“Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:19-20
(This bit of scripture served as the inspiration for the organization of PHBC.)
In the spring of 1912, four women, feeling the need for a Baptist church in the Pulaski Heights community, formed a circle for prayer and Bible study. Mrs. C.L. Durrett, Mrs. C.B. Maxwell, Mrs. A. Westbrook, and Mrs. T.G. McKenzie chose “I Love to Tell the Story” as their representative hymn. As the group grew larger, the afternoon prayer circle transformed into an evening prayer meeting to make it more convenient for others to attend.
Originally, meetings were held in members’ homes, but as the group grew, it was clear that a more central location was needed. So the women worked until they had $70.00 in the treasury and used the money to make a down payment for three lots between Rose and Walnut on Prospect Street, now Kavanaugh Boulevard. Dr. John Christian, secretary of the State Mission Board, shared the women’s interest and called a meeting for local Baptists and other interested individuals. At the meeting the purchase of City Hall and the City Auditorium, both of which were up for sale, was considered. A $4,000.00 loan from the State Mission Board was secured, the buildings bought, and the four women were appointed to secure signatures of people interested in being charter members.
On August 30, 1913 the Pulaski Heights Baptist Church was organized. Forty-five people attended the first service, and there were seventy-two charter members. The first pastor was Dr. E.P.J. Garrott, who served until 1915. During this time the women of the church denied themselves shoes, dresses, hats, and home furnishings in order to pay off the $4,000.00 loan. However, in spite of all their sacrifices, they were unable to pay off the debt. Judge Manning, one of the church’s members, went to visit the Home Mission Board in Atlanta, returning with the most welcome news that the board had agreed to take over the debt.
Before long, however, the church members found themselves once again in the midst of financial troubles. Loss of the building seemed inevitable. Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Taylor, SBC missionaries endorsed through the Foreign Mission Board, gave $100.00 to the church upon their return from service in Brazil. This generous gift inspired other members to do likewise. Before long, the entire debt was paid off solely by gift donations. As a point of pride, prominent in those days, no money was raised by benefit suppers, plays, or sales of any kind.
Beginning in April of 1942, and continuing until 1971, Dr. W. Harold Hicks served as pastor. His wife, Maurine, and children Joe, Bill, Catherine, and John, were an active inspiration during his tenure. During this time the church was committed to a growth program that demanded a larger sanctuary. This was delayed during World War II. After the war membership boomed and finances grew, making the dream of an adequate edifice a reality. On January 1, 1950 ground was broken and we entered our beautiful new sanctuary in 1951.