Church History

The Riceville Mount Olive Baptist Church was organized in a, “Brush Arbor,” on March 11, 1889, by Rev. John L. Lilly, with a membership of eight. The first members were: Isiach Jackson, Sophia Edwards, Mary Rice, Simmom McCode, Susie Marshall, Vinia Marshall, Rocksanna Rice and Diana Jackson. On October 11, 1889, a developer, John Ruby, donated land for the church and burial grounds on the back of Keegans Bayou. (The Riceville Cemetery is currently on the same property with the address of 9945 Honeywell Road). After several meetings and many discussions, Jake Rice, the longest community resident with eight members, decided Rev. John Lilly would be the official Pastor and the church was named Riceville. Rev. Lilly served as Pastor for twenty years until his death. He was succeeded by, Rev. I. Griffin, who served as the next Pastor of Riceville for sixteen years. During the year of 1916, the church was blown down by a storm. Rev. Griffin took on the task of constructing a larger Riceville church building during his tenure as Pastor. After the death of Rev. Griffin:

  • Rev. Lee Moton served as an interim Pastor for one year.
  • Rev. J. C. Smith was elected and served as the Shepherd of Riceville for three years.
  • Rev. Earl W. King held the pastoral position for nearly three years.
  • Rev. Morris Goodman served as Pastor for four years.
  • Rev. D. Pope served as interim Pastor for one year.

Rev. T. H. Shermann was called by Riceville and under his pastoralship, twelve feet of new construction was added to the Church building. The Christian Union was established and is a viable organization of the Riceville Mount Olive Baptist Church today.

Due to health issues, Rev. Shermann resigned after seven years of loyal leadership. In 1942, Rev. Travis Spiller was called to serve as Pastor. In an effort to build the membership, Riceville church services were changed to every Sunday instead of the customary second and fourth Sundays. Continuing under the guidance of Rev. Spiller, a new Church building was erected in 1944 by Rev. C. H. Mitchell, son of Deacon John E. Mitchell. The church was fully paid-off in 1947. Rev. Spiller saw a need for a cafeteria and Rev. Mitchell constructed two stories of additional building space to the existing church edifice. The cafeteria was on the first floor and the second-floor was utilized for classrooms and other church accommodations. Upon the resignation of Rev. Spiller in 1953, Rev. C. L. Miller was called to Pastor Riceville, serving fourteen years before resigning in 1967.

In August of 1967, Rev. Joe D. Johnson was called as Pastor. On July 4, 1968, the church building was destroyed by fire, a total loss; only a Holy Bible was found in the ruins. After the devastating fire, Sunday church services were held in a house on the property of Riceville School Road, now known as 11231 South Gessner Road, (North Campus). Under the leadership of Rev. Johnson, a new church was built and the first service was held in May 1971. The church was paid-off in June 1974. Shortly after, in 1975, a house was moved on the premises, remodeled and used as the “Fellowship Hall”. All associated costs were paid off in April 1978. During the year of 1981, two church vans were purchased. In 1983 Riceville purchased property on South Breeze Drive for additional parking accommodations. During the same year, the front of the sanctuary was expanded by thirty feet. Property behind the existing church was acquired in 1985, and later that year a mobile building was placed on site. It is presently used for auxiliary classrooms and meetings.

Due to continued church growth, in July 1986, Riceville acquired approximately ten acres of land on South Gessner for construction of a new church building. An additional seventeen acres (approximately) were purchased in September 1994, with a cash pay-off in 1996. Pastor Johnson’s vision of a larger Riceville had become a reality when construction of the new twenty-two thousand square feet building was completed on December 8, 2002. The new edifice doors were opened and the first church service at 11539 South Gessner Road, (South Campus), was held on December 22, 2002, under the guidance of Rev. Johnson. The church building was paid-off eight years later. (The official, “Mortgage Burning Ceremony,” was held during Church Anniversary Service on Sunday, March 13, 2011). In September 2009, after forty-two years of dedicated service, Rev. Johnson retired from Senior Pastor to Pastor Emeritus.

Rev. Melvin E. Bates served as interim Pastor until August, 2010. Rev. Terry E. Mackey was called to serve as Sr. Pastor in the month of August of the same year. In November, 2010, Rev. Mackey was installed and under his pastoring, church membership increased; the North Campus was remodeled and renamed the Joe D. Johnson, (JDJ) Center, currently utilized for Youth Church services, ministry gatherings, meetings, and community fellowship activities. Rev. Mackey initiated plans for construction of an “Impact Center,” to better serve the needs of the growing church and surrounding communities. Rev. Mackey served faithfully for eight-years until resigning in December, 2018.

In November of 2019 Rev. Dr. Calvin J. McFadden, Sr. was called to serve as Sr. Pastor of Riceville Mount Olive Baptist Church. He commenced his pastoral ministry on February 1, 2020.