• Wix Facebook page
  • Wix Twitter page

Our History

Home > About > Our History



In December 1901, eight men dedicated to a firm belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and committed to a mutual goal incorporated, according to the laws of the State of Rhode Island, the Olney Street Baptist Church. These men were Mark Morris, Nelson Morgan, Armstead Lewis, Wesley Watson, Benjamin Mabray, John Walker, Frank White and Frank Bowen. A committee of three persons set about the task of securing a building where worship services could be held. On December 19, 1901, the sum of one thousand dollars was paid, and the property located at 30 Olney Street became the home of the Olney Street Baptist Church for a period of fifty-eight years. The first worship service was held on Sunday, December 22, 1901. Reverend W. T. Dixon of Brooklyn, New York delivered the sermon.


The Reverend J. H. Presley served as pastor until February 1902. Several other spiritual leaders were to follow. They were: Reverend E. H. McDonald, Reverend William Cosby, Reverend Louis Boynton, Reverend Jacob Blake, Reverend T. S. Harten, Reverend W. A. Knowlin, Reverend O. St. Paul Thompson, Reverend B. W. Williams, Reverend R. A. Batts, Reverend J. Wesley Hinson, Reverend Samuel B. McKinney, Reverend Water Hoard, Reverend Percy A. Carter Jr., Reverend Paul Thompson, Reverend F. Milton Smith, Reverend Cornelius B. Williams, Reverend Michael C. Turner, Reverend Harold A. Pulley, Dr. H. Lincoln Oliver and Reverend R. Arnett Fugett. Our current pastor, The Reverend Dr. Johnny M. Wilson Jr. took up the reins of Pastor and Spiritual Leader in July 2011.


As a church family we have witnessed significant turning points over the years; one being the Redevelopment Program of 1959 which caused the church to be uprooted for a period of time, during which worship services were held in the vacated Church of the Savior and the Benefit Street Recreation Center. Through the astute business acumen of Reverend Samuel Berry McKinney, the plot of land which bordered Olney Street, Camp Street and Carrington Avenue, was earmarked for the new location of the Olney Street Baptist Church. Shortly thereafter, groundbreaking ceremonies were held in addition to a very rigorous building campaign for the building, which now sits at 100 Olney Street. The first worship service in this new edifice was held on Sunday, July 7, 1963 under the pastorate of Reverend Percy A. Carter Jr. Worship services have been held continuously since that time.


One of the most significant highlights in the life of our church occurred on Sunday, March 11, 2001 when the church family celebrated the burning of its mortgage.