OUR HISTORY

                           

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.”

Deuteronomy 32:7

In 1920 a new found fellowship was organized as the Westwood Baptist Church. Westwood’s first designated meeting place for Sunday worship was in a small storefront building located on the corner of the alley which runs between Albion and Alameda Streets, at 26th Avenue, North. Whereas a few more persons were uniting with this new assembly, the group perceived the necessity to call a minister as a regular pastor. They were successful in securing the service of the Reverend James Tunstill, the first pastor of Westwood Baptist Church. The infant assembly, Westwood, would now move in faith to erect a House for Worship, having received as a donation a lot on Albion Street.

 

The year 1922 heralded the calling of the second pastor to serve Westwood – the Reverend S. M. Wright. During this time the “Window Project” was popular; it was program of work whereby each window in the building was paid for by an individual member of the congregation or a friend in the community. Reverend Wright resigned the Westwood pastorate in 1924.

 

The Reverend Levi Butler served as acting pastor of our church until 1925. In that mentioned year the Reverend J.H. Lawrence became the third pastor of Westwood. During Reverend Lawrence’s three-year term of service, the Westwood membership grew from thirty to fifty-seven. Reverend Lawrence’s resignation was accepted on May 27, 1928.

 

On August 1, 1928, the Reverend Ambrose A. Bennett was called to serve as the pastor of Westwood Baptist Church. Numerous accomplishments attained during the Bennett pastorate included: the church being cleared of debt and celebrating “Out Of Debt Day” on July 12, 1931; major structural remodeling of the church; construction of additional rooms; expansion by development and teaching of auxiliaries in the church. Rev. Bennett worked tirelessly toward the development of Westwood Church to be a “beacon light” for the up-building of God’s Kingdom on earth.

 

Rev. William Oliver Wells and Rev. Alphonsa R. Blake, students at American Baptist Theological Seminary, became respectively, the fifth and sixth pastors of Westwood. Although serving for brief periods, both made rapid growth in worship and in service before resigning to serve in their native states.

 

The Reverend George W. Brown became the Shepherd of Westwood flock on July 28, 1961. A sincere, dedicated gospel preacher, he led the congregation in personal and collective spiritual growth.

 

In 1966 the Reverend J. W. Watkins, a former pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Jefferson Street, became the eighth Westwood pastor. Reverend Watkins worked admirably toward the development of an expanded/new church facility that would accommodate on-coming programs of work. A schematic design for a new church building was secured during this pastorate. The Lord called Reverend Watkins from labor to reward on a Tuesday evening in 1969; he died in active service to our church.

 

July of 1969 heralded the calling of the Reverend Amos Jones, Jr. to serve as the ninth Westwood Shepherd. Monumental strides were wrought under his leadership. Dr. Jones led the church in the acquisition of property; three lots on Alameda Street and additional properties on Albion Street were purchased. The entire sanctuary was remodeled. New pews were purchased. Christian Education programs were revolutionized and a comprehensive program for missions was enacted. Moreover, in 1976, under the leadership of Pastor Jones, to meet the challenge of increasing worship and educational needs, the church built a new edifice. This building was completed in September, 1983. Pastor Jones resigned as Westwood under shepherd in October, 1986.

 

On December 1, 1987, Rev. Barton Elliott Harris returned to Nashville to become our tenth and present pastor. Pastor Harris was reared, baptized, licensed, ordained, and married at Westwood.

 

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the pastor’s leadership, the church is invigorated and is growing numerically, financially, and spiritually. Westwood has increased its membership; revitalized its Bible Study and Prayer Service; and added new church ministries.

 

Under Pastor Harris’s leadership, Westwood had become a major landowner in the North Nashville community. Since 1987, our church has purchased twenty different properties and currently rents twenty-two units inclusive of individual houses, duplexes, and one bedroom and two bedroom apartments. Additionally, the physical plant has expanded to included three annexes - the West (Brick) Annex, the East (White) Annex and the Youth Annex. These annexes house offices, classrooms and meeting rooms.

 

THE PASTORS OF WESTWOOD

REV. JAMES TUNSTILL 1920-1922

REV. S. M. WRIGHT 1922-1924

                    REV. LEVI BUTLER (acting pastor) 1924-1925

REV. J. H. LAWRENCE 1925-1928

REV. AMBROSE BENNETT 1928-1956

REV. W. O. WELLS 1957-1959

REV. ALPHONSO R. BLAKE 1959-1960

REV. GEORGE W. BROWN 1961-1965

REV. J. W. WATKINS 1965-196

REV. AMOS JONES, JR. 1969-1986

REV. BARTON ELLIOTT HARRIS 1987 -

 
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