History of the Church


In 1892, Hill Street Baptist Church was organized by five members who felt the need for a worship center. They gathered in a building on Park Street, NW, hence, the first church was named Park Street Baptist Church. The names of only three of those five members are known and they are Mrs. Bertha Hughes, Mr. Charlie Tyler and Mr. Robert Bailey. The first pastor of the newly organized church was Rev. M. L. Minter who served the church faithfully for three years. Rev. William Greene pastored from 1895-1896.
Rev. R. R. Henry was called in 1896 and under his leadership a new structure was erected at McDowell and Peach Road, NW. it was during this time that the name of the church was changed to Hill Street Baptist Church. Rev. Henry pastored for eight years (1896-1904).

In 1904, Rev. Mosses E. Johnson became pastor and served faithfully until 1907. The replacement for Rev. Johnson was Rev. J. Y. King who led the people of God for eight years from 1908-1916.

In March 1917, Rev. David R. Powell was called to serve as the new pastor of Hill Street Baptist Church. During his pastorate, the church structure was remodeled extensively with improvements to the interior including stained glass windows. The church was given a permastone exterior which added greatly to its beauty. Hill Street was one of the first buildings in the city to use this form of material and a value of $55,000 was placed on the building. The church had a seating capacity of six hundred and a membership of approximately five hundred. Rev. Powell served for 38 years and after his passing in 1955, Rev. Thomas E. Crews served as supply pastor for a short period.

Rev. Robert Johnson Smith, former pastor of High Street Baptist Church, was called to fill the pulpit. Rev. Smith served for less than one year, however, during that time the mortgage was burned. Rev. Smith received a call to the Salem Baptist Church in Jenkinstown, PA.

In 1958, Hill Street called Rev. Raymond R. Wilkinson as pastor. A parsonage was purchased and the membership increased. During his pastorate, Rev. Wilkinson was not only used as a preacher and teacher of the gospel but he was also active as a leader and spokesperson for causes in and around the community.

In the mid 1970's, the Roanoke City administration saw a need for redevelopment of our community, the Gainsboro area. Hill Street was purchased by the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority for urban renewal and was razed in March 1978. Worship services were held at Lucy Addison Junior High School for approximately two years. A new edifice was slated to be built in the same area of the former church.
Under the leadership of Rev. Wilkinson, ground breaking was begun for the new church. This event was held on Sunday, May 18, 1980 after morning worship service. The congregation, led by Rev. Wilkinson, marched from Lucy Addison Junior High School to the new church on Sunday, March 1, 1981. Truly a great worship experience was had by all who attended that glorious Sunday morning!

On May 5, 1991, Rev. Wilkinson tendered his resignation. On March 9, 1992, the Rev. Perry W. Medley, a native of Roanoke, member and associate minister of High Street Baptist Church was called as pastor. He began his occupancy of the pulpit as pastor-elect on Sunday, March 15, 1992. He was ordained on May 10, 1992 at the High Street Baptist Church with Rev E. T. Burton, pastor of the Sweet Union Baptist Church as preacher for the occasion. Rev. Medley was installed on Sunday, June 21, 1992 with Rev. Noel C. Taylor preaching the sermon. During Rev. Medley's pastorate, two deacons were ordained in the personage of John Taylor and Richard E. Jones, Jr. After the departure of Rev. Medley, the church was under the leadership of Deacon Woodrow Walker, Sr., chairman of the Deacons Ministry, until a new pastor was elected.

A special meeting was held on June 25, 1995 and Rev. Johnny R. Stone was unanimously named pastor-elect. In October of that same year, Hill Street was blessed to install Rev. Stone as pastor. A native of Fort Worth, TX and a graduate of Virginia Seminary & College (now known as Virginia University) in Lynchburg, VA, Rev. Stone is an anointed preacher and teacher of the gospel. Under his leadership, the membership continues to grow and new ministries have been established.

Hill Street has made great strides under the pastorate of Rev. Stone and God is continuing to bless us as a people and as a church family. We look forward to all that God has in store for us as we continue to build His kingdom through teaching, friendship, fellowship and worship! To God be the Glory!