Rebecca S. Jones
African-American News & Issues
Raised in a planned community developed in the 1940’s which was settled by African-Americans is Pastor Samuel Compton Sr.. Settegast was a self-sustained community during segregation, residents raised hogs and chickens and grew greens and potatoes. Young Samuel was nurtured and molded under two of Settegast most prominent and notorious leaders, the late Pastor Thomas J. and Dr. Esther Compton. Rev. T.J. Compton was a local pastor who established Mt. Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in the year 1939 in the Fourth Ward segment of Houston. However, after much consideration by the Rev. T.J. Compton an ultimatum which consisted of relocating Mt. Canaan MBC to either Pleasantville or Settegast presented itself. The spiritually led pastor decided upon the latter. A decision which to this day gas reverenced Mt. Canaan as one of the oldest and largest African-American churches in Houston’s, Settegast community. Although, initially Dr. Esther Compton was reluctant about the decision to relocate to Settegast, she elected to follow and support her husband and pastor. During that time, the Settegast was considered as a rural area in Houston. It was remotely encompassed roundabout with trees, dirt roads and only a few African-American families occupied its dwelling places. There were no stores and very little civilization existed at that time. Though it was a challenge, Dr. Esther Compton organized a school which taught Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten aged children; out of Mt. Canaan. During an era of segregation and persistent prejudicial discrimination of which Blacks could not socialize and coexist with Whites; Dr. Compton’s school provided a much-needed meeting ground for local Blacks to be educated.
Young Samuel, was significantly exposed to the grave racial disparities that dominated amongst members of the Black community. He attended and graduated from B.C. Elmore High School (the only school that Blacks were allowed to attend during that time). He vividly recalls how there were scarcely a few occasions that allowed the Black students to go to M.B. Smiley High School (the school for Whites during that era), which was to play football or perhaps to have their Homecoming there. Majority of the time, Black students practiced and played on the large open field located behind B.C. Elmore. Samuel also remembered how he and his family had to take the Pioneer Bus downtown to go shopping; as there were no places to shop in the Black community back then. The Pioneer Bus was the only transportation service then that linked Houston’s Black neighborhoods to the rest of the city. When Samuel and his family would go “into town”, if they wanted lunch, they were forced to the back window of an establishment if they wanted to place an order. It was at the back of the restaurant that they would eat, because Blacks were not allowed to mingle and fellowship with Whites.
Nevertheless, Samuel’s exposure to the creative skills and talents possessed by his parents equipped him with the knowledge and capability to really make a difference in the Black community. Accordingly, he went on to attend, Texas Southern University. Later he continued his education at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Inter Baptist Theological Seminary. As a result, he earned and received his L.L.D, D.D., B.A. and M.A. degrees.
Having received Christ at an early age under the leadership of his father and being spiritually led by the unction of the Holy Spirit; Samuel was called into the ministry in 1977. Upon receiving his calling, Rev. Samuel Compton understood that the ministry that he was placed as steward over would evolve into more than just one that would satisfy the spiritual needs of the community. In a time that very few opportunities were available for Blacks, Rev. Compton saw a need. A need that would not only require him to lead the people but to help educate and invest into the people of the community. Not long afterwards, he was called to pastor Mercy Seat Baptist Church in Washington, Texas (the former capital of Texas). While pastoring there, Pastor Compton was responsible for the remodeling of the church’s edifice.
In 1990, tragedy struck within Pastor Compton’s home church at Mt. Canaan MBC. One Sunday evening after worship service Pastor T.K. Compton suffered a stroke and passed away. The following Sunday, Pastor Samuel Compton was voted in and was elected to lead Mt. Canaan to its next phase which will forever notate it as the historical establishment that can be seen in passing Settegast’ main road, North Wayside.
Pastor T.K. Compton had previously constructed three buildings to satisfy the demand of a growing congregation. However, not long after Rev. Samuel Compton’s pastoralship that demand became increasingly stronger. After consulting and speaking with the leaders of the church it was agreed upon that there were many things that could be done within the community, starting with a new edifice. Thus, Pastor Compton was motivated to construct a brand new sanctuary. In 1995, Mt. Canaan MBC was built and erected and now occupies the space located at 7400 North Wayside Dr., 77028. However, this feat was only the groundwork that laid the foundation for several other ventures developed and produced by Pastor Samuel Compton. Not long afterwards, he begin to seek out other ministers and leaders of the community at an attempt to help unify and build collective forces throughout the Black community. This initiative resulted in the establishment of the Northeast Ministers Council, of which Pastor Compton serves as President over. The Northeast Ministers Council, lead by Compton were very instrumental in helping to fortify many of opportunities that residents of the community currently enjoy. The council assisted with: paving the streets throughout Settegast, lot clearances, the tearing down and reconstructing of dilapidated homes amidst various other projects that are being done in Settegast until this day.
Continuing with the love and concern displayed by his mother; Pastor Compton formed his own non-profit organization, The Esther Compton Community Development Center. Additionally, his desire to see children avoid some of the negative influences that exist in the inner city and increase their chances of success is what prompted him to organize the center. Currently, the Dr. Esther Compton CDC is building affordable homes in the Settegast area, as well as constructing a one-hundred fifty unit Senior Independent Living Facility in Northeast Houston.
Throughout the years, the admirable pastor has made many strides for the members of the community of which he is apart of. He serves as President of the Puritan District Association of Texas and Managing Director of Intelligent Minds Child Development Center. Pastor Compton stated that he, “tends to focus his efforts on spiritual growth, community revitalization, early childhood education and economic development”.
His latest venture premiered over a year ago in the form of Eden Event Center. The 18,000 square foot multi-purpose facility was built for community and church usage. Pastor Compton’s vision of the Eden Event Center has already been manifested in various forms of: weddings, graduations, receptions, concerts, conferences, meetings, banquets that have premiered at the center.
Pastor Samuel Compton has proven to be a man of faith and integrity, as he traveled throughout the provinces of Greece and Africa preaching the gospel of Christ. He believes that it is his responsibility to “do God’s work not only in the sanctuary, but within the community and at school”. He rests assured that one of his greatest accomplishments is the building of a new sanctuary. He declared that, “It was the housing for God’s kingdom building and every soul that has been added to the kingdom is another accomplishment as well”. Compton continued, “No matter what I do, God’s work is always top priority, so ultimately pleasing God is my goal.”
Pastor Compton is married to Mrs. Andrea Sampson and he has three sons and one daughter.