Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church
In the year 1889, the Reverend William H. Bailey in a double tenement house began a small mission known as North 6th Street Baptist Church. The first Revival conducted by the Reverend James C. Harding, resulted in many additions. Such rapid growth of the membership required partitions to be removed to accommodate the overflow congregation. After a few years of laborious efforts, the Reverend Bailey left to further his Christian Ministry.
The Reverend James T. Tunstull, Sr., was called to pastor the Church, which was still known as the North Sixth Street Baptist Church. A highlight of his administration came in 1913 when the State Convention and Sunday School Congress convened and accepted the North Sixth Street Baptist Church as an affiliate member. Reverend Tunstull led the congregation for more than twenty-five years before resigning.
From 1920 until early 1921, the Church was served by an interim Minister, the Reverend Dero W. Stewart, and later by the Reverend Andrew J. Moore, who was full time Pastor for four years. A storm that partially destroyed the modest frame structure used for church worship, forced the Pastor and forty-five-member congregation to relocate under the Cleveland Street viaduct hence, Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church.
The church was established as Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church on July 1, 1922 and shortly afterward purchased 1.26 acres from the City of Nashville. This property is the site of our present sanctuary location.
In 1926, the Reverend Edward D. Taylor became Pastor briefly succeeded by Reverend Sam C. Woodard. During the pastorate of Reverend Woodard, plans for a new church were discussed and on June 7, 1929, the Officers and Members voted to build a new and larger sanctuary. The congregation went into camp under the Cleveland Street viaduct during the construction of the new edifice. Successes of Reverend Woodard include the organization of the first Usher Board and the organizing of the first Junior Choir. After the completion of the new structure, the congregation entered its present site at 608 Cleveland Street. After a few years of service, on March 28, 1933, God led the Officers and Members into calling as Pastor, the Reverend William M. Pitts. Phenomenal growth of the membership invited additions to the building and significant enhancements.
The popularity of Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church spread widely and it became known as headquarter for preaching of the gospel. Annually, the fourth Sunday in October, Reverend Pitts preached “The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest” to enormous audiences. The Reverend Curtis E. Bender followed the dynamic Reverend Pitts as Pastor in March 1969. During his pastoral administration, the membership continued to increase and 506 persons were united with Christ.
Other accomplishments of the Bender years were organizing of the Boy and Girl Scout Troops, the Nurses’ Guild and Beautifying Club. Additional land was acquired, the parking area paved, new bulletin board erected, and massive plans made for building a new edifice were his significant contributions toward enhancing the image of Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church.
The prayers of the Church were answered again when the Reverend James Kenneth L. Alexander accepted and assumed pastoral duties Sunday, December 23, 1979. Under his guidance and leadership, the membership continued in growth and all new members were enrolled in an orientation class where the Baptist Doctrine was discussed and taught. Several administrative improvements were established during this watch and a new church van purchased.
Reverend Alexander was sincerely dedicated to the Spiritual, physical and material needs of the Church. Much was accomplished during the 29 years he was at the helm, with the cooperation and dedication of the membership.
A dream was realized November 13, 1983, when Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church observed groundbreaking services as a celebration for construction of a new edifice to be erected at 608 Cleveland Street. Demolition of the old structure was held in April 1986, and construction of the new structure began shortly afterwards. Completion of this project became a reality in September 1987 and on October 4, 1987, the Pastor, Official Board, Members and Guest marched triumphantly into the new Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church, and to God be the Glory!
The Church, through Reverend Alexander’s leadership and God’s guidance, continued to provide spiritual programs that reached out to the community to tell sinners about God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Other enriching and meaningful opportunities to enhance one’s relationship with Jesus Christ were provided through: Revivals, Tutorial Services, Counseling Sessions, Senior Citizen organization, Concerned Christians, weekly Bible Study, Workshops for Ministries of the Church, Youth Education Program, Male Choir, the Drill Team, New Membership Class, Children’s Church, Praise Dancers, Mimes and Nursery.
In the year 2000, God blessed Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church to pay the balance of the mortgage early and on September 3, 2000 the Church celebrated our 111th Church Anniversary and Mortgage Burning Service. As the Church continued to pray, God continued to bless us. In 2001 and 2002 the Church purchased properties consisting of 1.71 acres on the northwest side of North 6th and Cleveland Streets. More modernization enhancements were completed.
On March 29, 2009, Pastor James K. L. Alexander retired after 29 years of faithful service and the Church began to pray again for God to Bless us with a spiritual leader. On Thursday, December 17, 2009 the Church voted and Reverend Doctor Donald Snead was chosen as our next Pastor. Dr. Snead accepted the call and assumed pastoral duties on Sunday, January 31, 2010.
Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church began a new chapter in its history in 2010. With the installation of Pastor Snead, the church is undergoing structural reorganization for the purpose of providing more efficient ministries to the membership and all who are and will be served by the Church. The trend began in 2010 and now we are moving forward in our mission as “A Warm –Hearted Church with a Christ-Centered Message.”
Source: venue website