The History of Greater Pleasant View Baptist Church

The Founding and Early Years (1894 to 1921)
(Talley, Bradford, Primm and Rogen)
 
The history of a congregation lies within its members and their relationships with each other; and the larger community they are called to serve. Often time when the story is told, it is told in light of the church’s pastoral leadership. Those who tell the story highlight the ministry of the pastor and significant events the pastor has led the congregation through. The history of Greater Pleasant View Baptist Church centers on the personality and ministry focus of it pastors. What follows is a synopsis of the ministry of each man who has had the privilege of leading this congregation. 
 
Reverend Henry Talley - 1894
Long before the church became an organized body, there were two community men, Albert Gregory and Harry Berry (often called Uncle Harry), who would take turns holding "Camp Meetings", held when the two men could secure a preacher. They approached circuit preacher Reverend Henry Talley about setting up a church. In the summer of 1894, Reverend Talley called a gathering under a shade tree on Hillsboro Pike. The spirit at the meeting was high and after service, those assembled had dinner on the ground and the church was organized at this meeting. A building was erected on the side of Old Rock Road (later Sneed Road), atop an almost solid sheet of limestone. Thus, it was nicknamed "Old Rock" which gave the church its identity in the community, although the actual name was Pleasant View.
 
Reverend Tom Bradford
The church was never locked and became a resting place, a shelter and refuge from the sun, storms and other adverse weather conditions. After the death of Reverend Talley, Reverend Tom Bradford became pastor. Church services became less frequent; Reverend Bradford did not live in the community and it is assumed that he had a problem with transportation.
Mother Catherine Smith organized the first Sunday school using the Bible and books with Bible stories. At the end of Reverend Bradford's tenure, Reverend Isaac Berry a member of Pleasant View (also Uncle Harry's nephew) served as interim pastor.
 
Reverend William T. Prim
Reverend William T. Prim was called to the leadership of the church. Reverend Prim enjoyed a long and successful pastorate.
In 1917, the church building was struck by lightning and burned. It was rebuilt in a short time by the community people. Soon after the rebuilding in 1917, Reverend Prim retired because of ill health.
 
Reverend Charles Rogen 1917- 1921
Later that year, a minister from Nashville, Reverend Charles Rogen became the pastor. He worked hard to elevate the spiritual climate and to build the church membership. He saw a need for additional seating in the church. Materials were scarce but he managed to secure boards and planks and engaged the young men in the community in the building of wooden benches to use for seating in the church. After several years of leading this small congregation, Reverend Rogen resigned.
 
Reverend Scott Clayborne 1921-1946
Reverend Scott Crawford Clayborne was called to pastor Pleasant View in 1921. Immediately an alliance was formed between the church and the Benevolent Order #151 Lodge. Because of the very rocky site on which the church was erected and because automobiles had replaced the horse and buggy, a decision was made in 1932 to dismantle the building and reconstruct it on Old Sunny Side school property, which had been purchased by the Benevolent Order. Lorenzo Galloway was in charge of the construction and Alexander (Alex) Bright was in charge of the actual move. When the building was dedicated, Reverend Clayborne changed the name to Greater Pleasant View indicating that the church had advanced.
When Reverend Clayborne came to pastor Greater Pleasant View, he was already pastoring a church that he founded-Clayborne Tabernacle. That church was holding services only on first and third Sundays and on the second and fourth Sundays, Reverend Clayborne would come to Pleasant View.
Near the end of Reverend Clayborne's tenure, he experienced an accident that prevented him from performing as desired. From time to time, he called in Reverend J. J. Smith to assist him especially with baptismal services. The stress of pastoring the two churches and the decline in Reverend Clayborne's health caused him to tender his resignation in the fall of 1946. This was a sad day in the history of the church as he had pastored for 25 years and many members had never known another pastor.
 
