PLAINFIELD, NJ — The Mount Olive Baptist Church in Plainfield, founded on October 12, 1870, is celebrating a milestone of 150 years. New Jersey Assemblywoman Linda S. Carter presented a resolution Saturday to note how the church has helped members become caring and compassionate citizens over the course of its storied history.

“It is a blessing to have survived as a cornerstone house of worship for 150 years,” said Reverend Eric W. Wallace, Sr., Senior Pastor of MOBC. “We have sustained this long, and we plan to serve our members and community for 150 more years!”

Deacon Arthur Releford came to the church in 1977. "My wife, she passed away in 2001, so I've been here all that time. And I don't plan on leaving."

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"It's been pretty significant being a part of a historic church here in Plainfield, coming in and being able to help carry out and continue the legacy of the 24 who started this church in 1870 to help educate the marginalized, and those who have been, really, dehumanized," Pastor Wallace said, now in his fourth year at MOBC. "I think, we have tried to be a community church. Our vision statement is a caring church of building family. Not families, but family, no matter who it is. We embrace them through transformational ministry."

Pastor Wallace stated the church has participated in being a Code Blue temporary warming shelter, has fed and worked with food banks in Union County, especially for those in dire need since the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers grab-and-go meals on the third Saturday of each month.

He said a community focus helps his church stand out. When Wallace first arrived, one of the first projects he and members worked on was suicide prevention as there had been an uptick in suicides. Domestic violence has also been addressed.

Councilwoman Ashley Davis said, "I am very happy to be a part of the legacy that we have here at The Mount Olive Baptist Church. And when we talk about legacy in the City of Plainfield, we've had so many elected officials who have come through these doors, including the late Councilman Bill Reid, the late Councilwoman Joanne Hollis, Councilwoman Rivers, former Mayor Harold Mitchell, School Board Member Pat Barksdale, and a host of other people who've come before me."

Davis added, "It is because of this church and their ability to see my gifts, and my skills and my talents, that I am able to serve the people of Plainfield today. So I'm forever grateful to The Mount Olive Baptist Church, and we're going to continue, like Pastor said, to lead from the front and really just set the example of what Christian ministry looks like here in the City of Plainfield."

Deacon Releford mentioned the first funeral that was live-streamed on Friday. "The funeral yesterday was televised. And I think it was a wonderful thing that we had here."

Davis said, "I think that's important and the vision of Pastor, making sure that people stay connected virtually allows, even when the doors are closed, for us to continue the mission of the church, and it allows people to be able to send their loved ones off with dignity, but also enjoy service when they can't be here in the physical."

Due to the pandemic, commemorative events of the momentous 150th Anniversary have been altered as many things have this year. Throughout the month, MOBC is hosting virtual events to celebrate with its members and community.

Pastor Wallace said there will be panels that address the significance of 1870 when the church began, as well as how significant the church has been in each of the eras leading up to the present day.

Food donations can be dropped off between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Contact Administrative Assistant Sister Rosella Brackett for more information at 908-754-3539, or email

The Mount Olive Baptist Church is located at 216 Liberty Street in Plainfield. Services are streamed live on the church's Facebook page and YouTube. Learn more at


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