Our Pastor

Elder Joseph Pridgen is Pastor of Sweet Rest Church in Pearl, MS.
He has studied at several institutions of higher learning, among them, Jackson State University, Millsaps College, Reformed Theological Seminary and Wesley Biblical Seminary, earning a degree in Biblical Studies at Belhaven College. He has significant involvement in religious and community affairs. In addition to pastoral duties, other current church activities include:

Member of the National Education and Trustee Board (COCHUSA)
National Evangelist (COCHUSA)
President of South Central Diocese Ministers Alliance (COCHUSA)
South Central Diocese Ministerial Alliance
Former Director of Ministers and Laymen Seminar

Significant community activities include:

Organizer of the Pearl Community Tent Revival
President of Ministerial Alliance, Pearl, MS
Helped to institute the inter-racial, inter-denominational Easter and Thanksgiving fellowship services in the City of Pearl
Member of Fellowship of Hope, an interdenominational alliance of churches in the Jackson area
Regional Associate for Mission America
Volunteer Chaplain for Pearl Police Department
Volunteer Counselor at the Men's Correctional Facility in Pearl
He is happily married to the former Annette King of Jackson, MS. They are blessed with three lovely daughters, one son, and one grandson.

What We Believe

We believe in ONE GOD, and that He only is God; invisible, infinite in wisdom, goodness, mercy, love, grace, and power. He is maker of Heaven and He is triune, being revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (John 17:3; Matt. 19:26; 1 John 5:7)

We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the second person in the Godhead, co-equal and coexistent, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost. We further believe in the fullness of time. He was manifested in the flesh, incarnated by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary. (Matt. 1:18, 1 John 1:3,7, Luke 1:34-35)

We believe in The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the triune Godhead; and that He is ever present and active in the Church of Christ (John 14:16); convicting (John 16:8) and regenerating those who believe in Jesus Christ; dwelling in, sanctifying, teaching, and comforting believers (John 14:16,17; 17:17) and guiding them into all truth as it is in Christ Jesus (John 16:13), (John 14:26), and empowering them to witness (Acts 1:8).

We believe that The Holy Bible is composed of sixty-six books, known as the Old and New Testaments, and that said books contain the eternal inerrant word of God. (Isaiah 40:8; 43:13; Psalm 80:36-37; Matthew 24:35; John 1:1-4). We believe that the Bible was writ ten by holy men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Samuel 23:1,2; 2 Peter 1: 19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16) and that it contains all necessary truth pertaining to salvation and to Christian living (II Peter 1:3).

We believe that the Atonement made by Jesus Christ through the shedding of His blood for the remission of sins is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin.

We believe that Baptism is commanded by our Lord as an ordinance in the church; and that it belongs to the believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We further believe that the Bible’s way of administering it is by immersion in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt 28:19-20)

We believe that every true believer is heir to the Holy Ghost. (Galatians 4:6,7) We believe that He is the gift of God in Christ Jesus to the children of God, sanctifying, quickening, guiding into all truth, and giving power to obey and witness God's work. We believe that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is an integral part of conversion. (Acts 5:32) We believe that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the ratification of man's acceptance with God and the earnest or guarantee of Man's eternal inheritance in Christ. (II Corinthians 1:22)

Service Times

Morning Worship: 8:00 & 11:00 am
Sunday School 9:30 am

Our Location

215 Old Whitfield Rd. Pearl, MS 39208

601-939-7611
sweetrest@bellsouth.net

Our History

The Call
It was in 1898, during a period of much spiritual and social unrest, that Bishop Charles Price Jones responded to a call from the Lord to serve Him "… in the beauty of Holiness." After preaching at Sweet Rest Baptist Church, he was so enthusiastically received that he was later asked to serve there as pastor. This early church, a makeshift structure, was located on the corner of Old Whitfield Road and Bibb Place. Like many of that day, the building served a dual purpose: a school during weekdays and a church on Sundays. Prior to Bishop Jones, the church had no formal pastor. Deacon George Taylor, who could neither read nor write, substituted in that capacity, for the church had been built on his land.


The Movement
By 1900, the Holiness doctrine of sanctification had become a movement espousing a close relationship with God evidenced by a clean, consistent life. Sweet Rest Baptist Church, following the lead of Jones who was to serve as pastor for 15 years, changed its name to Sweet Rest Church of God, and later to Church of God in Christ, and finally, Church of Christ (Holiness), U.S.A.


The South Campus
On October 11, 1907, Brother Willie Bibb and his wife, Ella, sold to Sweet Rest the existing half-acre plot of land on which South Campus now rests for the sum of $50. The white-frame structure that was built there in 1911 was to stand for nearly fifty years. All over the South, black churches were torched – firebombed in unprecedented numbers. Sweet Rest was among them. Early one Sunday morning in 1964, a deacon came to unlock the church for Sunday school. A strange, acrid smell was in the air. When he opened the door, thick black smoke assaulted him. The church had been firebombed just hours earlier. The damage to the structure was limited to the interior of the building, which was repaired in a few short weeks. A few years later, in 1974, Bro. Cornelius Jenkins, Contractor, renovated the Church, and in 1982, it became necessary to expand again.


