Highlights of the History of Knox Presbyterian Church
June, 1926 Rev. H. Octavius Graham, who attended the Lincoln University Seminary, was invited by the Presbytery of Baltimore to start a Presbyterian church in East Baltimore.
May 20, 1930 The Presbytery of Baltimore admitted Knox as an organized church. There were forty members at that time.
April 29, 1951 Rev. Graham led his congregation into the large building at the corner of Broadway, Biddle, and Gay Streets. The building contained a sanctuary, chapel, gymnasium, auditorium, library, offices, and two floors of classrooms.
1951-1974 Knox became an integral part of the community. Church and community members participated in Boy and Girl Scouts, basketball, and after school clubs. Vacation Bible School and day camp were held each summer. One of the first Head Start programs was housed at Knox.
The Sanctuary Choir, Deacon Board, Elder Board, Senior and Junior Ushers, Missionary Society, Youth Group, Sunbeam Choir, and other ministries were in place. Rev. Graham was a leader in the civil rights movement and led many church members in protests for racial equality.
June 1974 Rev. H Octavius Graham retired after 48 years of service to Knox Presbyterian Church.
July 1975 Rev. Lonnie J. Oliver accepted a call to become the second pastor of the church. During his tenure the congregation increased to over 300 members. Services were enhanced with the addition of The Tones of Faith gospel group and The Knox Chorale. Knox Outreach ministries expanded to include a soup kitchen, a prison ministry, and emergency food and clothing program. Rev. Oliver began a $400,000 building fund to build a new church.
July 1, 1979 Rev. Oliver led the congregation to its newly built edifice at Preston and Eden Streets.
August 1, 1980 A proposal to acquire an assistant pastor resulted in Rev. Bernice Warren being sent to Knox to work with youth, seniors, and the outreach program.
January 1986 Rev. Gordon Marshall accepted the call to become the third pastor of Knox. He diligently led his congregation and continued evangelistic efforts to bring others to Christ. He established a group of church members as the Fire Committee, with the task of getting church members to pledge funds to pay off the mortgage early. “Mortgage Free in ‘93” was the slogan. Under his leadership much progress was made towards paying off the mortgage.
May 1992 Rev. Charles Thomas was installed as the Designated Pastor, and in 1994 he was installed as the fourth pastor of Knox. During his tenure Knox became a partner for Bernard Harris Elementary School to help with tutoring and after school needs. He continued outreach into the community and launched the Vision 2000 program to purchase nearby abandoned homes to expand the church property and to create a home for a family in need.
1995 Rev. Phyllis Felton was hired by the Presbytery to oversee a five-year effort called Harambee, to aid in outreach and work with other transitional churches in Baltimore. Her office was in Knox, and she developed programs for after school tutoring, leadership training, health and restoration, among others. She brought innovative worship ideas to enhance the weekly worship services at Knox.
January 2001 Rev. Iris Lloyd-Tucker was called as our first woman pastor. She involved the church with the Oliver community and helped garner funds for the Dawson Safe Haven for Children House. Rev. Tucker initiated The Maafa, a musical psychodrama that depicts the journey of Black people from Africa through our history in this country. This performance that included people from the community and other churches, as well as Knox members, was held at Knox two years in a row to standing room crowds.
April 2007 Rev. Tanya Wade became the interim pastor for Knox. During her tenure the music program was revitalized to include percussion instruments, Vacation Bible School was jointly held with a neighboring church, and plans for a Summer Fun and Enrichment Camp were made. She was instrumental in forming new partnerships, such as Johns Hopkins Hospital (Organic Produce Market), Christ Our King Presbyterian Church of Bel Air, MD (Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway), and the Eastern District Police (Jericho March and Transformation).
June 2011 Rev. Michael L. Moore, who grew up at Knox, accepted the call to return as its pastor. During his tenure the church began new partnerships with other churches and organizations to help serve the community. He initiated The New Church Redevelopment Team to work on ways to strengthen the church and build relationships within the church as well as with those outside of the church. He led the team in applying for grants to assist with capital improvements, obtain needed technology, and develop programs to benefit the nearby school and community.
September 2020 Rev. Moore accepted a position at the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. in Louisville, Kentucky.