In 1920 Rev. J. A. Wimberly was called to be the pastor of New Monumental Baptist Church. In 1921 Rev. Wimberly and some of the members separated themselves from New Monumental and organized another church. Olivet was organized in the James Hall on East Ninth Street. Dr. James, who had a colored drug store on the first floor, owned the building. Services were held in James Hall. The congregation agreed to purchase the old Thompkin Chapel (located at 921 University Street); however, the new Thompkin Chapel was not ready. Therefore, the congregation worshipped at James Hall until the new Thompkin Chapel was available. Mrs. Mary Wimberly, wife of Pastor J. A. Wimberly named the church, after Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, where Rev. L. K. Williams was the pastor. Rev. Williams was Mrs. Wimberly's uncle. Since the church only had the bare necessities, the struggle was hard, but with the help of the Lord and continued prayers and faith they went forward.
Today, we give God all the praise for bringing us from a room in the old James Hall to this facility at 740 Martin Luther King Blvd. We thank you, Lord for a more spacious facility with classrooms for all. Here we will make a global impact with the uncompromising gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ by "equipping the saints to salt the world".
From the significantly small church lacking in details of so many things, Olivet has incredibly grown with the "banner of Christ" ever hanging high that men may follow. We surely have passed over bumpy and smooth roads to get here, having worshipped at the Memorial Auditorium, the Tivoli Theater, and the McKenzie Stadium. We are proud of our church, but we are constantly praying to keep humble enough to be of service that the Master will be pleased with us. We thank God for his blessings and pray for His continued guidance.
We thank God for instructing Pastor J. A. Wimberly to establish Olivet Baptist Church in 1921. Therefore, to Pastor Wimberly and all of our deceased members, we pay tribute to their faith in God and their commitment to service. Sometimes the struggle was hard. They did not give up. They pressed "toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". Philippians 3:14
"For understanding and appreciation of our past is the key to our future".