Founded over 159 years ago, Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church holds a significant place in the rich history of Richardson, Texas. As one of the oldest churches in Dallas County, it stands as a testament to the enduring faith and resilience of its community.
In the summer of 1864, a group of black missionaries gathered beneath the shade of a majestic elm tree in the White Rock Settlement. These brave individuals, in the face of the law prohibiting slave congregations without a white overseer, were joined by Reverend Robert Fabius Butler, a white circuit preacher. Drawing inspiration from Deuteronomy 34:1, they christened their congregation Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church. The founding deacon board, composed of resilient individuals such as John Huffman, Dan Howard, Sam Fowler, William Phifer, Tobe Howard, and Jack Saunders, blazed a trail for generations of Pisgahites to follow.
In 1886, the church embarked on its second major dedication, deepening their commitment to serving God. Two years later, Mount Pisgah’s original trustees—Sebanon Clark, Tobe Howard, William Phifer, and Jack Sanders—negotiated the purchase of the first church site at 14000 Preston Road from William and Elvira Wilkerson, a formerly enslaved couple. The construction of the original structure, reminiscent of a long and narrow shotgun house, relied on water drawn from a well that still remains on the property and heating from a potbelly stove.
Throughout the years, as the surrounding community evolved and circumstances shifted, Mount Pisgah stood strong. In 1945, a new church structure was erected on Preston Road, using rocks sourced from Jacksboro, Texas. This new monument, skillfully built under the guidance of carpenters Al and Wash Grant and with the assistance of the devoted men of the church, became an enduring symbol of faith. Fondly referred to as “The Rock” by many generations, the origins of this moniker are believed to be rooted in the location within White Rock Settlement or inspired by the scripture, “Upon this Rock, I will build my church.”
Mount Pisgah’s commitment to serving the Lord led to three more significant dedications throughout its history. In 1978, adjacent land was acquired at the Preston Road site, allowing for expansion and the addition of a new parking lot. On April 30, 1981, the church purchased a three-acre church complex at 11611 Webb Chapel Road, five miles west of the Preston Road location. Then, on February 14, 2016, Mount Pisgah found its current home in a spacious two-story building at 1010 and 1020 Sherman Road in Richardson, Texas. This move not only doubled the physical footprint of the church but also created new opportunities for greater service to God’s kingdom.
In recognition of its historical significance to Dallas County and the State of Texas, the Texas State Historical Commission granted Mount Pisgah a Texas Historical Marker in January 2019. This marker, unveiled in September 2020, proudly stands at 14000 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas, bearing Atlas number 5507022457.
Over the years, Mount Pisgah has been shepherded by numerous dedicated pastors, including Reverends Robert Fabius Butler, Elder Wyems, Elder Shaw, Pitman, Stewart, Drake, Harns, Ballenger, Hayden, Henry Watson, Willie F. Moore, James McGlover, Cecil Smith, Sr., and Robert W. Townsend. It is with great pleasure that we announce the newest Senior Pastor of the oldest African American church in Dallas County, S. Michael Greene, who assumed leadership in May 2023.
As we reflect on the extraordinary journey of Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, we celebrate its unwavering commitment to faith, community, and service. The church’s remarkable legacy continues to inspire and uplift, reminding us all of the enduring power of God’s love and the transformative role of faith in our lives.