Pleasant Green, established in 1881 is located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri's urban core in the historic Santa Fe Neighborhood. Our Foundational Principle consists of the following: Word, Service and Outreach. We are a culturally and socio-economically diverse congregation of Baptists with a mission of reaching the lost with the gospel message of Christ as taught in Romans 10: 9-10: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
In keeping with our theme, "We're Doing a New Thing" we believe everybody is somebody and God loves us all and has a special purpose for each of us. In the midst of today's culture shifts, we realize that our church's ministry must be relevant, and we are constantly looking at new ways we can "reach you where you are." So, can we talk?
The Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church of Kansas City, Missouri one of the oldest black Baptist churches in Kansas City, Mo. was organized by the Rev. John Morgan and 17 other adults on October 10, 1881, in the basement of the K.C. Fruit Store, 918 Main Street. Six months after organizing, for worship, the members were able to obtain permission to use the Criminal Court Room at the old County Court House, then located at Second and Main. On the first Sunday of March, 1882, the congregation met in the new location at 2 p.m. At the end of the service, the group adjourned to the Missouri River which flowed one block to the north. Twelve new members were baptized on that occasion.
Beginning in 1883, the congregation met at various locations, often at a store located on 2nd and Holmes. A few years later in 1884, the congregation was able to buy a sizeable plot of land between Forest and Tracy Avenue. They put together two frame houses to form a church and the congregation grew to one hundred members. Church leaders felt it was time to make Pleasant Green a legal entity. So, a Charter of Incorporation was soon filed with the county court. The list of signees to the charter were all men. Women did not sign documents at that time. The list includes eight of the 12 men who were charter members in 1881. There were a total of 53 signatures affixed to the document. During the 1800's Pleasant Green's membership grew to 600. Several area churches that still exist today were birthed from members who were initially a part of Pleasant Green.
Following Rev. Morgan’s passing, three pastors served briefly: Reverends William Alford (1898-1901), Emanuel M. Wilson (1901-1904) and G.W. Burdette (1904-06). During Rev. Burdette’s tenure, two lots were bought at 595 Tracy at the top of the hill overlooking Belvidere Hollow. Rev. Burdette left in 1906 and the church called Rev. John Booker. Under his leadership, Pleasant Green was able to build a new facility on the land purchased at 595 Tracy. In 1908 Rev. Booker assisted in the organization of the New Era Home and Foreign Missionary and Educational convention. Also at Pleasant Green an active Women’s Missionary Society was formed in what might be called the faithful remnant of the church. In the years of transition between the death of Rev. Morgan and the call of Rev. Booker, these were the women who largely held the congregation together. The women also began to particularly support foreign missions and Western Baptist Bible College, then located in Macon, Missouri before later relocating to Kansas City, Mo. In 1917, the Pleasant Green congregation purchased a new facility on 14th and Michigan.
Following the resignation in 1929 of Rev. Booker, the church soon called Rev. J.W. L. Underwood. Due to illness in his family, Rev. Underwood resigned and the church called Rev. W.A. Scott in 1938. However, Rev. Scott left in 1941after feeling a calling to serve as chaplain during the outbreak of World War II, and Pleasant Green after recalling the circumstances for his leaving, contacted Rev. Underwood and asked him to consider returning, which he did, serving from 1942-1962.
Pleasant Green made another move in 1948 to a facility located at 2621 Benton Boulevard, in what was known at this time to be the leading edge of the black community. Under Rev. Underwood’s leadership in 1948 Pleasant Green's congregation began to experience steady growth and financial security and they decided to look for a larger facility. A few years later a Lutheran church on the corner of 30th and Benton came up for sale. Pleasant Green was able to purchase that facility and on Oct. 12, 1956 the Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church moved to their present location at 2910 E. 30th Street (on the corner of 30th and Benton Boulevard). The move was timed so that the transition to the new facility would mark the church’s 75th anniversary—October 12, 1956.
Following Rev. Underwood’s retirement, in 1963, the Rev. Gerald H. Schiele, assistant pastor under Rev. Underwood, was elected Pastor. He served in that capacity for over 30 years until his retirement. Continuing to lead the church in its outreach and district-wide efforts as did his predecessor, Rev. Schiele held leadership roles in the Baptist Minister's Union, and the New Era District and the church continued its active involvement in these organizations, including the Missionary Baptist State Convention if Missouri and the National Baptist Convention. He continued Pleasant Green's longtime support of Western Baptist Bible College and also was an advocate of the church's involvement and support of foreign missions ministries. Numbers were added to the church rolls under his leadership.
Rev. Schiele was followed by: Rev. Chiffie Tomlin, Rev. F. D. Benson Jr., and Rev. Raphael D. Williams each of whom resigned after serving for less than 10 years. Under their leadership, continued enhancements and improvements to the church's spiritual and physical body were implemented as well.
Pleasant Green’s current pastor, Rev. Sheldon “Tony” Gray was elected Jan. 20, 2019, and installed on March 10, 2019. Under Pastor Gray’s leadership, a new motto, “We are Doing a New Thing” has been adopted. Membership has increased and new ministries have been added and expanded,
Led by the Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church’s Trustees, plans are being implemented to enhance the church’s façade and infrastructure that include an elevator, new restrooms and other structural updates.
In March 2020 as Pleasant Green prepared to observe the First Anniversary of Pastor Gray and First Lady, Dr. Karla Houston-Gray, their celebration had to be postponed due to a worldwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and temporary nationwide shut-down of in-person gatherings ordered by government officials due to the rapid spread of the virus and until such time that the incidences of death from the virus—finally cease when a vaccine is developed and approved.
During this national health and economic crisis, Pleasant Green has continued in its mission to reach out to the community. The Pleasant Green Food Pantry has continued its service, particularly at a time when the COVID--19 pandemic has affected so many households in the immediate community surrounding the church. Through the summer months of 2020, and 2021 PGMBC members and visitors have either attended outside Curbside Worship Service in the church parking lot every Sunday and/or dialed in and listened to the worship service via telephone. Pleasant Green celebrated its 139th church anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. The COVID-19 compliant service requiring wearing of protective face masks and social distancing of at least 6 feet, was also held outside in the church parking lot. Meanwhile, in early 2021, PBMBC added a Live Stream format to its Audio/Visual Ministry and persons were able to watch the worship service LIVE online if they could not attend the service outside in the parking lot.
In August 2021, we were able to re-enter the church building for worship inside the sanctuary, as conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic improved somewhat since a vaccine was developed and people nationwide began getting their vaccinations. Still, high incidences of the COVID 19 virus remain a nationwide concern by health officials and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and many of the masking and social distancing guidelines that were instituted as a protective measure by government both locally and nationally, remain in effect. Some modifications within the church building have been implemented to ensure continued safety and protection from the virus and as with other churches, PGMBC is adapting to this "new normal."
PGMBC celebrated its 140th Church Anniversary 'in-person" on Sunday, October 10, 2021. To God be the glory for all the great things he has already done for Pleasant Green and for what he will do for our church in the years ahead.