief installation celebration, Pastor Hatch set about the task of obtaining financing for the church sanctuary and parking facilities on Washington Boulevard.

By January 1994 Deacon Charles Gross had become the chairman of the Deacon's Board. There was need for some restructuring as the new context had caused some to move on to live their Christian experience in a newly organized Church. But by and large the majority of the congregation held firm through turbulent times. Also, there was tremendous congregational growth that enabled the church to sustain itself even during the period of transition.

By March of 1994, a $200,000 purchase of the church and parking properties was obtained through mortgage with the First Bank of Oak Park. The following Board members signed with the Pastor as loan guarantors: Deacon Charles Gross, Deacon Leroy Burnett, Deacon Ernest Riley, Deacon Nathaniel Green, Deacon Albert Taylor, Deacon Robert Wilkins, Deacon Otha Gross, Deacon Allen March, Deacon Don Riley, Brother James Watson, Bro. Jerome Dowdy and Bro. Ervin Davis. During this time it became necessary to remodel the Fellowship Hall, along with a substantial upgrade in the ladies washrooms. Also, by 1996 the church has completed a $65,000 project to build and equip a commercial kitchen facility, women's washrooms, and fellowship hall remodeling on the lower level.

Also during this time of transition in June 1994, Pastor Hatch also completed his second Masters Degree in theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. Pastor Hatch continued his doctoral track while serving as Pastor, and in June of 1997 Reverend Hatch received his Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary.

The pastoral and academic accomplishments of Pastor Hatch during this period are due in part to the support ministry of the church officers and official staff. During this time, Pastor Hatch developed the position of Church Administrator to handle the church business and pastoral assistant ministries of the church office. Brother Clarence B. Hubbert, Jr. fulfilled this role as the first Church Administrator of New Mount Pilgrim. Also full-time building and grounds management, presently Brother Norman Stewart, allows for daily operation of the facilities.

Beginning in the Fall of 1994, Pastor Hatch began the annual sacrificial gift campaign for the Church Anniversary. Continuing the legacy of the late Pastor McCoy, Pastor Hatch lead the church away from reliance upon fundraising, and raised the standard of free will sacrificial giving. These annual campaigns proved quite fruitful and by the Summer of 1997, mortgage retirement stood about $45,000 from payoff.

In August of 1997, while traveling together on a summer crusade in Zimbabwe, Africa, Deacon Jerome Dowdy, a great man of faith, challenged Pastor Hatch to lead the congregation in climaxing the Mortgage Burning Vision of Victory in the Fall of that year. Upon their return home Pastor Hatch refocused the congregation on the Vision of Victory to burn the mortgage by raising $50,000 in sacrificial gifts from the Church 47th Year Anniversary by November of 1997. And even further, Deacon Dowdy rallied the men to collectively pledge $30,000 and challenged the women of New Mount Pilgrim to give the remaining $20,000 altogether.

The Reverend Dr. Hatch had laid hold of the Vision of Victory and now may others began to grasp the fruitfulness of the season.

The true joy of the New Mount Pilgrim story is not measured in monies but in the impact of the church's ministries in the West Garfield community and beyond. While the congregation is grateful to God for delivering the treasured worship facility to its' charge, the church's highest praise to the Lord is offered for God's great deliverance of souls and the Holy Spirit's regeneration of hearts and rebuilding of lives and families.

The New Mount Pilgrim experience is truly more than a building, it is the joy of worship and the challenge of ministry. Pastor Hatch has instituted many new ministries since the church has been on Washington Boulevard.

In 1998, the mortgage was paid off- Hallelujah, and the "Vision of Pilgrim Village" began with Renovation Phase I Completions: North Stained Glass Window, Pulpit/Electrical Work, Padding of Pews, Carpeting of Sanctuary and Air Condition in Fellowship Hall.

In 1999, Renovation Phase II Completions: Completing roofing work, Ladies Washroom in Fellowship Hall (Sanctuary Level), and Choir Loft Extension.

In 2000, Renovation Phase III Completions: Central Air Condition in Sanctuary, Baptistery built, East Stained Glass Window ("MAAFA Remembrance"), Residential Housing on Washington Boulevard corridor ("Pilgrim Village" realized)

In 2001 Renovation/Community Development Phase IV Completions: Single Family Housing, Acquired Rectory, Handicap Accessibility, and Church Exterior Signage.

In 2002 Renovation Phase V Completions: Additional Parking Lot purchased at 4225-31 W. Washington Boulevard.

In 2004 Renovation Phase VI Completions: Property purchased at 4258 W. Washington Boulevard.

"Pilgrim Village" as a catalyst for change and empowerment is an expansion of the vision of ministry of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Based on what the Lord has already done, we yet believe that He will exceed with abundance all that we can ask or think. To God Be the Glory! 

