Church History

HISTORY OF MOUNT CARMEL BAPTIST CHURCH

Building A Strong Future From A Firm Past

Mount Carmel Baptist Church began with a small group of thirteen people who met in 1882 to establish a church in West Philadelphia where they could worship God in the Baptist tradition. Speared by the dedication of the congregation, and under the positive leadership of eight pastors, the Church has grown and prospered now for 133 years.

During the early years, there were several physical moves before a permanent location and name for the church was determined. The early ministers—Reverend Lewis Tyler (1888-1892); Reverend Napper H. Hester (1894-1901); Reverend Lewis G. Jordan (1909-1903); Reverend G.C. Coleman (1904-1910); and Reverend Daniel W. Wisher (1911-1912)—contributed greatly to uniting the congregation and building a foundation for a strong Mount Carmel Church.

Leadership stability began with the 19-year tenure of Reverend Thomas D. Atkins (1913—1932). Under the direction of Reverend Atkins, Church membership increased, many debts were paid off and the first pipe organ was purchased. Rev. Doctor Dennie W. Hoggard was called to the Church in 1932 and led the congregation for 31 years, (1932 through 1965). During his pastorate, Rev. Hoggard directed several church beautification and expansion programs. The church edifice was enlarged; new pews, stained-glass windows, and a new pipe organ were a few of the changes that occurred in the Sanctuary. Rev. Hoggard stressed the need for community involvement programs. Mount Carmel purchased and administered the program at the Robert Wood Home for Children. The Church also conducted a nursery and daycare program in the Church. Mount Carmel became known as "The Church in the Heart of West Philadelphia for the Hearts and Hands of the People".

Reverend Dr. Albert F. Campbell guided Mount Carmel for forty-seven plus years, (1966—2013). He defined the Mount Carmel congregation as a ‘People in Pilgrimage’ who depend on God for mercy and guidance as we travel to the Promised Land. He was known as a visionary leader and under his leadership, Mount Carmel gained worldwide recognition as a dominant force for preaching the word, serving the congregation, providing programs for the youth and supporting people in the community. Pastor Campbell was responsible for establishing the Church Mission Statement which defines our goal of meeting the “…spiritual, physical, emotional, social and economic needs of our membership and community”.

Many successful projects and programs were completed during the Campbell Era: the Mount Carmel Garden Apartments to support housing needs in the West Philadelphia community; the burning of a nearly one million dollar mortgage that paid for major church renovations and expansions and for the erection of an Educational Service Building; the purchase of the Community Service Property at 5900 Race Street; the purchase of a new Church Organ; the installation of the Church Elevator; and the renovation of the Bathrooms.

As we moved into the 21st Century, we pledged to be “A Revolutionary Church Engaged in Revolutionary Services to Make a Difference in the lives of our congregation and community”. The Church Ministries addressed this pledge by establishing new programs and outreach projects between the congregation and the community. Pastor Campbell led us to high levels of spiritual enlightenment and discipleship before he retired at the end of 2013 and became our Pastor Emeritus.

December 14, 2014 marked the installation of Reverend Donald D. Moore, as the 9th Pastor of Mount Carmel. We look to the Heavenly Father to give Rev. Moore a clear vision of how we can spread knowledge about: God’s love and his holy words; the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for our sins and salvation; and guidance from the Holy Spirit to love and give service to others. As we stand on the threshold of new leadership, the impact of today’s many spiritual and social issues intensifies the desire of Mount Carmel to move forward as “One Church Working Together”.

History and Archives Committee - 2015