ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS, SERIES 3, PART 4
‘The little church with the big heart’
by Susie Sansom-Piper
Rockdale Reporter - February 25, 2010
A group of inspired leaders met together in September, 1907, and, under the leadership of
Rev. W. M. Larry, organized Rising Star Baptist Church in the Tracy community.
In December, 1924, a new edifice was built and dedicated under the leadership of Rev. D.
The first cornerstone ceremony was observed in September, 1941.
During this period the majority of members migrated to other areas in Milam County for
better working conditions.
Under the leadership of Rev. A. E. Chew Sr. the church was moved to its present location
on Texas Street in 1963.
After Rev. Chew’s resignation, Rev. J. A. Piper was elected as pastor, serving the
congregation for the next eight years.
Under his pastorate the church was completely remodeled and the second cornerstone
ceremony was observed in August, 1972, under the leadership of Rev. L. O. Lang and
Moderator Rev. R. A. Westbrook.
The year 1967 brought new experiences in Christian relationship between churches in the
Rising Star Baptist Church and Allen Chapel AME Church joined alliance and organized a
fellowship between the two churches.
This was an inspired revelation of Pastor O. W. Duncan (AME) and J. A. Piper (RSB) to
join saints of diverse denominations in Christian fellowship.
This was the beginning of the Rockdale Eastside Fellowship of Churches which is still in
The congregation has also experienced many new innovations under the leadership of former
pastors Revs. James Mosely, Ronald W. Carter, Raymond L. Owens and James Davis.
These included a remodeling project, new musical instruments, expansion of central unit,
youth ministry, praise dance team, church sign, brotherhood ministry, Christian charm
class, male chorus and musical workshop.
The church has long been noted as the “little church with a big heart” because of its
generosity and support to the community, families in need and civic projects.
A building fund was implemented under Rev. James Davis with the vision of a new worship
center which would include an educational building and other facilities.
Over the past 100 years 17 ministers have served Rising Star as pastors.
President minister is Rev. Royal L. Johnson. Under his leadership the church continues to
prosper and is now experiencing phase II of the new building program.
Plans are to pay as you go so that the new building can be entered debt free by next
He has also implemented several new programs to encourage and enhance the community as a
Rising Star’s motto is “striving to love one another as God loves us.”