Built into Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church's celebration of its 100 anniversary was the honoring of trailblazers, service to the community and look into the future.
The centennial salute was noted throughout September and culminated with events Sept. 28-30. It was a reflection of achievements and a ministry as PRBC went outside of the church walls, combining the monthly soup kitchen with a spoken word event, "Rock the Mic." Local Christian poets, hip-hop artists, comedians and singers gathered outside to minister to the community.
As an extension of the commemoration, PRBC will host a Community Health Fair dubbed "A Healthier You" on Saturday (Oct 6). Various health screenings will be available, with an appearance by Miami Heat basketball player, Earl Barron, a former University of Memphis standout.
"We have an ecclesiastical identity to celebrate and to share," said Dr. A. McKinley Royal, PRBC's pastor. "This 100-year milestone was celebrated among saints via worship, yet we shared with the community via service. We do not do change, we attempt to become change agents."
For 100 years, Pilgrim Rest has been a pillar of South Memphis. It was founded in a home on Texas Street, and later moved to Kennedy Street, under the leadership of Dr. Cody M. Lee. PRBC was one of the first African-American churches to broadcast its worship services on WLOK 1340. In addition, PRBC, now located at 491 E. McLemore, has been a longtime supporter of The LeMoyne-Owen College and Lincoln Elementary School.
PRBC's community outreach includes The ESPN Academy, an after-school tutoring program founded by Doris Hill, the wife of the late Dr. Alfred DeWayne Hill, PRBC pastor for 26 years until his death. A community garden has served as common ground for PRBC members and children participating in the ESPN Academy and the PRBC Summer Camp. Student gardeners have planted flowers, fruits and vegetables to provide healthy food alternatives for their families.
In 2008, Doris Hill partnered with Ruth Paul-Caudle, a founder of Spirit of Truth children's school in Haiti. Through their relationship, PRBC provided Haitian children with books and other necessities. A school was built in Haiti in dedication to the late Dr. Hill his passion for education.
(For more information on Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, visit www.prbcmemphis.com.)