Excerpts from History
In 1939, The Navigators, a group of young people at Emmanuel Baptist Church Alexandria, had a discussion about Missions in BYPU (Baptist Young Peoples Union, forerunner of Discipleship Training). R.G. Bryant suggested that being a missionary was more than studying what missions is or who is doing missions. The group decided to find a place that needed them and where they could build a continuing relationship with the people. The outer Lee Street area was recommended by Emmanuel pastor, Kearnie Keagan.
A census revealed 12 families who would help them tell the community about Jesus. They started with Prayer Meetings in homes and Bible Studies became part of the Prayer Meetings two or three times a week. The mission formally began January 20, 1940 at 2:30 in a home on Fenner Street and was called Lee Street Mission. Several LC faculty members provided guidance and encouragement. About six months later Emmanuel Baptist Church officially accepted sponsorship of the mission. As the attendance grew, the meetings moved across the street to the park under large trees.
After a revival in June the attendance grew and the shade trees could no longer shade everyone who came for Bible Study and Worship. A site at the corner of Rosalie and Dennis Streets was selected; Emmanuel made a loan of $2,500, and a building was secured from Camp Livingston. By September 1940 services were held in the "new" building. The Emmanuel WMU began to meet with the Lee Street WMU. There was also a Brotherhood organized.
The first Vacation Bible School (VBS) was held in the summer 1941 and lasted two weeks. Ten days of revival meetings followed the VBS, with L. C. Smith as revival preacher.
In August 1941, Herschel Hobbs became pastor at Emmanuel. On July 5, 1942, he presided at the organization of the Lee Street Mission into Parkview Baptist Church. R.G. Bryant was the first pastor and one of the 32 Charter Members.
In April 1950, the church voted to build a parsonage for $7,000 on Prescott Road. The last parsonage owned by the church was on Fulton Street.
In 1952, two acres of land was purchased at Masonic and Highway 165. In keeping with the theme of "Building for the Future," the first spade of dirt was turned for groundbreaking ceremonies April 10, 1955. The buildings at Rosalie and Dennis were moved to the new location and the new building, a sanctuary, was built in 1956. The first section of educational space was completed in June 1958 and the second section in September 1959. Both were dedicated in April 1960. The present sanctuary was begun in 1968 and dedicated in May 1969.
Church minutes record encouragement to ministries such as aid to Asian refugees in 1975. A mission outreach to Hispanics in 1987 evolved into an English for Internationals class. Weekly Bible Study is held at three local nursing homes on Sunday Mornings. Sunday School classes as well as small cell groups throughout the church minister to the needs of many in the Alexandria area on a regular basis.
Located in one of the most visible sites in Central Louisiana, Parkview has the reputation of being a people-centered church. The first pastor notes that "this is the key to the success or failure of Parkview Baptist Church during the next 50 years."
Sources: History of Emmanuel; Alexandria Daily Town Talk; Parkview Church Minutes; and histories written for previous anniversaries and church directories.