The History of
Marsalis Avenue Missionary Baptist Church
“And the Lord said, upon this rock I will build my church “and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
Solomon states in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision my people perish.” The
Marsalis Avenue Missionary Baptist Church was organized in the home of Rev. & Mrs. B. J.
Pruitt on March 22, 1966 in Dallas, TX. Twelve charter members were present. A building
for worship was secured at the corner of Lyola and Teague.
The church served in this area for ten months, until the doors became closed to us in this
residential district. The church had no formal building in which to conduct organized worship
at this time, and the Greater Memorial Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. G.A. Sneed was
gracious in allowing the Marsalis family to worship with them. However, due to limited space,
Pastor Pruitt diligently worked in seeking a place of worship for the Marsalis congregation.
The charter members were: Fannie Pruitt, Shirley Anderson, O.B. Shields, Lucille Holman,
Shirley Peterson, Bessie M. Woods, Johnnie M. Woods, Etheria Wilder, Carmen Wilder and
Ida F. Woods.
On March 27, 1967, God blessed Pastor Pruitt and the Marsalis congregation to move to the
property at 2723 South Marsalis as a place for worship. By the grace of God and the
determination of a few members, a six room house was purchased and made into a church
edifice. Initially, the name of this church was Progressive Friendship Missionary Baptist
Church, but God moved on the heart of the increased membership at the suggestion of
Shirley Greer Peterson, one of the founding members to change the name to the MARSALIS
AVENUE MISSSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH.
In March 1979, God blessed Marsalis to construct the present edifice in which we worship, as
well as with the other physical comforts required to make a beautiful house of worship.
Under Pastor Pruitt’s leadership, the church grew spiritually, numerically, and financially.
Many ministries were organized and functioned to do the work of the church. Under Pastor
Pruitt the Deacon Ministry was formed, they were: Curtis Blount, Howard Pickens, Lyndell
Foreman, Vester Johnson, Sam Harris, Willie Richardson and Wilbon Johnson. Pastor Pruitt
had a keen sense of vision. Through his patience and understanding, he was able to
strengthen the membership in the Word and admonition of God. The members came together
to establish a Christian faith grounded in the bible. He channeled spiritual guidance to the
membership, and many programs were instituted under his direction. Along with the
membership, the church grew and prospered under his administration.
God opened many doors. He made ways and means for the people he sent to the church. He
provided opportunities which were fulfilled and supplied the provisions to His people for the
enrichment, growth, and spiritual enhancement of the church and the membership. God
sustained Marsalis through the trials that beset a young church and provided the victories that
confirmed this was truly a gift from Him that had to be continually developed.
After accomplishing numerous spiritual goals for the church, Pastor Pruitt finished his course
in November 1997, and went on home to be with the Lord.
In September 1998, Pastor Terry White accepted the call for leadership of the Marsalis
Avenue Missionary Baptist Church. Under his dynamic and visionary leadership, the church
thrived and grew from 30 to over 300 members. The Prayer and Praise Worship increased
substantially also, and continues to average 65 members in attendance every week. Several
deacons were appointed: Dennis Hall, Timothy Johnson, Walter Armstrong, Hiram Ervin,
John Wilder, John Greer, Donald Bryson, James Hurse and Walter Quigley Sr.
Pastor White’s love for God and compassion for people has escalated the church into a
foundation that is a nurturing organization for the growth and development of the lives of
people to be transformed and inspired by the teaching of Christ. As “The Church That Is
Bible Fed....Spirit Led,” the Marsalis family is reaching new heights in accomplishing spiritual
Pastor White steered and directed the renovation and remodeling of several projects in the
existing church building shortly after he arrived, enlarging the choir stand, upgrading the men
& women bathrooms. In 2005 the church launched a campaign effort to build a new Family
Ministry Center. In January 2006, twenty-two people contributed $1,000 or more. Pastor &
Sis White, Deacon & Sis.Vernon Heiskell contributed over $4,000. The following members
gave over $1,000: Brenda Beachem , Helen Franklin, Taleda Greer, Stella Greer,
Rev. & Sis. Brian Williams, Doris Foreman, Dorothy McNeal, Bro.& Sis. Alfred.Marikano,
Deacon & Sis.Wilbon Johnson, Lucille Holman, .Ollie Jordan, Albert Britton, John Greer,
Caprice Wilder, Menda Anderson, Jerline Ford, Etheria Wilder, Shernice Peterson, Camille
Wilder and Carleen Scott helping us to reach our goal of $100,000.
As a result of the Capital Improvement Campaign, now exist in commemoration of our
contributions the new addition to our church. The “New Family Ministry Center!!” will be
utilized to minister,educate, and enrich the lives of not only the members of our church but
the members of our community as well.
March-April 2007, the Entrance Celebration commenced with a Revival which highlighted a
series of Pastors that included Rev. Dr. J. Edgar Boyd of San Francisco, Rev. S. C. Dixon of
Baton Rouge, Rev. Fabian Jacko, Rev. David Wilson of Dallas. The Revival Finale was the
Inspirational Voices - Williams Brothers Concert.
In 2008 three new deacons were appointed, Courtney Armstrong, Charles English and Vernon
Heiskell. In loving memory of those who have departed this earthly life and to commemorate
this symbol of our hope in eternal life a bronze church cornerstone was laid on June 2008.
As Vice Moderator of the North Texas District Association and a member of National Baptist
Convention of America, Inc. and several other religious organizations, the Pastor, the church
and its membership are more involved in becoming a vital spiritual arm of the community.
In 2003, Marsalis was selected as “Church of the Year”, at the 28th Annual Elite News Award
Ceremony. Pastor Terry White was inducted into the Elite News9th Annual Religous Hal of
Fame on August 30, 2008
The doors God opened many years ago, providing ways and means for His people ,is still
evident that God continues to bless Marsalis Avenue Missionary Baptist Church. Under
Pastor White’s leadership, the enrichment, growth and spiritual enhancement of the church
and the membership is positive and progressive.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS THAT HE HAS DONE!