In 1916, the Royal Baptist Church was organize by The Reverend Handy Washington. He began his mission at the home of Sister Brooks. The homestead was used until a few faithful members, with the help of the Lord, built a mansion in Burton Quarters. Those faithful members were: Deacon Allen Ancrum, Sister Sofie Ancrum, Deacon Samuel Ancrum, Sister Isabella Ancrum, Deacon LaRoache, Deacon Thomas Jenkins, Sister Lucille Jenkins (Mother of the Church), Deacon and Sister Allen Prioleau, Sr., Brother and Sister John Middleton, Sister Mary Jenkins, Sister Hattie Mae Wilson, Brother Willis Telfare, Sister Grace Telfare, Sister Eliza Howell, Sister Sarah Bones Pryor, and Sister Nellie Grant. The church remained in this location until the property where the church is presently located was purchased. Sister Elizabeth Middleton, Sister Nellie Grant, and Sister Mary Jenkins were selected to purchase the property for the present structure.
The Reverend E. Tobin was called to pastor the flock of Royal Baptist Church in 1937, after the death of Reverend Handy Washington. Reverend Tobin served as Pastor for five years. The Reverend N.E. Nathaniel followed Reverend Tobin as Pastor serving for three years.
In the year 1947, Reverend D.A. Brown was called to pastor. Under his leadership the church began to prosper. Several Deacons were ordained and the Reverend Marion Simmons was ordained as a minister. The congregation grew. The present original structure for the church was erected. Reverend D.A. Brown was call home to glory and the church was without a Pastor for one year.
The Reverend M.S. Brown of Savannah, Georgia, a great warrior for Christ was sent to Royal to pastor Royal Baptist Church. Under his leadership four deacons were ordained, many organizations were added, a parsonage and an educational building were erected. An air conditioning system was installed and the front of the edifice was beautified. A memoriam for Reverend D.A. Brown was placed on the wall. The mortgage on the organ was burned. He served faithfully for six years and decided to return to Savannah, Georgia as Pastor of the St. John Baptist Church.
The Reverend W.F. Davenport came to us in March, 1970 from Louisiana. He was sent to us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In 1972, the front of the church was extended, new restrooms were added, and the church was bricked, new pews were purchased and paid in full. In 1979, central heating and air and a new steeple were acquired. In the year 1980, the Deacon Board installed a P.A. System throughout the sanctuary and the Education Building. The Ever Ready Club and The Willing Workers Organization erected the billboard in front of the church. The marquis and iron rail fence was designed and installed. The Sunbeam Choir was organized under the guidance of Sister Lue Ida Cobb with Sister Albertha Jamison assisting. Reverend Davenport recruited and inspired men, women, and children to work through the will of God, under the leadership of Jesus Christ for an honest and friendly church, home and community. Reverend Davenport resigned as Pastor of Royal in August, 1985.
The Reverend Gerald Gilliard was called to the pastoralship of Royal Baptist Church in December, 1985. Under his leadership a new P.A. System was installed. Reverend Leroy Fyall, a member of the church was ordained as a minister. One Deacon was ordained. The envelope system presently being used at Royal for members to pay their church finances was introduced. Reverend Gilliard served as Pastor from January, 1986 until May, 1988.
In February, 1989, the Reverend Leroy Bowers was sent by God to become the Pastor. The church took on a new growth. The membership increased immensely. A Nurses Unit was organized, new ground was cleared and prepared for additional parking, a New Membership Class was started, Mrs. Evelena Richardson was the first female appointed to the Trustee Board, Assistant chairmen were appointed to the Deacon and Trustee Boards, a Teen Choir was organized, plans for renovation of the church were in progress, and the church was blessed with the ordination of four Deacons. Under Reverend Bowers leadership, men, women, and children were inspired to serve regularly and faithfully. He carried the torch for a strong administration and strived for 100 percent tithers of his congregation. Reverend Bowers served as our leader for three years, 1989-1992.
During the summer of 1992, our congregation was left without a Pastor. We were in search for a leader. God always has a “ram” in the bush. The Deacons of the church rallied together in unity and love, to carry on the service of the Lord. In November, 1992, the church gathered in service for the dedication of the renovation of the church and new Education Wing.
