Pastor Ralph & First Lady Gladys Emerson, Jr.
Church Theme for 2023:
"Moving to the Next Chapter" Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
On September 13, 1931, Reverend Smith Cary and a small number of members organized Rising Star Church. Under his leadership, they acquired a building called “The Greasy Spoon”, located at 711 Irma Street. After he and the members cleaned out alcohol and beer bottles and borrowed a few seats, they began to serve the Lord. With a set determination and much faith in God, they purchased this building from Mr. Carpenter for no money down. Mr. Carpenter gave them their first $150 as down payment.
In 1949, due to a highway expansion program, the Church sold the original church site and moved to a second site at 1333 Evans Avenue. Under the leadership of Pastor Cary, the membership grew to approximately 3,000. On January 6, 1969, the Lord called Reverend Smith Cary home.
On April 23, 1969, Reverend T.H. Davis accepted the challenge of pastoring the Rising Star Baptist Church. Before the home going of Pastor Cary, the Church was planning to build a new sanctuary. In July 1972, under the leadership of Reverend Davis, the membership purchased the facilities located at 4216 Avenue M at Miller Street. The Church built the existing sanctuary which seats 1,400 people and 150 choir members. On October 15, they conducted the final services at 1333 Evans Avenue and held the first services in this present location on October 22, 1972.
On June 24, 1990, the membership granted Reverend T.H. Davis’s request to retire because of illness. On the same day, the Assistant to the Pastor, Reverend Ralph W. Emerson, Jr., was accepted as pastor of the Church. From July to November 1990, more than 30 members joined the Church and approximately 15 were baptized. Under Reverend Emerson’s pastorate, the Church was taught that Rising Star’s priorities should be aligned with God’s directives. As a result, the Church progressed into a multi-ministry church.
Because of the growing membership, on May 3, 1992, Rising Star Baptist Church began 8:00 A.M. morning worship service, with the sermon coming from Psalm 23. On July 5, 1992, the Genesis Church opened for 180 little angels with Sis. Orbra Howard as the director.
Under Pastor Emerson's leadership, Rising Star added a new state of the art facility complete with family life center, weight room, game room, gym, jogging track, aerobics area, performance stage, family lounge, and chapel. Groundbreaking for this expansion project was June 8, 2003. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new additions was May 15, 2005. The church has more plans for expansion including a worship center, education area, bookstore, and office complex.