Biography of Pastor Marshall Elijah Hatch, Sr

Marshall Elijah Hatch, Sr. has been the Senior Pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church of West Garfield since 1993.  Born March 11, 1958 in Chicago , Illinois , his spiritual development began in the Shiloh Baptist Church under the pastorate of his father, the late Reverend Elijah J. Hatch.  In 1985 he was ordained and appointed as the Pastor of Commonwealth Baptist Church of North Lawndale.  In the Summer of 1998, he was awarded the Charles E. Merrill Fellowship of Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge , Massachusetts .  This highly coveted fellowship in residence was shared with three other distinguished scholars in the practice of ministry in the Spring of 1999.  In August of 2000, he was appointed Adjunct Professor on the faculty of McCormick Theological Seminary.
Throughout his ministry, Marshall Hatch has commenced numerous innovative community outreach programs.  Most notable among these are:  the Westside Isaiah Plan - Interfaith Affordable Housing Construction; an annual pilgrimage to Zimbabwe, Africa; an Illinois Department of Corrections and Cook County Jail visitation and correspondence ministry; Mountain Men's Ministries and Enterprises; the Christian Sisters Women's Ministries; a Substance Abuse Task Force; and the Pilgrim Community Development Corporation (Pilgrim Village).
Rev. Hatch has a history of civic involvement spanning over two decades.  He served as a member of the Chicago School Board Nominating Commission from 1989-1991.  He served as Moderator of the Friendship Baptist District Association and he is the National Director of Religious Affairs of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.  He also serves on the board of the African American Leadership Partnership and Westside Ministers AIDS Coalition.  He and his church are actively affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, the Illinois National Baptist State Convention, and the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.  He is presently involved in the formation of the Chicago Metropolitan United Power for Action and Justice.
The Rev. Dr. Hatch earned his doctorate and master's degrees in ministry and theological studies, respectively from the McCormick Theological Seminary of Chicago.  He also holds a master's degree in Government from Georgetown University in Washington , D.C.   His bachelor's degree in Political Science and History was earned at Western Illinois University in Macomb , Illinois .
Marshall Hatch is married to the former Priscilla Murchison and they are the parents of four children; Joyce, Janelle, Marshall and Maurice.

A Theology of Remembrance

"This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19
There is a seam of truth from the scriptures that compels us to remember the past and honor the bridges of struggle of those that gave themselves to give us life. Indeed, one cannot be wholly present without the root of remembrance to direct and govern their consciousness. In application of these truths, we offer "Maafa Remembrance 2000" as memorial to the suffering and deaths of countless African men, women and children in the holocaust of the transatlantic African slave trade of the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. With this memorial we carry forth the memory of their humanity into a new millennium and proclaim their personhood as gone but not forgotten.

"Maafa Remembrance 2000" not only acknowledges their humanity, but the memorial acknowledges their loss to humanity, and declares that we can neither be whole, or healed, or reconciled without their remembrance as a part of our consciousness. In a very real sense, our present is incompletely lived until we properly grieve our African kinsfolk who were abducted and enslaved and perished without ritual of remembrance, nor proper burial, nor formal acknowledgement of their humanity. We offer this memorial in connectedness with the communion symbols of our religious tradition and spiritual heritage."Maafa Remembrance 2000" is offered from ourselves, for ourselves, for the healing of our spirits.
twenty-first century work of reconciliation in the Americas. In this offering we ask, how could there be true movement toward reconciliation without acknowledgement of and repair for the continuum of the African Maafa? We submit this offering of remembrance as a contribution to the discourse in making the case that justice and reparation are necessary precedents to healing and reconciliation. As a Christian people, these premises of truth are the core values of our religious heritage.

In the night, He faced the horrors of His arrest and crucifixion, our Lord shared a meal that became for His followers a ritual of remembrance of His suffering and death. Human wholeness and spiritual holiness are grounded in passionate and vigilant keeping of this ritual of remembrance by believers. Believers must ever remain mindful that their blessing of healing and reconciliation was offered through suffering and crucifixion. To remember the suffering and death that gave birth to our life is to remain gratefully whole and whole enough to serve with the mind and heart of Christ Jesus. In remembrance of Him, our Crucified Savior, and of them, the Maafa Slaughtered, we stand ready to serve humanity and to give because we have already received.

As the New Mount Pilgrim Church family, we offer "Maafa Remembrance 2000" as our Christmas gift to the world for healing and reconciliation. A special thanks to Mr. Tom Feelings for giving all of us a glimpse into the souls of the slaughtered and hopes of the survivors. Thank you Rev. Dr. Jesse L. Jackson for your mentoring of the new generation of Christian prophets charged with the ministry of "Keeping Hope Alive". For this cause, we commit to co-labor. Indeed, in this work together we redeem the suffering of Maafa and acknowledge the divine purposes present in our survival. "Millions didn't make it, but I was one of the ones who did!"

Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Marshall E. Hatch
December 5, 2000

Note: Conceived in the spring of 1999 while on Sabbatical and attending Harvard Divinity School as a Merrill Fellow.



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