The search for a Pastor continued. Through long patience, love, and prayer, God sent to us the Reverend Isaac J. Holt, Jr., a native of Atmore, Alabama. Reverend Holt accepted the call as Pastor in March, 1993. He was installed as Pastor on May 2, 1993. Under the leadership of Reverend Holt, the church has taken on a revived growth, both spiritually and numerically and has amassed numerous blessings. The Church Scholarship Fund was established, a Male Mentoring Program and Teen Girls Fellowship were formed, a church van was purchased, a second van was donated to the church by a faithful supporting family of Royal Baptist Church. A Weekly Radio Ministry was created, a church partnership with a Homeless Shelter was established, several of our ministries were revitalized, such as the Teen Choir, Church Nursery, and Young Adult Sunday School Class. The Youth Department was expanded, the Royal Baptist Church Mass Choir was formed, the Tape Ministry was created, new church signs were erected at the roadway entrances, a parking lot was paved for parking and fencing was purchased to surround the parking area. Joe Collins, a member of Royal Baptist Church was licensed to preach the Word of God, followed by his brother Chris Collins. There is continued growth in the church’s membership, continual growth in the Weekly Bible Study and Prayer Meeting. Our Sunday morning worship service has now expanded to include an early morning worship service at 8:15 a.m. This early worship service has brought about the establishing of The Praise and Worship Choir which ministers in songs on the first and third Sundays of the month. The Young Adult Choir now ministers in songs on the second and fourth Sundays of the month during the early morning services. The Early Morning Ushers were then organized to serve during the early morning worship services. As we continue to grow in God’s grace, Royal Baptist Church welcomes a new ministry to the fold, and that is the Singles Ministry, which started in 1998. As the Royal Baptist Church continues to grow in the blessings of God, more ministries have been formed such as, the Puppet Ministry, Junior Missionary, Food Bank, Married Couples Ministry, The Library Committee, Media Ministry, Praise Dance Ministry, Seniors Ministry, Wedding Planners Ministry, Boy Scout Troop and Sign Worship Ministry (Youthand Adult Division), The Royal Newsletter, The Prison Ministry, and the Safety Net Ministry. Weekly Bible Study Class for children has been established. Noon Day Prayer is a service held on Mondays initially formed to focus on the vision of the new of growth to be housed by God’s people. Intercessory Prayer has been added as a service of the church on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. and has expanded to Sundays and Wednesdays. The churches growth is well over 1200 members. Several members have now been licensed to preach under the leadership over Reverend Holt. Those persons are, James Payne, Marlon Brown, Patricia Holmes- Miller, the first female in Royal’s history, Vera Polite, Calvin Gathers, Herbert Beard, Robert Ford, and Charlie Murray. Frank Pinckney and Chris Collins were ordained as Pastors.
Under the leadership of Reverend Holt, the Royal Foundation was organized as a nonprofit organization designed to provide an array of services to the community as they reached out to youth and adults.
As the elements of the church grew, so does the first family of Royal. Reverend Holt and Sister Jannie Holt were blessed with a gift from heaven when the birth of Isaac J. Holt, III, their son was born into the fold of the Royal family in April, 1998.
The blessings of Royal continue to be ever present. The mortgage of the church was paid off in record time in December, 1998. Our Mortgage Burning Ceremony took place in July, 1999. Oh what a blessed and glorious moment in the history of the Royal Church.
The blessings of God continue to overflow in the Royal Church. With the extension of the early morning worship service, the population of the church has grown tremendously, well over 1800.
August 11, 2003, Royal Baptist Church held its Ground Breaking Ceremony for the construction of a new church edifice located on Luella Avenue in the Liberty Hill section of North Charleston. The site location of the new edifice is within a few yards of the church old site. The new edifice has a seating capacity of over 996 parishioners. Old and young participated in the week long event giving God thanks for the blessing and for the vision of Pastor Holt. Through much sacrifice and most of all prayer, the church rallied together to meet the challenges of an ultimate task.
The dedication of the new edifice took place on Sunday, December 5, 2004 in the afternoon. The church was filled to capacity. The new edifice now houses an efficient office space for our Pastor with an adjacent office established as the Church Office for Administrative Assistance. Other area spaces include, a Communion Preparation Room, Deacons Room , Ladies Lounge, Deaconesses Room, Nurses Station, Children’s Nursery, Trustee Room, Church Clerk and Sunday School Superintendent’s Office, Choir Room, Media Purpose Room, a meeting room with partition connector, and a male and female dressing area for baptism. The choir stands has a seating capacity of over 100. Accessibility to balcony seating is made possible with the addition of an elevator. To assist parishioners with distant parking, a mobile transportation vehicle was purchased to help facilitate the Parking Ministry.
The dedication of the newly constructed edifice for worship service at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church is now located at 4761 Luella Avenue, North Charleston, South Carolina.
