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Galilee Church History

On Thursday, June 1964, a group of peace-loving, God fearing people met at the home of Brother Arthur Johnson, located at 832 S. 32nd Street, to sing, pray and worship God without fear of intimidation. In this number there were approximately 44 persons.

During that time four meetings were held in Brother Johnson’s home and the group decided to move to the Baptist Fellowship center located at 1107 West Chestnut Street, which offered them a better facility and much greater space in order to continue their worship of God. Because of exceptional growth, those in attendance decided to organize a Baptist Church.

On Friday, July 31, 1964 under the leadership of Rev. George Thomas Allen, a council of 14 ordained ministers, who represented many churches, met for the purpose of organizing a church. The church was organized with seven members bringing letters from Mt. Moriah Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Nelson Willis. Those persons were Jacqueline Adams, Arthur Thompson, Paul Thompson, Jerry Pointer, Samuel Banks, Doris Anderson and Jennie Mae Brince.

Dr. E. M. Elmore, Pastor of Bates Memorial Baptist Church moderated the council and asked for the name of the Church. Sister Jennie Mae Brince suggested the name Galilee, and it was gladly received. Dr. Elmore asked that a pastor would be called and the Rev. G. T. Allen was unanimously called. Dr. Elmore then turned the proceedings into the hands of Rev. Allen, who then opened the doors of the church for the reception of members. A total of 115 persons were received that evening. Deacons were appointed and they were: George Forrest, Percy Douglas, Lacy Pryor and Jerry Pointer later acknowledged the call to ministry.

Because of the rapid expansion of the City of Louisville Urban Renewal program, the Baptist Fellowship Center moved and we were without a place to worship. However, under the direction of the Almighty God and the dynamic leadership of our Pastor, we purchased the “Royal Theater” building located at 1169 Dixie Highway for the sum of $47,000.00. After only 13 months existence the church moved into its new church home on Sunday, September 5, 1965. Much progress had been made.

After 15 years at the 1169 Dixie Highway location, the Lord opened an opportunity for Galilee to purchase a new facility. Previously, it had been Shawnee Christian Church and Christ Temple Apostolic Church, Inc. The facility was purchased for $50,000. On Sunday, June 3, 1979 Galilee moved into this facility which is now our present church.

In November 1991, after 27 years of service and pastoral leadership, Rev. G. T. Allen resigned his office as pastor.

In December 1991, Rev. Joseph Gerald Nelson was asked to supply the pulpit for the last two Sundays of that year until a meeting could be held to decide the future of Galilee. Dr. A. Russell Awkard, Moderator of the Central District Baptist Association and Pastor of New Zion Baptist Church was invited to preside over the meeting. On Monday, December 30, 1991, the church elected Rev. Nelson to serve in an interim capacity until they felt led by God to call a Pastor and commence with an open search for new candidates. On Sunday, April 12, 1992, the church felt led by God to call Rev. Nelson as the second Pastor of the Galilee Baptist Church and thus a new era had begun!

Sunday, May 24, 1992, was a day of celebration for the installment and investiture service of Rev. Nelson. On that day Portland Memorial Baptist Church with Rev. Arthur Smith and Rev. Nelsons home church was the special guest. During his pastorate, the church reached unprecedented heights in Christian commitment and service. The building that symbolizes Galilee has and is continuing with interior restructuring and modification to include: roofing (interior and exterior), sanctuary painted, carpeting, pews, classrooms and hallways painted, restrooms remodeled , lighting fixtures installed and exterior painting and trim.

The church now has an electric piano, audio equipment, new administrative procedures for Church management, expanded financial planning to including Building Fund Accounts (regular and escrow) and Transportation ministry fund. Pastor Nelson organized the “The Pastor’s Posse”, which supported young men working around the church.

Under Pastor Nelson, Galilee held a “Back-to-School” rally, music workshop and concert in order to take the initial steps in developing a parent support group.

Since 1992, (under Rev. Nelson) we have received more than 60 members into our fellowship. Twenty of those were candidates for baptisms.

On May 15, 1995 our beloved friend and pastor, Rev. Nelson went on to be with the Lord. Our hearts were saddened and broken due to his passing. A memorial service was held on Thursday, May 18, here at the church. The home going service was held on Friday, May 19, 1995 at the Portland Memorial Baptist Church with the Rev. James Anderson Jr., pastor of Forest Tabernacle Baptist Church giving the eulogy (When the season is over… Eccl. 3).

From May until the end of July 1995, various pastors and preachers supplied the pulpit. In August 1995, the Rev. Eric A. Johnson, an associate minister of Canaan Baptist Church was asked to share with us for four Sundays. These four Sundays blossomed into several others. In late September 1995, the committee asked Rev. Johnson to be our Interim Pastor.

Around November 7, 1995 Rev. Johnson was called to be our Pastor. The installation Investiture Worship for Rev. Johnson was held on April 21, 1996. Our guests were the Rev. C. F. Robertson and the New Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas and Dr. Walter Malone Jr. and the Canaan Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky. What a blessing this worship experience was to our hearts.

Since Rev. Johnson’s appointment, Galilee has continued to grow spiritually, physically, financially, and numerically. Rev. Johnson has in many ways continued the vision of our former pastor. Since 1996 over (100) persons have joined Galilee under his ministry. The church has purchased over 125 new hymnals, 80 new Bibles, new handrails, a $2,000.00 set of drums, established the church’s credit and improved our credit rating. Galilee has acquired a sanitation dumpster, new sound system and begun a tape ministry. Much work has been done in the reconstruction of our sanctuary. We have been blessed with the increased attendance in our Church school and our Wednesday Bible study now averages around 90-125 persons. Under his dynamic leadership, we have the G.O. Ministry (Galilee Outreach) and G.Y.M. Ministry (Galilee Youth Ministry) for our youth. Pastor Johnson believes in Christian Education and Holistic Stewardship! As a result of the God given vision of our Pastor and our faithful followship, we have been able to pay the remaining balance on this facility in less than six months! To God Be The Glory!

