Mission and History


The Progressive Missionary Baptist Church started as a Mission on November 13, 1962, at 316 Myrtle Street, in the home of two of its members. Rev. Samuel M. Jackson, Sr. The Pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church of St. Louis, Missouri, served as the acting leader and advisor of the Mission. There were eighteen present. The Mission grew to twenty-eight members, and on the 18th day of February, 1963, at 1303 Fair Avenue, the Mission was organized into a church. The late Rev. N. Reason, the pastor of the First Union Baptist Church of San Francisco, California, served as moderator. Rev. Roosevelt Thomas, of the Northwest Educational Association, served as the Missionary. At the same meeting, after the Church was organized, it called Rev. Samuel M. Jackson, Sr. as its first Pastor.

Church meetings were held at 316 Myrtle until May of 1963. We had several meetings in the old home of Bro. & Sis. Russell Dawson on McPherson; after which we moved to the home of Mother Inez Smith, Chairlady of the Trustee Board, at 619 Woodrow Avenue, until we purchased the building at 517 Center Street, the latter part of August, 1963. On the Second Sunday of September, 1963, thirty-three members marched into the new church building. Bro. P. F. Owens, a trustee and one of the church’s first deacons, suggested the name Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. The church accepted it and it was so called.


During the first year, twenty-five members were added to the church. Four deacons were ordained, Bro. P. T. Lowery, Bro. P. F. Owens, Bro. C. Ruffins and Bro. W. Gill. The trustees elected for the church were as follows: Sis. Inez Smith, Chairman, Bro. P. F. Owens, Sis. Ezetta Dawson, Bro. P. T. Lowery, Sis. Minnie Voice, Bro. Clyde Ruffins, Rev. S. M. Jackson and Sis. Hazel Everly, Secretary.

After the tenure of Rev. Jackson, Rev. Cassius M. C. Ellis, a retired U.S. Army Chaplain was called. He served as pastor from October 5, 1966 until his retirement in December of 1970.


Rev. Billy Trotter of San Jose, California was our third pastor beginning January 1, 1971 until November of 1973. Rev. Olanza Williamson, also of San Jose, California, followed and was elected as interim pastor in November 1973, and served until his resignation on July 27, 1975.

Rev. Earnest L. Campbell of Pacific Grove, California was called as our fourth pastor on December 5, 1975. His pastorship officially began on December 7, 1975 and he remained as such until his death on November 8, 1981.

From November 8, 1981 until April 15, 1982, the church continued its mission without a pastor. On April 15, 1982, the church called the Rev. Robert L. Renfro of Seaside, California as it’s fifth pastor. He was officially installed on June 6, 1982.

The church paid off the mortgage on its property as of September, 1983. After the mortgage burning ceremony, an extensive saving program was undertaken by the church to make repairs on the parsonage and fellowship hall located at 519 Center Street, with a follow-up renovation on the church sanctuary. Work on the parsonage and fellowship hall began in December, 1988, and was near completion by the October 17, 1989 earthquake. The earthquake caused serious plaster damage inside the church building. In February 1990, repairs and renovation of the church sanctuary got underway and continued through January 1992, with the addition of the bell tower and steeple to the church building. The renovation cost for both the parsonage and fellowship building and the church building totaled $279,883.18. In September 1994, an earthquake retrofit project on the church building was completed, and electrical lights were installed under the building. The cost of this project was $3,500.00.


Rev. James Mitchell of Seaside, California came on board as an associate minister during the year on 1995. When Pastor Renfro became ill and unable to continue active service in February 1997, Rev Mitchell was elected as our interim pastor and served until December 1999. When Pastor Renfro retired on June 30, 1998 he was named Pastor Emeritus.

Our Men’s Fellowship Choir was established in May of 1999. Rev. Samuel D. Love of San Jose, California, was elected as our sixth pastor effective January 1, 2000 and was officially installed on May 21, 2000. Installation of new pew cushions was completed in December 2000. In addition to our continuing college student outreach, we have now expanded to include a
prison ministry.

During 2001, eight ushers successfully completed the George T. Grier School of Ushering, San Jose, California. Our Adjacent building on New Street was dedicated and named “Robert L. Renfro Center” on July 15, 2001.


January 2005 found Progressive without a pastor. We prayed and decided to wait upon the Lord. The Body fellow-shipped and continued to hold services with the assistance of area ministers. We studied procedures and a Pastoral Search committee was formed. The members of this committee labored to bring the pastor chosen of God. We are blessed to have our prayers answered in the person of our seventh Pastor, Reverend Kenneth Williams.

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