Hamilton County, Illinois
Genealogy and History

History of New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church

New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1864 by Elder John Beard at what was then the Margua Brown School in Crook Precinct.  Elder Beard was pastor of the church for several years, holding services at the Brown School until 1869 when the church moved its meeting to the mayberry school.  Here they met monthly until the winter of 1879 when the original church building was erected.
According to minutes from 1878, the name of the church was United Baptist Church Of Christ At New Prospect.  By September 1888, the name had become New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church.
On January 17, 1915, Rev. L. L. Smoot, the missionary for the Fairfield Missionary Baptist Association, Led a revival that lasted for three weeks.  During that time Bro. Smoot was elected moderator pro tem.  The church was revived. There were 16 professions of faith and eight candidates approved for baptism.  At the close of the revival, a sunday school, and prayer meeting were organized. Also, a collection taken for association mission work amounted to $50.22.
Late 1945, a committee dug a basement under the church building.
Vacation bible school was first held the first two weeks of July in 1953.
On september 4, 1955 a motion was accepted to call Bro Ernie Essary as pastor.  The church voted to give him $30.00 a Sunday for an indefinite amount of time.
New Years Eve watch night services and Easter sunrise services have been held annually since 1963 and 1964 respectively.
Centennial services were held from July 20-26, 1964.  Each night a different former pastor preached.  Homecoming was observed on July 26.  When a roll call of members was held, all but four of the church membership answered.
In June 1966, the church voted to build a new building.  Dedication of the new sanctuary was held on July 30, 1967.

A monthly men’s breakfast and an annual mother daughter banquet have been held since 1986.
The church celebrated 125 years in November 1989.
The addition of a fellowship hall, bathroom, and kitchen on the main floor and seven classrooms in the basement was begun September 30,1990.  The addition was completed in the spring of 1991.

In 2002, the church enlarged the sanctuary and added a baptistery, dressing rooms, and a basement room.  Dedication was held March 30, 2003.
Forty-one pastors have served at New Prospect.  Bro. Ernie Essary, the current pastor, will complete fifty-one years in September 2006.  Last year a two day celebration was held in honor of his fiftieth anniversary.

Information source:
Clerk’s minutes from 1878-present 


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