1918 – 1920: Rev. E. L. Johnson; Founder
1920 – 1932: Rev. J. S. Helm
1932 – 1956: Rev. M. C. Ridley
1957 – 1964: Rev. G. T. Allen
1964 – 1970: Rev. A. D. Jones
1971 – 1980: Rev. A. D. Jones
1981 – 1984: Rev. W. B. Rutland
1985 – Present: Rev. Larry Houston
The Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky was organized by Rev. E. L. Johnson in 1918 at 14th and Madison Street. Rev. Johnson provided leadership for the church for two years until his death. Including the pastor, other charter members were Sister Mary Thomas and Brother Gaston Jones.
In 1920, Rev. J.S. Helm succeeded Rev. Johnson as pastor. He led the congregation for eleven years. His pastorate ended when he was called to pastor another church located in Griffentown, Kentucky.
In June 1932, Rev. Helm’s assistant in the ministry, Rev. M. C. Ridley, was extended an unanimous invitation to pastor the Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church. At that time, the church had 17 members and possessed 28 chairs, one coal stove, and a box for an altar. Shortly afterwards, 10 of the 17 members left, leaving only seven members to carry on.
Later the church moved to 9th and Wood Alley. A great revival was held by the pastor and church. From the revival, the church began to rapidly grow in membership, forcing security of a larger building for worship. A move to 927 W. Madison Street was made to meet the needs of the growing congregation, however; this move resulted in financial strain for the pastor and church members. Despite the presented challenges, the pastor and members continued to trust God and reaped the continued blessings of the Lord.
In 1939, Rev. L. E. Hudson and his family united with Corinthian. Rev. Hudson was immediately appointed as assistant pastor and advisor to Rev. Ridley. He was also appointed as head of the education department. Additionally, he started the first choir, then known as the Junior Choir.
Under the leadership of Rev. M. C. Ridley, the church continued to grow and prosper. After ten years, the church was again compelled to seek a larger place of worship. In March of 1943, Corinthian purchased property at 516-518 S. 10th Street and in 1951, an educational building was added. As in the past, this place of worship could no longer accommodate the congregation which had experienced a substantial increase. For this reason, in 1956, the church decided to construct a new building. The new building, designed and built by Rev. H. H. Madison, a master church builder, was completed that same year and it seated approximately 600 people. During the construction period, worship services were held at the Baptist Fellowship Center located at 1107 W. Chestnut Street.
In August 1956, shortly after moving into the new building, Rev. Ridley passed after 24 years of service. At the time of his death, there were approximately 900 members. On May 30, 1957, a monument was erected at Louisville Cemetery in memory of Rev. Ridley.
On May 11, 1957, Rev. G. T. Allen was extended, and accepted, an invitation to become pastor of Corinthian. He led the congregation for almost seven years. The church sponsored a weekly Sunday morning radio spot on radio station WLOU featuring Rev. Allen and other members. The music department, consisting of all adult choir members, presented the first church concert. All the existing auxiliaries sponsored the first Rainbow Hostess Fellowship Tea, which became an annual affair.
Urban Renewal forced the church to sell the property on 10th Street. Under Rev. Allen’s leadership, the church purchased the present property at 1916, 1918, and 1920 W. Jefferson Street (formerly St. Luke Evangelical Church). The property included a parsonage and gymnasium/recreational center.
On April 12, 1964, the first worship service was held in the new building. The morning service began with a procession of the membership. The church choir was dressed in black robes and white stoles.
In June 1964, Rev. Allen vacated the pulpit, and the church extended an invitation to Rev. A. D. Jones. In the fall of 1964, Rev. Jones accepted God’s call to become pastor. He served six years before resigning. He later accepted pastoral leadership of a local church in the city.
Rev. Joe Northington and Rev. T. J. Horton, assistant pastor at the time, served as interim ministers. Additionally, Rev. L. E. Hudson maintained membership at Corinthian and continued to provide leadership for the church while pastoring at the House of Prayer Baptist Church.
