Reverend Rickey E. Parks was born on January 10, 1963 to the union of Chester, Jr. and Azzilee Parks in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He graduated from Watson Chapel High School in 1981. In 1986, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Recreation in Physical Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Pastor Parks has also completed Master of Science Degree in Secondary Education.
Pastor Parks was licensed to preach the Gospel on June 15, 1997 and was ordained as a Minister on June 27, 1999. In 2002, he accepted the call to Pastor Star Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Wabbaseka, Arkansas. Pastor Parks extensive work history involving the church is on a local, state and national level, including the Regular Arkansas Baptist State Convention Central District as Moderator-At-Large, Member of the Young Pastor & Young Ministers Association of the National Baptist Congress, Youth Counselor, Sunday School Teacher, Assistant Teacher for New Membership Class, Layman Teacher, Member of Fellowship of Christian Athletics and Member of Arkansas Officials Association. In addition, a 2000 inductee into the Watson Chapel High School Hall of Fame in three (3) sports.
Pastor Parks was a college Professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for nine years in the Department of Health, Recreation and Physical Education, where he was also the Defensive Back Coach, Recruiting Coordinator and Academic Advisor as well as Head Golf Coach. He worked as a Radio and TV commentator for the football games for the Golden Lions.
In January of 2008, Pastor Parks accepted the call to become the eighth (8th) Pastor of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Champaign, Illinois. In December of 2008, he ordained his first minister, Rev. Steve Gilbert. Pastor Parks is excited and passionate about teaching and preaching God’s Word. Since his time with us, we have increased with more knowledge and understanding of the precepts and concepts of God. Our souls have been renewed. During our first year together, the Laymen’s ministry and Praise Dancers were reinstated. In February 2009, Pilgrim completed its first kitchen remodeling project in over 30 years.
Other new ministries established under Pastor Parks’ leadership include the Girl Scouts Troop, Getting Fit for Christ, “Close the Back Door”, Kingdom Builders, Children’s Church and Married Couples Ministry. Furthermore, we have launched a new website, Facebook page and our own newsletter, the Christian Current.
On October 12, 2012, a ground breaking ceremony was held for our new church. In February 2014, the new edifice was completed, which includes a 365 – seat sanctuary along with seven classrooms, two offices and new men and women restrooms. On February 15, 2014, the ribbon cutting ceremony and the first service was held.
To date, most importantly over 540 disciples have joined under Pastor Parks’ leadership. We give God the praise for answered prayers. We pray that we continue to be a church devoted in brotherly love, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
Pastor Parks is employed as a Truancy Interventionist & Student Advocate by the Champaign Unit 4 School District. He is the Moderator for the Fellowship Baptist District Association. He also served as Head football coach of the Central and Urbana High School Freshman Team (his professional experience includes playing in the National Football League for the Minnesota Vikings).
Pastor Parks is married to Felicia A. Stribling-Parks and is the father of three sons: Rickey, Akeemeon and Ariston, and grandfather of two grandsons Neil and Rylan.