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Painting of the old First Mt. Carmel Baptist ChurchThe First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, of Sunshine, Louisiana, was duly incorporated on September 13, 1868. It had been known as the African Baptist Church. However, the members called themselves the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. Marchal Dickerson became President, along with Edmond Johnson-Vice President, Edmund Lee-Secretary, and Pollido Johnson-Treasurer. All, of whom which together with Fountain Coleman, Samuel Burk, Giles Hunter, Adam Bush, Quincy Adam, William Hammond, Thomas Bird, Frank Parker, Joseph Comager, Louis Blokey, and John Ross, served as the first Board of Trustees. The duration of the incorporation being fixed at 25 years. The church has been a duly incorporated Christian body ever since 1868.

The first pastor of the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church was the Rev. C. G. Burnett. He served until his death and was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Brown. The great Rev. Fountain Coleman became pastor with a membership of 175. Rev. Coleman re-built the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in 1891. This was the church building that we moved from. He built a school out of the old building in 1892. Rev. Coleman not only pastored the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, but through his leadership, he organized and set apart churches in other communities. In 1892, he organized and set apart the St. Joseph Baptist Church on Bayou Manchac; he organized and set apart the Rock Zion Baptist Church on Gummers Lane, and set apart to the works of the Gospel Ministry for Rev. E. D. Ross.

In 1895, Rev. Coleman organized the Union Baptist Association of Dorseyville, Louisiana. He was elected president and served 6 years. He ordained and set apart the Rev. E. D. Redditt, for the New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Island Cutoff; the Rev. Thomas Bird, for a church in Carrolton on Jefferson Street; Rev. C. H. Johnson, for the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Deer Creek, Mississippi; Rev. L. C. Washington, for the St. John Baptist Church in Dorseyville, Louisiana; and Rev. Jack Roberson, for the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church of Bayou Goula, Louisiana. In the year of 1895, he organized and •set apart the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in the Parish of Iberville near Plaquemine, and served as pastor of said church for 3 years.

Rev. Fountain Coleman was truly a great minister, pastor, leader, and pioneer. He left a legacy, for all after him to follow. Rev. Sandia Porter succeeded Rev. Coleman and served until he died. Rev. Abram Lewis, a kind and gentle man of God, served the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church until he was called to his reward in glory after Rev. Porter.

Rev. Robert Brown became pastor of the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in 1960. Pastor Brown’s main objective has been to make the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church a scriptural church meaning to do all things God’s way and not our way; also to win souls for Christ. He feels that if the church ceases to win souls, then the church cease to be a witness for Christ. With these thoughts in mind, Pastor Brown chose to abolish certain customs and traditions of the church. Such as, putting an end to the members telling their “determination” – for
many were saying one thing before the pastor and the congregation and living another thing. He also decided to do away with having to be brought before a council, to report what was seen and heard, prior to being allowed to be baptized – there is no where in the Bible that supports that these things must be done in order to be saved.

Under Rev. Robert Brown’s leadership, he organized various auxiliaries in the church. Those departments .included the first Trustee Board, independent of the Deacon Board, with Hayward Grace,Jr. as chairman; the Victory Workers, with Albertha Joseph as president; the Pastor’s Aid, with Edna Ambeau as president; the Junior Choir, with Elizabeth Brown as musician; and the Home Mission Board. Pastor Brown also organized the first Women’s Day program with Elizabeth Brown as chairperson. Because of the diligent effort of the Women’s Day committee and the support of the members, the total amount raised was $1,500. This money was used to panel the entire church. As the pastor and membership continued, to work together, other remodeling and beautification projects were completed. Pastor Brown donated the first light fixtures, of the old church, which were installed by Curtis Joseph and Hayward Grace,Sr. Other improvements to the old structure included having the roof lowered, adding an annex with a kitchen, a pastor’s study and a secretary’s office. Also, the church was installed with central heat and air, and the floors were tiled and carpeted throughout. During the years prior to Rev. Robert Brown becoming pastor, of the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, candidates were being baptized in the Mississippi River. Pastor Brown successfully performed one baptism in the Mississippi River; but he soon realized the safety hazard involved with it. Therefore, he met with the board to discuss a better alternative measure. The following year an indoor baptismal pool was installed.

Picture of the New Building that was built in 1994.Over time, the one hundred plus year structure began to decay. In 1985, a committee was formed with a desire of change. A vision of the new church building was implemented. That vision began to flourish. And in 1992, preparation for the new church began. In 1994, the new church building was completed. The new building was opened for service on Sunday February 13, 1994. Through the divine providence of God, the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church was paid off in December of 2003. Sunday February 27, 2005 was a glorious day of praise, reflections, and thanksgiving, for the pastor and the entire First Mt. Car.mel Baptist Church family, as they celebrated Founder’s Day and a Note Burning service. To God be the glory, for the things He has done!

Rev. Robert Brown has lovingly served and led as pastor for the past 50 years. He has, on numerous occasions; blessed our babies, who were dedicated to the Lord; baptized our children, who came to accept Christ; officiated over countless wedding ceremonies; and stood by many families and consoled them during their hour of bereavement, as their loved ones went to be with the Lord. Also, Pastor Brown has displayed a compassionate, caring spirit with each visit of the sick and afflicted who are homebound, in hospitals, and in nursing homes. But most importantly, in the pulpit, standing behind the sacred desk, Pastor Brown has preached and taught the truth of God’s word with boldness and conviction. And as he moves forward, into an era of promise for the First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Robert Brown continues to put his faith, trust, and ministry in God’s hand.