The Deacon Board, under the leadership of Brother R. L. Holmes Sr., continued to search for a pastor. After a year, the Board extended a second invitation to Rev. A. D. Jones to pastor the church. On May 10, 1971, Rev. Jones announced his acceptance of the invitation and returned as pastor. The spiritual growth that followed was immeasurable.
With Rev. Jones’ leadership (both terms), the mortgage was reduced. A new furnace was installed and the parsonage was renovated. The weekly radio program was continued. Additionally, the baptismal pool was added to the lower level. The recreational center, under the direction of Rev. L. E. Hudson, provided a place for activities of the church. The church sponsored a basketball team composed of members of the church and the community. Some of these players eventually became deacons, trustees, and ministers of the church. A new stove was purchased for the kitchen, the dining area was carpeted, a new PA system, two pianos, two organs, and a set of drums were purchased for the sanctuary. Rev. Jones was a staunch believer in youth development and under his direction; the Junior Usher and Junior Deacon Boards were reestablished.
Rev. Jones was considered one of the great gospel singers of the city. Some of his favorite songs, “I Will Trust in the Lord,” “Peace in the Valley,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “Someone to Care,” and “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” were released on a 45 RPM record with the Corinthian Mass Choir singing background. In 1977, Rev. Jones and the Corinthian Mass Choir released an album entitled “Songs You Remember.” A second 45 RPM, on the Grace label, was released entitled “Use Me Lord in Thy Service” and “God’s Amazing Grace.” The youth choir, singing “Revive Us Again,” was featured on an album of the first Rainbow Gospel Contest, where they finished in second place. They won first place in the Louisville Defender Annual Gospel Singing Contest singing “Lead Me and Guide Me.”
Although infamous for his singing, Rev. Jones was also known for his sermons. He released a sermon on a 45 RPM entitled, “Think on These Things.” He also emphasized teaching, thus Sunday School and Baptist Training Union flourished under his leadership.
During his ninth year as pastor, Rev. Jones disfellowshipped with the church. This proved to be a challenging period for the church; attendance declined and financial support decreased. Elected officers of the church responded through prayerful search for a pastor. In the interim, associate ministers (Rev. Olin Taylor, Rev. T. J. Horton, and Min. Larry Houston) and visiting ministers led services.
On December 8, 1980, the pulpit was declared vacant and a pulpit committee was selected. The committee and church, through the American Baptist, began seeking a leader and pastor. On August 10, 1981, the church extended an invitation to Rev. W. B. Rutland. On August 13, 1981, he accepted and became pastor and leader. Rev. Rutland was installed on October 25, 1981.
On April 25, 1982, the property at 1916, 1918, and 1920 W. Jefferson was paid off. The mortgage was burned during a Mortgage Burning Service held at the church. Under the leadership of Rev. Rutland, a new roof was installed on the church, the interior was painted, and ceiling fans were added.
In 1984, Rev. Rutland resigned as pastor. This resulted in the church being led again by associate ministers. Rev. Horton continued to serve as assistant pastor, but he was limited due to health reasons. Furthermore, attendance and support for the church continued in a slight decline.
In September 1984, God revealed there was one amongst the membership who would serve the church well. At the fourth quarterly church meeting, by unanimous vote, the church extended an invitation to Rev. Larry Houston to become pastor and leader; effective January 1, 1985.
Rev. Houston has a long history with the Corinthian. He was baptized at the church and as a youth, he was an advisor to the Youth Choir, a Junior Deacon and a player on (and later a coach of) the church basketball team. He served on the Trustee Board when he was called to the ministry. On Sunday, March 24, 1985, Rev. Houston was installed as pastor of Corinthian. On September 13, 1986, he was honored in a program sponsored by the Pastor’s Aid Society, which introduced him to the Christian community.
In 1987, the Corinthian assembly formed a non-profit corporation (Corinthian Development Corporation), whose members included eleven members of the church. Later, the property located at 1921 W. Jefferson Street (formerly Good Shepherd Baptist Church) was purchased by the church and named Corinthian Christian Life Center (CCLC). On August 21, 2004, an Open House was held in celebration of the center.