The Mount Olive Baptist Church history dates back to the dawn of the twentieth century when a small group of dedicated and like-minded Christians, influenced by the burning desire to provide a location in the community of Agnewville for their children to attend Sunday School, began a mission to do the work of kingdom building. The parents of the children and other adults in the community were organized under the leadership of the late Sis. Florence Chin and the late Reverend Bras Clark. The first Sunday School class was held in the small, lamp-lit home of the late John and Annie Scott. The parents and other members of the community were members of Neabsco and Ebenezer Baptist Churches.
On July 3, 1902, the late William Chin donated the land for the structure of the Agnewville Mission Sunday School. Confronted with many problems, these servants of Jesus Christ, through faith and purpose, overcame many obstacles and the building for the mission began. Many years later, with the assistance of the Neabsco Baptist Church Congregation, the members of the Agnewville Mission Sunday School officially established the Mount Olive Baptist Church, setting it apart from the Neabsco and Ebenezer churches and on October 15, 1915, over ninety years ago, Mount Olive’s cornerstone was laid. Brother George W. Ray, Brother William Chin and Brother George Thomas of Neabsco were the carpenters who toiled long and hard and built the edifice that we now occupy on Telegraph Road. Deacons and other men in the community assisted them with this project. We thank God for all of those saints of the past who had the vision, the steadfastness, and the determination, to make their dream and mission a reality. It is upon the shoulders of these spiritual ancestors that the congregation of Mount Olive continues to stand and thrive today.
During our ninety year period, Mount Olive has been blessed with six servants of God.
In 1915, REVEREND WILLIAM DAVIS was the first minister to be ordained at Mount Olive. He subsequently became the first pastor of the church. Initially, under his leadership, church services were held in the old mission. He remained pastor until 1920 when ill health dictated the need for him to retire.
Following the retirement of Reverend Davis, REVEREND WILLIAM TYLER was installed as his replacement. Under his pastorate, the new building on Telegraph Road was built. He guided the still relatively newly formed congregation and delivered six years of fruitful leadership.
In 1926, REVEREND GEORGE W. PRATT was called to pastor the church. Reverend Pratt took the helm and guided the church ministering to the spiritual needs of the community. During this time, membership increased. He was truly a God-sent man with vision, great wisdom and spiritual influence. During his tenure, Mount Olive progressed both spiritually and physically.
REVEREND EDWARD W. BURRELL became pastor in 1949. Reverend Burrell was a diligent worker who was always willing and ready to aid his congregation, as well as other churches. Only a man motivated by the love of God and his fellow man could have accomplished so much. He was an exceptional spiritual leader who inspired many and ordained one of the founders and builders of Mount Olive, Brother George W. Ray. Reverend Burrell served us well and in 1972, he left us to assume a full-time position as the pastor of his home church, Tried Stone Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
In 1972, REVEREND FREDERICK L. RAY, ordained under the pastorate of Reverend E.W. Burrell in 1966, was elected and installed as the fifth pastor of Mount Olive. Reverend Ray served as assistant pastor to Reverend Burrell from 1967 to 1972. Our church continued to progress spiritually and financially, and our membership increased under his guidance. Mount Olive continued to make a difference in many lives within the community through its in-reach and outreach programs. As a result of his spiritual teachings and guidance, the Lord blessed Mount Olive with twenty sons. The following men received their ministerial ordination and became sons of Mount Olive: Reverends John W. Brown III, John Cunningham, Clarence D. Demory, Clyde W. Ellis, Jr., David Galloway, George Jackson, Leonard Jackson, Sylvester Jefferson, the late Donald R. Johnson, John Johnson, Kenneth Johnson, Keith Lightfoot, David Miller, Howard Moses, Sr., Roy L. Nutter, Van Richardson, Victor Riley, Bobby Smith, Fred Tate, and Neddie R. Winters.
Reverend Ray, along with Reverends Howard Moses and the late Donald Johnson, founded and established the Friends of Jesus Christ Biblical Institute, renamed the Frederick L. Ray (FLR) Biblical Institute. This Institute offers a degree program of religious studies and is sanctioned and approved as an accredited institute by the State of Virginia. Reverend Ray was a dedicated servant who loved the Lord and obeyed his call to the ministry by becoming an exceptional Shepherd of the Mount Olive flock. He served Mount Olive faithfully for 33 years until his death on June 24, 2000.
Our current pastor, REVEREND CLYDE W. ELLIS, JR, is a spiritual son and was ordained by Reverend Ray in 1989. Reverend Ellis was installed as the sixth pastor on March 3, 2001. We continue our spiritual growth as a church family that believes in loving, caring, and sharing. We continue to see our church family membership growing consistently. Under the spiritual guidance of Reverend Ellis, eleven spiritual sons have been educated and guided through the program at the FLR Biblical Institute: Reverends Tony Ares, Ambrose Harris, Sylvester Howell, Austin Johnson, Delbert Jones, Kenneth Maddox, Michael Mullen, Forest Pettigrew, Earl Robinson, and Randy Shed and Ministers Wayne Hackney and Andy Toler. We have also been blessed with three additional sons, Reverends Herman Baxter, Clint Cleveland, and Leon Harris and Ministers Marion Timberlake and Terry M. Williams, through their membership with our branch of Zion.
Our increased membership has outgrown the edifice at 13111 Telegraph Road and has dictated the need for a larger church building. We currently hold our Sunday morning worship services at Freedom High School located on Neabsco Mills Road in Woodbridge, VA.
This historical sketch of the Mount Olive Baptist Church only gives a glimpse of our 90 year history because regretfully, much of Mount Olive’s history was destroyed by fire many years ago. We have come through rough seas, black night and have faced the tempest and the storm, but through it all we have learned to trust in Jesus and depend upon His Word. The present church and our focused accomplishments are but a preview of what the future holds for us, but we must continue to walk by faith and adhere to the vision that God has given our current shepherd whose spiritual motto is: “To build the church, which is the body of Jesus Christ, one soul at a time.”