Reverend James J. Smith 1946-1951
After a few months of being without a minister, Reverend James Joseph Smith, a firm Biblical protectionist, became the pastor. Ironically, Reverend Smith happened to visit the church on the very day that S.C. Clayborne resigned. Reverend Smith was already pastoring Silver Springs Baptist Church in Lavergne, TN. He reported there on first and third Sundays and was free to come to Greater Pleasant View on second and fourth Sundays. Reverend Smith brought a very aggressive program, set forth a new philosophy of religious commitment, built a solid program for Christian performance and was successful in encouraging a fuller religious participation on the part of the members. He introduced Sunday evening service to the congregation. Under the disciplined approach of Reverend Smith, the church membership grew considerably. In 1951, he indicated that it was time for him to accept a new challenge.
 
Reverend James R. Tate 1952-1956
The leadership decided that a young minister would be good for the church and Reverend James R. Tate came to pastor Pleasant View in the spring of 1952. Reverend Tate was as young rising minister and a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary. He laid the ground work for a modernistic approach to church activity. Tate's soulful singing was a special complement to his persuasive preaching. He introduced offering envelopes to the membership and he was the first pastor to use the "Call to Worship" during morning services. He also eliminated the so called "Mourners' Bench" (often called "Anxious Seat") during revival meetings. The church became a real place of solace and comfort and Reverend Tate was able to win many older community people to Christ. Tate's youth, his Seminary training, his tact and other personal qualities placed the church in a position of charisma in the religious community. The congregation was saddened when Reverend Tate resigned to accept a pastorate in Brooklyn, NY. He had truly been a Balm in Gilead to Greater Pleasant View.
 
Reverend Aaron I. Jones 1957-1959
Reverend Aaron I. Jones, another seminarian, became pastor of Pleasant View in 1957 and immediately built a strong relationship with the youth of the church as was evident in the Sunday school and the ardent youth teaching ministry of this pastor. As he molded his program around youth, he seized the opportunity to build on the ideas and thrusts that had been introduced by Reverend Tate, who also had great appeal for the young people. Reverend Jones also led the church to set up its first checking account for more responsible handling of church business.
The pastor's wife, Mary Jones, who kept busy tending her three young children-all under age five, was extremely proud to prepare the bulletins for Sunday worship. As far as history records, this was the beginning of church bulletins at Pleasant View. These bulletins always carried a Pastor's corner which included a fitting message from Reverend Jones. In 1959, Reverend Jones resigned to accept the pastorate of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church.
 
Reverend Charles D. Powell 1960-1961
Reverend Charles D. Powell came to pastor Pleasant View in 1960 and he remained for only one year. However, in one year he accomplished much. He was an aggressive minister and was determined to lead the church in a Christian pathway. He also gave a lot of attention to the improvement of the building and beautifying the house of worship. Reverend Powell's wife, Essie, was quite energetic and greatly supported her husband in his pastoral work. In addition to singing in the choir, she worked in a leadership role with the youth of the church.
Reverend Powell did not hesitate to pick up the gauntlet and run when he arrived as pastor.
He quickly raised the consciousness of the members with reference to the condition and appearance of God's house. Over the years the building had become worn and was slowly crumbling. Powell initiated and carried out a remodeling of the church interior.
Reverend Powell was a progressive minister and God had much work for him to do. Pastor Powell was called to serve in yet another vineyard that needed a strong leader. In 1961, he resigned as pastor of Greater Pleasant View and became the leader of a congregation in Hartsville, Tennessee.
 
Reverend Robert Trimble 1962-1971
After Reverend Powell resigned, Reverend Anthony Rouquier came and served as interim pastor for approximately six months. During that time, the church deacons searched for a new leader. Reverend Robert Monroe Trimble received the call to pastor Pleasant View in October 1962. He came to the church and saw the need to get the congregation cemented in its religious efforts. A Chairman of the Deacon Board was appointed, nonfunctioning auxiliaries were reorganized and Annual Men's Day and Women's Day were revitalized. He emphasized Sunday school and often taught the adult class. Robert Trimble was compassionate leader whose main focus was spreading the Gospel and saving souls.
While at Pleasant View, Reverend Trimble had the building equipped with running water and indoor plumbing. Further, an official Lord's Supper Table was purchased and modern pulpit furniture was installed. Reverend Trimble was a dedicated leader and an ardent caretaker. After serving the second longest tenure as pastor he resigned the pastorate in 1971.
 
