The History of
Mt .Carmel Baptist Church of Baton Rouge
On August 2, 1949, a group of Christian men and women met at a house on North 32nd Street. God had appointed the plans for the founding of Mt Carmel Baptist Church of Baton Rouge. Rev. Herbert Burden, Brothers Willie Jordan, Herman Reed, and Charles Denham; Sisters Lee Ethel Burden, Henrietta Burden, Florence Jordan, Ceola Dunbar, and Hannah Branch were present at the first meeting. All of the listed Saints have since departed to a better life.
As plans for fundraising commenced, these Saints along with others who had joined their ranks began working toward the formation of a church. On September 21, 1949, the membership agreed on the name, "Mt. Carmel Baptist Church N 0.2. The church held an election to fill the necessary offices for leadership. The results were Rev. Herbert Burden, Pastor; Sis. Florence Jordan, Deaconess, Bro. Charles Denham, Deacon, Sis. Lee Ethel Burden, Secretary, Sis. Henrietta Burden, Assistant Secretary.
The church was later incorporated in 1972 as the "Mount Carmel Baptist Church of Baton Rouge". The saints of Mt. Carmel worked hard toward the building of an edifice that would bless the name of God by serving the community to reflect His glory. As new members united with the church body, they also identified with the will and spirit to work. Brothers Elijah Burden and Willie Jordan along with Pastor Herbert Burden and other members were involved in "hands-on" activities in a joint effort to expedite the construction of the church. In December 1949, enough of the construction was completed to allow services to be held while the work continued to finish the original structure.
In 1955, Pastor Herbert Burden was called to rest from his labor. He had given Mount Carmel unselfishly his time, talent, and financial resources. The torch of leadership was passed on to his brother, Rev. S.L. Burden who was elected pastor. Pastor S.L. Burden maintained the same spirit as his predecessor and had a mind to work. He labored until health conditions no longer allowed him to participate physically, but as an honorary pastor, he continued to pray for the church's success until his death in 1988.
In July of 1973, the Rev. Sidney E. Sanford was elected to serve as pastor of Mt. Carmel. Rev. Sanford led the church toward structural improvements as well as spiritual growth. Mt. Carmel has a history rich in youth development and has contributed towards building some of the finest characters known to the city of Baton Rouge.
Rev. S.E. Sanford's departure from the pulpit led to a search for a pastor for Mt Carmel. After a long list of interviews, the church decided to elect Rev. Charles Gilmore as its new pastor. Under Rev. Gilmore's leadership, the church continued to grow.
In 1994, the need for a pastor arose again. Mt. Carmel was no stranger to prayer and had been on the receiving end of God's blessing for 45 years. The church prayed for and received a new pastor. At the suggestion of Emanuel Aid's first VP, Rev. A. Francois, Mt. Carmel interviewed Rev. Ronald T. Williams. After narrowing the field down to two candidates, Rev. Ronald T. Williams was elected as our pastor. Rev. Williams maintained the same "Spirit of Nehemiah" that all of his predecessors who committed their lives to the service of this church. On November 18, 2001, Rev. Williams led this body of believers to a new address from 1619 North 37th Street in the Park to 5262. Prescott Road in Fairview Acres. We entered a new building to worship God, but we brought the church with us. We are making an effort to depart in service to our new community.
On April 12, 2015, Pastor Ronald T. Williams was called to rest from his labor. We shall not forget the mission he provided to us from God, his time, and resources. Let's not forget God's mission and our purpose here at Mount Carmel. We will forever recapture, recover, release, and reflect on God's glory. We the people have a mind to work and we are not finished yet. The best is yet to come!
On Sunday, January 17, 2016, Rev. Andra Johnson was installed as our sixth pastor. Having served the congregation as a youth minister and teacher of our Young Adult Sunday School class, Rev. Johnson had dedicated much of his talented resources to the Mount Carmel family. However, it was the hand of God that chose him to assume the leadership of his predecessor following a structured pastoral selection process.
Mount Carmel is being blessed by his faithfulness to an eloquent sharing of the word as well as his eternal desire that we develop as learners and doers of the word on our daily mission as servants of God.