The Mission Baptist Church began having services in the large upstairs auditorium of what was then known as the Delcia Harper Memorial School for Negroes. After meeting there for several months, the church members looked for a dedicated place of worship. On May 24, 1926, this present site on which East End Missionary Baptist Church stands, became the new home for the community. In 1926, the front of the church faced Bulluck Street, which was later named Magnolia Drive, and the small front entrance contained the bell tower. A potbellied wood and coal stove heated the church, and the men were responsible for making and keeping the fires going. There were outdoor toilets and no running water. Neighbors donated water when it was needed. The seats were handmade pinewood benches. The cost of the building was $ 2,030.00 at 6% interest, which resulted in monthly payments of $25.00.
During this time, church bells were rung to remind people to come to church. This is a tradition that should have been carried into today! Brother John A. “Puddy” July and Brother Frank Lucas were bell ringers. Sister Beatrice July is also remembered as one who rang the church bell.
Reverend John Alexander July was Founder and pastor of Mission Baptist Church. He faithfully preached and taught the Scriptures-God’s Holy Word! Baptizing was done in the Tar River near the Falls.
The deacons, as many as can be remembered, were Brother Melvin July, Brother William Henry Wilder, Brother Green, Brother Henry Lyles, Brother Sanders, Brother Brockton, Brother Ben Thomas, and Brother Columbus Savage. The Trustees were Brother Robert Brown, Brother Norfleet Lewis, Brother Melvin July, Brother Robert Savage, and Brother John A. “Puddy” July.
Sister Nina Williams is remembered as the mother of the church who cooked the communion bread for Holy Communion. The worship services, the Sunday school, the prayer meeting, B.Y.P.U. and choir rehearsals were held weekly. The Pastor, Reverend July, preached at most of the services unless there was a visiting minister or special meetings, such as two-week revival services.
The church was filled with heavenly singing voices and music from the congregation and the choir. Pastor July, a founding member of the July Quartet, was an accomplished soloist who often led the congregational singing and taught others to sing using such words as common meter, long meter, etc. The July Quartet was in popular demand in this area. Mrs. Olive Harper, wife of Rev. J.B. Harper and principal of Harper School, was the first pianist. The first Sunday School Superintendent was Sister Mary Pope, who was later elected secretary.
Brother Norfleet Lewis also served as Sunday School Superintendent. The Sunday school met each Sunday at 2:00 P.M. There were classes for adults and children. Brother Frank Lucas taught the children’s class.
Some of the members, including the pastor and his wife, are Norfleet Lewis, Estelle and daughter Jessie Mae, John A. “Puddy” July, Jr., Independence and Mozelle July, Melvin and Redonia July, John and Mary Maxwell, Noah and Maggie Hill, Brother Brockton and his wife, Sister Alice Bartley, wife of Elder Josh Bartley, Sister Emma Lee Fairley Batts, Sister Naomi Fairley Williams, Sister Hattie Savage Willis, Mother Elnora Fairley Forbes and Reverend Milton Fairley.
The church has been blessed to have strong leadership throughout its history. Reverend J.H. Staton served as pastor of East End for thirty-eight years until his retirement in 1987. Reverend Samuel Clemons served as pastor from 1989-1995. While serving as pastor of East End, he headed the project of renovating the church sanctuary and annexing a Fellowship Hall. Reverend Ethan Arrington served as pastor from 1997 – 2002. Reverend Mack E.Battle was elected as pastor on December 12, 2003 and began to serve January 4, 2004.
We praise God for what He has done in and through the Mission Baptist Church, and for what He is doing, and will do in and through the present East End Missionary Baptist Church. This church has been the cornerstone and a beacon light for the community for over ninety-three years.
East End Missionary Baptist church celebrates the blessings of having known great leadership throughout its history. The following ministers have served as pastor of the Mission and or East End Baptist Church—they are listed in their order of their service:
We Have Come this Far by Faith
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:3
President: Calvin Coolidge
V. President: Charles G. Dawes
1st-Class Stamp: 2 Cents
Mack E. Battle, Senior Pastor of East End Missionary Baptist Church and native North Carolinian, grew up in the Swift Creek community of Nash County where he was a faithful member of the Swift Creek Missionary Baptist Church. Even as a young man walking the halls of his Alma Mater at Northern Nash Senior High School, Pastor Battle knew that he would share his special relationship with Christ with others. His desire to know Christ and to share his knowledge of Christ, led him to join Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church where, in 1982, he accepted and dedicated his life to the Lord.