Also in 1996, Pastor Johnson led the church in to “Vision ‘96”. This was a vision to prepare the church for doing theology and ministry into the 21st century. Some aspects of this ministry are continued development of our Christian Educational Ministries (retreats, training, etc.), Holistic Congregational Stewardship and Stewardship revivals. Liquidation of all debt, full Wednesday evening worship, Congregational Evangelism Emphasis, Community Involvement and Empowerment with a Social Justice Emphasis.

As we continued to move forward through our Pastor’s leadership God blessed Galilee to obtain a copy machine, community grants for $1,000.00, a non-profit mailing status, office furniture, as well as office equipment, continuance of remodeling of edifice, home and foreign missions giving accomplishments we can truly give thanks. Two of our greatest accomplishments this year were acquiring heating and air for the church and our new van for church transportation and we also began our radio broadcast ministry.

As we continue to move forward, we our expecting Greater Things “because of the amazing things God has already done. We are committed to the Kingdom and determined to turn “Visions into Reality!”

As we moved into another year (1997), many other great achievements have been accomplished. With faith and commitment to do what God has given us to do Galilee has successfully accepted many challenges.

The renovation of the lower level ceilings has already been met, along with painting each room to add to the beautification of our church.

As we continue to renovate the church we are now ready to begin replacing windows, doors, carpeting the office areas located in the lower level of the church, re-plastering walls, repairing the floors, restoring kitchen facility and restrooms and the repair of our lighting and wiring. Along with the restoration of our church building, we also have begun to add the office equipment, which will help us to more accurately and efficiently perform administrative procedures. In 1997 we received two computers from Canaan’s Community Development Corporation. This enabled Galilee to meet the challenge of creating a computer literacy program for those who need computer literacy skills. This ministry has empowered them to land better opportunities for employment. Also in 1997, we purchased additional office equipment such as file cabinets, desks and chairs.

In 1998, Galilee’s church ministries continued to grow and be a great success. Another positive event in 1998 was Galilee’s opportunity to travel to Chicago for a weekend. We worshipped with Rev. Robert Bond III and the California Gardens Baptist Church.

We also looked forward to adding new ministries such as: New members class, an after-school program for our youth, G.A.P., G.E.D. Program, AA and NA Ministry and a Men’s and Women’s Ministry. This year we were blessed to have “Sister to Sister Ministry” take place in our church under the direction of some of Galilee’s dynamic “Sisters” in Christ.

Also this year, we were blessed to celebrate with our Pastor and First Lady and Son, their 3rd Year Appreciation. This was truly a blessed occasion to share with our Pastor and 1st Family.

The first annual banquet was held for them at the Shawnee Golf course. We were honored to have as our special guest speaker the Dr. Kevin Cosby of St. Stephen Baptist Church. What a blessed occasion!

Our church is growing and it’s showing! Galilee has yet many other challenges and works to be met. We will build our hopes on high and have faith that God will see us through. Our Biblical purpose: Because we believe that God is a God of order and strategy and because we realize that to go forward we must have an organized plan (vision): we come together to seek God’s will, to bring Glory to God’s Name and plan by faith God’s Work.

In May, 1998 Galilee held its first marriage encounter and retreat weekend at the Holiday Inn Southeast. The purpose of this weekend was to develop, strengthen and nurture family relationships both within our church and community.

In December 1998 the church obtained a $36,000.00 loan. Also in this year Galilee celebrated its 34th year church anniversary. Prior to that revival had taken place and we were truly blessed to have with us the Dr. Caesar Clark from Dallas, Texas.

By the end of 1998 we added additional chairs, bibles and folders for our new members classes.

“Where there is no VISION, the people perish…”- Proverbs 29:18. Because the Pastor and Galilee church family believe that God is moving in a miraculous way, we continue to meet many challenges through the “VISION”. As we move half way through the end of another year (1999) we still have much to be thankful for.

Since January 1999 our G.Y.M. Ministry Advisors planned a black college tour for the youth of Galilee. They were able to visit colleges in the Tennessee area.

During the spring of that year the first Leadership and Staff Development Seminar was held on Friday and Saturday at Masterson’s. We also had the opportunity to take another trip to Chicago and worship with the Rev. Robert Bond III and The California Gardens Baptist Church.

We now have added a more advanced copier that will eliminate having to have outside companies do a lot of the copying work that we can do at our own facility.

The vision of replacing the old broken windows in the church has finally begun! We now have replaced 16 windows and we still have more to go. The replacement of the windows has truly made significance in the appearance of our church building. Along with the new windows we now have installed new doors in our sanctuary. New doors will soon be installed on the lower level of the sanctuary on the 40th street side.

There was work done on our electrical system, which is a major restoration of our church facility.

Along with the many renovations that have already taken place in our church, we now have a more efficient telephone system that was installed, new sound system and addition of three computers that were donated to us by Bell South Mobility.

As plans and preparation began for this year’s 35th church anniversary the cleaning of the basement became a major job. Members devoted time to cleaning and working on getting what will be the Galilee Fellowship Hall ready. Unfortunately the completion of the hall would not enable us to fellowship during this year’s 35th anniversary yet by the Grace of God we shall make plans to worship in the year “2000” in the newly renovated Fellowship Hall.

In closing, Pastor Johnson shall continue to see his Vision(s) for the Galilee Church and Church Family. May we the members continue to stay prayerful for our Pastor and Family, our Church and each other. We must remain obedient in the Word of God and work diligently toward the building of God’s Kingdom.

May God continue to keep you and bless you.