The Pastors
Following the tenure of Bishop Jones, ending in 1913, other great men succeeded him.

First, there was Elder J. A. Jeter, a close friend of C. P. Jones (1914 - 1916), followed by Elder John Vance who pastored Sweet Rest from 1917 until 1921. These steadfast men of God added much to the growth and development of the church.

Elder H. R. McInnis (1922 - 1949), whose tenure as pastor lasted twenty-seven years, was a strict, no-nonsense man of God. Under his leadership, church membership grew and remained constant. During his pastorate, the black exodus from the South to the North began. Sweet Rest members migrated, too, and they took with them their deep religious convictions that had been instilled in them since childhood. Through this exodus and the vision of C.P. Jones, other Churches of Christ (Holiness) were established. In 1950, Elder McInnis introduced to Sweet Rest, a new convert to the Holiness doctrine, Elder John Sanders, who served well as pastor until 1957.

In January 1957, in the heart of the civil rights struggle, a young dynamic man of God came to pastor Sweet Rest. Elder J. T. Hill kept the church focused on God and not on the civil rights movement. Under his leadership, which was to last thirty-six years, the church prospered spiritually and financially. Later that same year, Elder George Thomas was commissioned to completely demolish the old church and erect a new one. During its construction, church services were held at Mt. Elam M. B. Church and Sunday School in the schoolhouse. In 1958, it was finished, complete with basement facilities and, for the first time, in-door plumbing. This was progress!

In September 1993, shortly after the death of the beloved Elder Hill, an equally dynamic pastor, Elder Eddie Brown, Sr. was appointed Sweet Rest’s seventh spiritual leader. He was a gifted gospel preacher. Services were spiritually uplifting, and membership quickly grew. It was during his tenure that the congregation realized it was fast outgrowing the building. The church prepared for yet another expansion and purchased the one-acre lot on the eastside of the church from the Johnson family.

In September 1996 Bishop Maurice Bingham appointed Elder Joseph Pridgen as the eighth pastor of Sweet Rest Church. Pastor Pridgen brought a level of excitement to the church not seen in many years. His love for his flock was immediately felt, and the church responded in kind. His teachings were thought-provoking and inspiring, yet he had a simple way of expressing great truths, one of which became the church motto: "A Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will build a Great Church.” God gave Pastor Pridgen a vision for the church: This good church could become a great church.​

The Centennial Celebration
May 22 - 24, 1998 ushered in a glorious gathering of the Sweet Rest families and friends from cities across the nation ¾- The Centennial Celebration! The fourth and fifth generations of the founding fathers had come together to reflect on the past, celebrate present and envision the future Sweet Rest Church. The church was highlighted for having thrived during 100 years of challenge. It had fathered eight “sons” in the Gospel: Elders Willie Jenkins, Sr., Estell McLaurin, Willie Jenkins, Jr., Samuel Thompson, Anglon Dillon, Arthur Jenkins, Gervis Kendrick and Richard Jenkins. It was celebrated for the contributions its people had made to the church and to society. But Bishop Vernon Kennebrew, a true visionary, culminated the weekend with a powerful, futuristic message: "One More River to Cross." The past was behind us. It was time to focus on the future. It was time to build the church.


The North Campus
After much prayer, the proposed site for the new facility was changed to a five-acre plot of land across the street. Its purchase from Mrs. Ola Watson Ross was finalized on May 17, 1999, and plans were drawn up to build the church of the future. The rain that steadily fell that afternoon did not quench spirits nor deter attendance at the groundbreaking ceremonies held on September 8, 2001.

Nine months later, June 16, 2002 members gathered together during the Sunday School hour to pray and to remember. It was a bittersweet service, for it was time to leave the old building behind to begin a new era. Some shed tears, but all were jubilant. The church had come to the river and was about to cross over. At 10:45 a.m. the lights were turned off at South Campus and turned on at North Campus.

Dedication services were held on July 7, 2002, with a fifty-voice choir in the choir loft, praising God to the highest. Bishop Joseph Campbell brought the keynote address to a capacity crowd. More than a symbolic reference, it was noted that encased behind the cornerstone and underneath the pulpit was the Holy Bible. Attendees were literally standing and leaning on the Word of God.


The Legacy

The legacy of Bishop C. P. Jones continues today. From the makeshift structure of 1898 to the fine establishment of today, Sweet Rest praises God for the past and strives to serve the Lord "… in the beauty of Holiness" for years to come.