Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Historic Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church

Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1936 with a small band of six worshippers in a home on East Willis Street in Detroit. The steady growth of the congregation demanded a move to larger quarters on Russell Street and then relocation to a building on Mack Avenue.

In 1969 the church moved to Maxwell Street. Reverend Jim Holley was called to pastor the church in 1972 and with continuing growth, the congregation began to look for a new, larger home. In 1978, the Central Woodward Christian Church building was purchased, and the congregation made the move to the current location on Woodward Avenue.

This Gothic Revival structure was designed by George C. Mason and Co. at the cost of $500,000. Ground breaking for the church was on April 16, 1927, with the dedication in 1928.

The stained glass windows are a distinguishing feature of the building. Two original windows, designed by Detroit artist A. Kay Herbert, depict George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. In 1990-1991 the large originally golden opalescent windows were replaced with more traditional stained glass depicting the “Stations of the Cross”, “The Twelve Apostles” and “Church Ministries.” “The African American Pulpit Window” reflects the significant changes that occurred as the building was adapted for use by the predominantly African American church. Artists Daniel Cicchelli and Dawn Sinkovich collaborated with Rev. Holley to design the portraits of Black ministers, such as Rev. Richard Allen, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. C.L. Franklin and Rev. James Holley, pastor. Installation was done by the Anchor Glass Company of Inkster.