Since the establishing of the Royal Church housed on Luella Avenue, it was evident that church growth would flourish. Several land purchases were made in years 2007-2008 within the surrounding community on Luella Avenue, Pearson Avenue, Abraham Street and Lilac Avenue. As evidence of growth these purchases help to facilitate the need for additional parking space. The land purchase on Pearson Avenue resulted in the renovation of a home to be established as The Resource Center to be utilize as a training and meeting facility which has now been established as the Church Administrative Office. Other growth measures included the purchase of a new 37 passenger bus in June 2007. This vehicle is equipped with television and DVD viewing. Prior to the purchase of the new bus, a new 15 passenger van was purchased in the year 2006. Building Number Two has undergone a tremendous renovation. Formally the old church site on Pearson Avenue has been set apart as the Children’s Church location for youth services, location for the Food Bank Ministry, and available space for meeting and fellowship functions. The vision of Pastor Holt continues to grow in grace and wisdom of divine intervention. It was without fear that he sought to change the structure of the two oldest choirs in the church. The Senior Choir and Choir Number Two were brought together as one in February, 2008 to formed what is now called the Sanctuary Choir. This choir serves during the 11:00 a.m. worship service on the first and second Sundays of the month. Technology has played a part in the history of the Royal Church. Beginning August, 2008 the church worship service began broadcasting live worldwide over the internet service, Facebook, You Tube, and Instagram. Royal’s worship service has touched the lives of many worshipers with the presence of social media. Morning prayer at 6:30 a.m. is also emphasized on Wednesdays during a teleconference call. Worship On Wednesdays 6:45 p.m. service has been instituted twice monthly or more, reaches a large segment of worshippers local and abroad who for reasons are not able to attend the traditional Sunday worship service.
In the history of the Royal Baptist Church several Emeritus positions were established. Members of long standing service were honored in the capacity for which they served at the Royal Church. They were Sister Evelina Richardson, Trustee, Deacon Caleb Harper, Church Treasurer, Deacon Isaac Goodwine, Deacon.
November 8, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. another milestone was reached in the history of the Royal Missionary Baptist Church. The newly structured edifice dedicated as the house of worship for the Royal Church, on this day held its mortgage burning ceremony. A record set far beyond the belief of many, the 2.8 million dollar project has been paid in full. Through the vision of Pastor Holt led by the all wise and all knowing God the Father, this challenge was met. “Is there anything too hard for God”?
The growth of the church is well over 4000 in membership. Several members have been licensed to preach, Adam Louvorn, Stephanie Harris-Spann, Shavon Jefferson, Franklin Benjamin Jacqueline Russell and Isaac J. Holt, III. Ministers ordained also in Royal’s history are Minister Patricia-Holmes Miller, Minister Herbert Beard, Minister Calvin Gathers, Minister Robert Ford, Minister Charlie Murray and Minister Jatorin Owens. One of our lay leaders in the local and state Baptist organizations, Deaconess Charlene Lowe has earned certification as a Dean in the Congress of Christian Education and led the initiative to have a Christian Education Institute on Royal’s campus.
Through the vision of Pastor Holt led by the all wise and all knowing God the Father, the Royal campus was enlarged by adding a multi-million dollar Christian Life Center Complex. The Groundbreaking Service was held on June 30, 2013 for these facilities. Royal’s Education Building and Fellowship Hall was completed and put into God’s service in November of 2014 and Royal’s Family Life Center Complex was dedicated August 9, 2015 with great prayer and celebration.
The church celebrated its centennial anniversary in year 2016. It was a year of praise, worship, remembrance and thanksgiving.
The blessings of Royal continue to be ever present. Royal members and leadership continued to show faithful stewardship by paying off another mortgage debt in 2018. Oh what a blessed and glorious moment in the history of the Royal Church. The blessings and wonders that have been bestowed on the body of Christ here at Royal is a witness that all things are possible to him that believes. With Christ words ringing in our collective ear, we look forward to where God will take the ministry of Royal Missionary Baptist Church.
Due to a national emergency of a pandemic outbreak of a virus Covid 19, in March 2020, churches were under restrictions that prohibited the congregation to fellowship and worship in person. Under the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit and the vision of our Pastor, Dr. Isaac J. Holt Jr. and the capable hands of the church’s Media Ministry, the worship service was broadcast virtually on the social media platforms by way of live stream through YouTube and Facebook. Limited number of personnel were allowed to participate in person within the service. Sunday School was taught by way of phone conferencing and the zoom platform. Thursday’s Bible Study was broadcast by way of Zoom as well as Facebook and YouTube. Several ministries began to take advantage of the various social media platforms meeting by phone conferencing and zoom. The church would not be defeated. The Royal church went in outreach mission mode; providing food boxes to hundreds of families weekly in extended car lines, drive through testing for Covid 19, satellite location for Covid 19 vaccine. As restrictions of Covid 19 began to relax Royal Missionary Baptist Church opened up for its first in person worship service on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021. Online giving began to be priority, less contact for financial giving was essential for indoor worship as the Trustees line the exits with baskets to collect members offerings.
Jesus said, “upon this rock, I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. The Royal Baptist Church is built on a firm foundation of humble beginnings that prevails under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus Christ. Whatever our historical background has been, whatever our progress may be, whatever future accomplishments are achieved, as we move from the vision of one generation to the vision of the next, we will, through God’s guidance constantly keep our adopted motto before us…
“The Church Where Everybody Is Somebody But Christ Is Essential.”
March 27, 2023