The roots of the College Park Seventh-day Adventist Church are that of a family. This church, founded in Red Oak Georgia, began to flourish over four decades ago. Brother & sister Cleo Moreland purchased land in what was termed a "dark county." It seemed that the word of God had not reached this remote, yet thriving city. However, with diligence, perseverance and prayer, many souls would accept the call of our loving Savior.
As the Moreland family grew, each child took its place in society as well as in the church. Eventually, the family migrated to various locations. Many years later, they returned to the very land whence they came to finish this predestined work of winning souls for the kingdom.
Living together once again as a large and close-knit family, the idea was formulated to start a church. Working together with Elder O.W. Mackey, a Literature Evangelist whose dedicated work was flooding the Red Oak area, the idea of a new church began to materialize.
In the beginning, services were held from house to house every other Sunday. Neighbors were invited, Bible lessons were given and a branch Sabbath School was implemented by this small, zealous group.
The original charter members were the families of Sister Eular Moreland, Willie F. and Ruby Denham, James and Alice Dorsey, Mexie Dean Beasley & Kellye, Estella Childs Kay & son, Luther Beasley & Christopher, Diane Glass & daughter, Elder & Mrs. O.W. Mackey, Monica Ford & children, Earl & Joyce Dunson and Erroll, Eugene & Ann Ross with Charlene, Darlene, Carolyn and Tiffany, Lydia Cole, Priscilla Maultsby & children and Angela McCann.
The South Atlantic Conference, with Elder R. L Woodfork serving as President, accepted this congregation as as official church in November, 1978. Its first officers were: First Elder - Eugene Ross; Assistant First Elder - Earl Dunson; Head Deacon - James Dorsey; Head Deaconess & Dorcas Leader - Eular Moreland; Treasurer - Priscilla Maultsby; Sabbath School Superintendent - Ann Ross; Personal Ministries Director - Lydia Cole; AYS Leader - Joyce Dunson; Hostess - Monica Ford; Church Clerk - Mexie Dean Beasley.
Oftentimes, the road seemed bleak and filler with despair, but consistent faith and diligent prayer would see this small band of soldiers through event he hardest times. Only with the help of God, the love and nurturing of Elder F.W. Parker and the Atlanta Berean church did the load seem easier to bear.
The Lord helped this congregation to obtain facility on White city road in College Park Georgia. As they reflect back a moment to the small, drab, concrete block building, hardly larger than our present fellowship hall and kitchen combined, they give glory, praise and honor to God for our present blessings. It is remembered that eighty percent of their membership was usually there for early morning prayer meeting on Sabbath, AYS and prayer meeting every Wednesday night.
When it rained, there were time they could hardly find a dry seat on the hard and splintered pews. They often worried if the old ceiling would hold under the pressure of the worn beams and patched repairs. One of their favorite songs was "There's A Leak in this old Building." OH YES, THOSE WERE THE DAYS! The warmth of the old gas heater can still be felt by chartered members as they recap huddling around to keep their flock of new born babies warm in the winter, or trying to keep them cool by fanning fiercely with card board fans during the Summer. However, the old floor fan had to be unplugged sometimes in order to hear God's message.
They remember the pests, including rodents, and many other deteriorating conditions of that dweilling, but the tie that binds is the love of our heavenly father and the unity, love and compassion we share for each other.
They were a special people, hand picked by God to do a special task of evangelizing the College Park area, to flood it with Bible studies and literature. Many souls were baptized in the old cinder block pool in the back of the church with nothing but cold, cold water. Some of the precious souls harvested were Sherrenise Proctor, Robert and Kenny Teart and a host of foster children reared by the Denham and Dorsey families.
Approximately one year later, Elder Richard E. and Mrs. Tottress became the passionate became the passionate shepherds of this enthusiastic flock. Through community outreach, Bible studies, an outstanding vacation bible school, "Your Bible Speaks" radio broadcasts, and evangelistic seminars, many souls were baptized under their leadership.
In January, 1982, Pastor P.J. Jones, accompanied by his kind wife and two lovely daughters, was appointed as pastor. During his ministry, the present lovely edifice was acquired and the name of the church was changed to Mt. Olive Seventh-Day Adventist church. A day care center was established. The original 30 children were provided from the personal home day care of sister Lydia Cole and this was the method used to populate the church's day care - an act of love!
A few years later, Pastor C.D. Henri, accompanied by his gracious family, was selected to pastor Mt. Olive. Our church family was indeed honored to have Elder Henri as pastor after he had successfully served as Vice-President of the General Conference. He was truly a leader with a shepherd's heart. Under his wisdom and guidance, we accomplished many goals. Spiritually, physically and mentally, we could feel the hand of God leading as in the days of "Israel of old."
During 1984, Pastor King Solomon Smallwood and his beautiful family joined us and became loved by so many, sharing their many talents with the Mt. Olive church family. Under his leadership, the church thrust forward solidly in many areas: achieving financial stability, and raising the day care to new financial and community service levels. After more than twenty - six years, Elder Smallwood's contributions to our day care which has developed into an Early Learning Center, are still visible through the efficient leadership of Estella Lain. The Early Learning Center currently employs 15-18 workers and annually provides Christ - like guidance to 100 + children.
Pastor & Mrs. Lawrence Hamilton and family arrived at Mt. Olive in 1992, showering us with their effervescent spirits and vivacious personalities. Continuing a progressive path, Elder Hamilton inspired Mt. Olive to conquer and channel many new challenges. The beginning stages for our new fellowship hall were implemented under the leadership of the Hamilton's.
On March 18, 1998, Pastor and Mrs. Oscar Sherrod joined the Mt. Olive family. Truly God sent him to us. This God fearing man, with his "sent from on high" sermons, his dedication to evangelism and his support and contributions brought encouragement and enthusiasm to our devoted membership. The growth of our church was evident as we pursued the bid of the master to go into all the world. In June 2000, the fellowship hall, which also houses facilities for the new Early Learning Center and our community service department, was completed and dedicated under the administration of Pastor Sherrod.
On December 12, 2001, Pastor & Mrs. Darryl L. Howard, along with their sons, were assigned to our church. With continued vision for evangelism, Mt. Olive successfully gave birth to and have continued to help sustain the Riverdale Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pastor Howard's leadership supplied guidance in refurbishing our sanctuary to further edify God's people and glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This project was completed and dedicated to the Lord in May, 2006.
In August 2006, Pastor & Mrs. Drake P. Barber, arrived with excitement and glee. Pastor Barber started formulating plans to expand church membership through dedicated evangelism and a vision of purchasing a new sanctuary. Under his energetic and enthusiastic leadership, a new edifice was purchased for the Riverdale SDA Church...Praise the Lord.