1887 to 2016
In 1887, a group of people interested in having a place to worship met under a bush harbor where old Nonconnah Creek is now located. During this meeting, a vision for organizing and building a church was discussed. Some of those visionaries included Reverend Calvin Morris, the church’s first Pastor. Under the guidance of Pastor Morris and the Holy Spirit, a Baptist church was organized and the framework for what became known as Riverside Missionary Baptist Church was established. On June 24, 1897, the church purchased a plot of land at 248 West Mitchell Road from Mr. Newton Ford, the grandfather of N. J. Ford. On December 19, 1897, a deed was filed with Shelby County. Construction began and with the completion of the church building, the vision had become a reality. Between the years of 1887-1924, Pastors Matlock, Henderson, Randolph, Whitaker, Jim Brown, and Bates were elected to serve and the church made significant progress.
Reverend W. M. Scott served as Pastor until 1926. In 1927, the church elected Reverend H. E. Gooch to serve as Pastor. In the spring of 1937, the congregation elected Reverend L. D. Sanders to serve as Pastor. He served until part of 1940. Later that year, Reverend J. C. Wade was elected and served until 1944. Reverend S. Q. Brown served as Pastor until 1947. In 1947, the church elected Reverend J. C. Pettis to serve as Pastor. In February of 1955, Reverend Ollie Durrie White was elected to serve as Pastor.
As the church was growing in membership, Rev. White realized a need for more adequate space for a sanctuary and facilities for teaching. In 1960, Pastor White launched a remodeling project. Until these efforts were completed, worship services were held at Ford Chapel AME Zion Church. Remodeling efforts included expansion of the sanctuary, installation of a baptismal pool and choir stand, a larger pulpit, new pews, additional classrooms, offering tables and pulpit furniture. In 1969, Pastor White shared his vision of a new sanctuary with the congregation. He appointed Deacon John Hayes and Trustees Arthur Butts, David Leavy, and Earl Shaw to lead the efforts of locating a new church facility. In 1971, the church purchased the Barton Heights Church located at 3560 South Third Street.
On March 19, 1972, the church moved to its new location with a caravan procession from Mitchell Road to 3560 South Third Street. Dedication services were held in May of 1972. On September 19, 1982, a mortgage burning ceremony was held to burn the mortgage on the church. Land located on the north and south of the church was purchased. On January 23, 1991, the property located south of the church was paid in full. February 13, 1993 marked the end of an era as Pastor White who had faithfully and dutifully led the congregation for thirty-eight years with love and humility, went home to be with the God he preached about Sunday after Sunday.
On July 26, 1993, Reverend Kevin B. Willis, Sr. accepted the call as Pastor of Riverside Missionary Baptist Church. Installation services were held on October 17, 1993 for Rev. Willis. In 1997, the O. D. White Family Life Center became a reality and the northeast property of the church was donated to the church by the Boyle Investment Company. In 2008, Pastor Willis resigned as Pastor after serving for fifteen years.
In 2008 Rev. George L. Parks, Jr. was elected to serve as Riverside’s seventeenth Pastor. Pastor Parks and his wife Joy relocated to Memphis from Meridian Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Installation celebration services for Pastor Parks were held the week of February 8-15, 2009.
Under the leadership of Rev. Parks, the congregation was able to pay off the mortgage of the O. D. White Family Life Center. The mortgage burning celebration was held in August of 2010. In addition to the mortgage burning celebration, numerous Christian programs have been organized and implemented. In 2011, the Children and Youth Ministries were reshaped with the implementation of the AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) program. The sanctuary was remodeled in late 2011 and 2012. Remodeling efforts of the Children’s Building were started and in February 2012, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Children’s Building. In March 2012, Riverside Missionary Baptist Church celebrated 125 years of believing God's Word and continuing work in His kingdom.
On August 5, 2015, Rev. Robert S. Harvey was elected to serve as Riverside’s eighteenth Pastor. Pastor Harvey & his family relocated from the St. Stephen Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Installation services were held October 1 -4, 2015. Under the leadership of Rev. Harvey, the church was re-branded with the new logo and phrase #TheRiver. On March 26, 2016, the 1st community-wide Baptism was held reaching over 60 persons, and through God’s faithfulness, on March 27, 2016, Riverside held Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new worship facility to be constructed on the south end of the property. On May 21, 2106 the 1st community-wide Baby Shower was held to shower mothers throughout the community. On July 20, 2016, Pastor Harvey resigned as Pastor after serving 10 months.
On August 14, 2016, Rev. Reginald S. Boyce was elected to serve as Riverside’s nineteenth Pastor.
Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what good things God has in store for them that love Him...
Discovering Life. Enjoying God.
Helping people discover their best life
by connecting them with Christ.
Grace, It is how we are restored to wholeness in God.
Love, It is how we connect with God, self, others.
Authenticity, It is how we get to know the real you.
Dreams, It is how we believe in a better tomorrow.
REGINALD S. BOYCE
A native Memphian, Reginald S. Boyce was born September 22, 1987. Pastor Boyce confessed his hope in Christ at the New Hope C.M.E Church in Henning, TN. He accepted his call to proclaim the Word of God in November of 2005 and preached his initial sermon in June of 2006 at New Hope C.M.E. Church.
Pastor Boyce is a 2010 graduate of Lane College where he served as Business Manager of the SGA, 2008 Student Chapel leader, and was the 2010 recipient of the Lane College Traditional Student award, which is one of the highest awards presented by the President of the College. Other awards include Pastor of the Year (The York Rite Troupe), the Key to the City and 2014 Community Leader Award (NAACP Jackson, TN Branch). In the spring of 2016, he received his Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary.
Pastor Boyce is no stranger to the preaching community. He started his pastorate career at the age of 19. Pastor Boyce is the former Pastor of Mt. Pleasant CME Church (Milan, TN) and Johnson Chapel CME Church (Trenton, TN); where he served as Pastor of both churches for three years simultaneously. Pastor Boyce was ordained to the Baptist denomination in August of 2010, and along with his ordination into the Baptist denomination, he was installed as the Pastor of Greater Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in October of 2010 and served there for three years. He also served as Pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, TN until 2016. He is now the Senior Pastor at Riverside Missionary Baptist Church.
Pastor Boyce is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. He and his lovely wife, Crystal are the proud parents of four beautiful daughters Trinity, Carrington, Reagan and Raelynn.