Reverend Charles Dixon 1972-1980
After Reverend Trimble resigned, he recommended Reverend Charles Dixon to Pleasant View deacons. Out of all of the ministers considered, Reverend Dixon received the call to pastor in 1972. He quickly placed before the membership the idea of having worship services each Sunday of the month. The idea was readily accepted. Other progressive moves included the establishment of a Youth Department, Nurses’ Aid Auxiliary and Bus Ministry. The building was expanded, older portions of the structure were renovated, a kitchen was added and the first authentic church pews were installed. Reverend Dixon introduced altar prayer as a part of morning services and tithing was brought into focus and practiced by many of the members. During the Dixon years, there was the writing of the Old Rock Story by George Northern which represented the first attempt at chronicling the church history. Reverend Dixon had an ambitious program and when the renovated building was dedicated in 1977, a time capsule was placed behind the cornerstone as a legacy to future generations.
In August of 1980, Reverend Dixon indicated that the Lord had given him a sign to move on and he tendered his resignation and soon established a church in Nashville.
 
Reverend Larry Couch 1981-1989
Reverend Larry D. Couch, a student at the American Baptist College of the American Baptist Theological Seminary would become the next pastor of Pleasant View. Ironically, a former pastor, Reverend Trimble, was responsible for bringing this young minister to Pleasant View for his first visit. After the search committee had evaluated several candidates for pastor, Reverend Couch was selected and called to the pastorate in February of 1981.
Reverend Couch worked hard to re-establish dedication and commitment to development of a strong church family. This vibrant minister set forth new ideas including re-introduction of printed bulletins for use during morning services and an aggressive building program was established. A Fellowship Hall was added to the building and the church exchanged visits with some out-of-state congregations. The practice of carrying the children on an educational trip following Vacation Bible School was established. The resignation of Reverend Larry D. Couch came in early 1989 at which time he accepted a pastorate in Hartford, Ct.
Reverend Ricky Shaw, an associate minister and a student at American Baptist College of American Baptist Theological Seminary served as interim pastor in early 1989.
 
Reverend Carlton L. Burford 1989-2006
Reverend Burford preached his first sermon on the third Sunday of July, 1989.
The church parking lot was paved and other renovations were made including a new church steeple, a church marquee, beautification of the church exterior and landscaping of the grounds. The church interior was also completely renovated. A scholarship committee was appointed with one responsibility being that of identifying graduating students and giving them recognition and encouragement as deserved. During Reverend Burford’s tenure the membership tripled. In 2006, Reverend Burford resigned as the pastor of Greater Pleasant View.
 
Reverend Curtis Bender (Interim) 2006- 2007
Reverend Binder, who was a retired pastor and had returned to the Nashville from Omaha, Nebraska, served as the interim pastor from 2006 to 2007. His wisdom and experience served to guide Greater Pleasant View through the process of selecting and calling another pastor.
 
Reverend Eric D. Williams 2007-Present
Reverend Williams accepted the call to the pastorate and preached his first sermon in October, 2008. Originally from Mississippi, he commuted back and forth for the first three months in order to fulfill his commitment to Tougaloo College where he was an instructor. During his tenure, he has led this congregation in a reorganization of the church’s core ministries and a revitalization of the Sunday school. He also guided the church through the aftermath of a mudslide suffered during the area wide flood of March 2010.
 
Abridged from “From Whence We Came”, the Greater Pleasant View Missionary Baptist Church History by Dr. Katie K. White and Mr. George Northern.