In the year 1874, three ex-slaves, Henry Rhodes, Mount Carlton and Williams Price organized the New Sardis Baptist Church in the Southeast area of Shelby County.
These visionary men purchased two acres of land and built a “bush harbor” for worship and divided the land into two parts: A Church Campus and a Burial Ground. For more than one hundred years, New Sardis has stood as the beacon of spiritual light in this community.
The Church experienced changes in leadership during its existence. Some of the Past Pastors include:
- Reverend Isaac Cotton
- Reverend J. W. Wilkerson
- Reverend Charlie Campbell
- Reverend J. W. Sinclair
- Reverend A. Y. Crutcher (who served two different times)
- Reverend D. G. Gray
- Pastor Emeritus Dr. L. LaSimba. M. Gray, Jr.
The church is currently under the divine leadership of Reverend Darell L. Harrington and because of phenomenal growth and a committed membership, New Sardis is serving the community through ministries of preaching, teaching and advocacy.
Beyond the original vision of a church and a cemetery, New Sardis Missionary Baptist Church has expanded what the founders dreamed. Today, the campus sprawls several acres. It includes a main sanctuary that holds thousands, a dance studio that seats hundreds, a full gym, a commercial kitchen, a child care facility, dozens of classrooms, a world-class African American history museum complete with over a dozen exhibits, an additional sanctuary that holds hundreds & more! Adjacent to the main facility, is the Neshoba Resource Community Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, that serves as an incubator for African American business owners, an emergency shelter for those in need, a food pantry, clothes closet, and meeting space for the community. In 2016, the church also became home to Memphis’ only official Lupus Support Group & Resource Center.
Great things are happening at #newsardis. Click our hashtag on all social media outlets to explore!