For over twenty years, between 1982 and 2002, Pastor Battle served the Lord through his deeds and prayers as a member and leader of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. His list of accomplishments while at Ebenezer includes serving as:
During his service at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Battle became an ordained Deacon in 1986.
Accepting his call into the ministry in June 2001, Pastor Battle was licensed as an Associate Pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. Continuing on the path that God set before him, Pastor Battle became an ordained minister of the Gospel in April 2003. Following his ordination, he served as Interim Pastor of Hillsdale Missionary Baptist Church in Rocky Mount from June 2003 to December 2003.
On January 4, 2004, he accepted the prophetic charge as Pastor of the East End Missionary Baptist Church. To foster his desire to reach an even broader spectrum of those in need, in September 2004, Pastor Battle completed his certification in Pastoral Care Counseling from the American Association of Christian Counselors in Forest, Virginia.
Pastor Battle was employed with the Hospira Corporation (formerly Abbott Laboratory) for thirty- two years.
Pastor Battle and his wife, Deborah Joyner-Battle, have two adult children, Kesha Battle-Bulluck and Mack Battle, Jr., and four grandchildren. He is the fourth son born to Deacon Caesar and the late Deaconess Hazel Battle of the Swift Creek community in Nash County. He has seven siblings and is the second son to be called into the ministry. Family unity is very important to Pastor Battle, so he developed a family music outreach ministry in 1996. They were known as “The Battle Gospel Singers.” They have traveled from the Capital to the Coast singing God’s praises.
Reverend Battle has great love and compassion for all mankind and firmly believes that, “you don’t look down on a man, unless you are willing to pick him up.”
Sister Deborah Joyner-Battle accepted Christ as her personal Savior January 20, 1980. Since then she has been active in building up the body of Christ. Sister Joyner-Battle’s spiritual gifts were developed and nurtured in a Christian home by her parents, grandparents, extended family and the entire village of rural Nash County.
She received her formal education from Southern Nash Senior High. She holds an Ed.S. in Counseling, a MAEd in Counseling and a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology. Sis. Battle is a licensed and Certified Counselor and Media Coordinator. She has served as a counselor in the educational arena in the high school, Nash Community College and East Carolina University. Sis. Battle has also served as a Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, Family, Bereavement, and Triage Counselor. Lady Battle taught Psychology and Sociology at Shaw University. She has also served as a travel and tourism planner/consultant. She has coordinated national and international tours.
She has over two decades of experience in church administration, public relations, and advocacy. She is a strong advocate for the “broken hearted and down-trodden” victims of political/social change, the elderly and persons whom human rights are violated.
She is currently a Diamond-Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Sis. Joyner-Battle is a member of Chi-Sigma Iota, Psi-Chi, American Counseling Association, North Carolina Association of Counselors, and National Domestic Violence Association. She is a member of the Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a former member of North Carolina State and Rocky Mount Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. She has received numerous awards for her efforts in making her community a better place to live and for advocating for “the least of these.”
She loves her husband and family very much. Lady Battle is married to the one whom her soul loves, Pastor Mack E. Battle, Senior Pastor of East End Missionary Baptist Church. They have two adult children, Kesha Battle-Bulluck and Mack Battle, Jr., and four grandchildren. She is the daughter of the late Deacon James Joyner and Mrs. Myrtle Joyner. Sis. Battle’s favorite saying was embedded in her from her sanctified grandmother “Praise The Lord.” And a cousin, who was the family matriarch, would remind you to always say “Yes Lord, Yes, Yes, Yes Lord!
East End Missionary Baptist Church was born from the vision of one man who heard the voice of God and obeyed. From its humble beginnings in an upstairs auditorium in 1926 to its current structure, the church has consistently stood as a reminder to all that with faith the size of a mustard seed, all obstacles can be moved.
East End Missionary Baptist Church is a pillar of faith well immersed in the community that surrounds it.