Pictorial History of

New St. John Missionary

Baptist Church

New St. John Building 1950-Present

1950 – present

NSJ Building 1921-1950

1921 – 1950

NSJ Building 1919-1921

1919 – 1921

Historical Highlights

New St. John Missionary Baptist Church

The history of the New St. John Missionary Baptist Church is both inspiring and revealing. Its significance today is as enriching as it was in 1919 when it had its origin in the Benevolent Hall which was located on Peach Street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana under the leadership of the late Reverend Octave Michell of Addis, Lousiana.

The early membership consisted of fifty-nine people, formerly members of the Macedonia Baptist Church. The site on which New St. John Missionary Baptist Church stands today was purchased by its membership with $1,500 received from Macedonia Baptist Church.

On October 31, 1921, Reverend Octave Mitchell was officially elected pastor. During the same year, a congregation of fifty-four members began the erection of a concrete block edifice at the cost of $9,600. When the funds were depleted, prior to completion of the construction, two dedicated members, the late Brother Isom Smith, Chairman of the Deacon Board; and the late Sister Janie Spears, Chairman of the Deaconess Board, mortgages their homes to secure additional funds to complete the edifice.

On November 6, 1921, all debts had been liquidated and the church was dedicated to God. It was in this church that the Fourth District Missionary Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Association had its beginning.

Some of the officers of the early church included Borthers: Isom Smith, Ike Cage, Henry Williams, Oscar Jackson, John Stafford, James Green, Robert Franklin, Otis Criss and Willie Locks. Sisters: Janie Peterson, Malou Cage, Janie Spears, Lucinda Green, Millie Woods, Frozene John, Anna Johnson, Margaret Simms, Julia Lews, Alice Johnson, Rosa Smith Brown-Locks, Josephine Smith and WIllie Bell Monget. In August, 1928, Reverend E.D. Billoupswas called to the pastorate of this church. Under his leadership, the membership of the church increased. Two years later, in 1930, the church building was remodeled. Twenty feet were added and a study for the Pastor was built at a cost of more than $5,000. 

A few years later, Reverend Billoups observed some major defects in the walls of the building and influenced the membership of the church to work toward the construction of another building.

After working for several years to raise funds, construction of the present two-story brick edifice was begun in 1950. In October 1951, this building was completed and was dedicated to God. By April 1954, the church was free of all debts.

In order to provide parking facilities for the church, four lots southeast of the church were purchased by the membership in 1959, at a cost of $20,000.

In May 1960, construction of an Educational Building, The Billoups Center, was begun. This brick structure was designed to provide space for the classrooms, an office, and two restrooms. It was completed in the same year. An additional story was added a few years later. This added footage was designed to provide adequate space for recreational activities, to accommodate larger groups for meetings and to provide space for other church-related activities.

On March 7, 1982, Reverend W. Marshall Myles was called to the pastorate of the New St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the church had some renovations and redecorating done; adding an elevator from the first floor to the sanctuary, more office space, and a commercial kitchen.

New St. John Missionary Baptist Church was composed of the following ministries when Reverend Myles became pastor: Deacon Board, Deaconess Board, Young Adult and Senior Usher Boards, Senior, Young People, and Cherubim Choirs. Missionary Circle, Pulpit Circle, New. St. John Laborers, Prayer Band, Pastor’s Aid Circle, Trustee Board, Brotherhood, Flower Committee, Sunday School and Baptist Training Union, Married Women Fellowship & Service League.

The roster of organizations increased over the years by the additions of several new ones – namely: Department of Christian Education, The Cultural Development Support Guild, Boy Scouts, Scholarship Fund, Usher Board #3, Youth Department, New St. John Boy’s Academy, Senior Wellness Ministry, Sister to Sister Ministry, Social Justice Ministry, Youth Coordinating Council, Vision 2000, Master’s Men, Male Chorus, Voices of NSJ, Refreshing & Renewing Bible Study, Youth Ushers, and a Tutoring Program.

The church has held membership with various organizations and has given financial support to The Baptist World Alliance; The National Council of Churches; The National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc.; Foreign Mission Board; Home Mission Board; The American Baptist Theological seminary; The Louisiana Baptist State Convention; The Fourth District Baptist Association and Leland College through the years.

A Snapshot Through History

Pastoral history

New St. John Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Octave Mitchell

Rev. Octave mitchell

1921 – 1928

Rev. Dr. E. Doyle Billoups

Rev. Dr. E. Doyle Billoups

1928 – 1975

& 1977-1982

Rev. Dr. Leo E. Billoups

Rev. Dr. Leo E. Billoups

1976 – 1977

Rev. Dr. W. Marshall Myles

1982 – present