The Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church began when a people of God recognized a need for fellowship in a common community.
It was early in the spring of 1919, sometime during the month of April, when Brother W.M. Gray pitched an evangelistic tent and started a series of open air tent services in Detroit. Recognizing a need for additional help to get the church started, he was joined by Elder J.W. Childs of Flint, Michigan.
Elder Childs had a great zeal for the people of God and had experience in the ministry. Therefore, was given charge of the tent services. The doctrine taught constituted the apostolic faith, “the good news of how man can be rightly related to God through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and that, on condition of repentance, forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit are offered, with a assurance of salvation.”
June 12, 1919, Elder Childs rented a room for approximately one month. Then the church assembly was moved into a small storefront on Lafayette Street around July 1. By this time, the Lord had begun blessing this ministry with a few additional souls added to the church.
That August, the assembly rented and moved into a storefront at 1716 St. Aubin Street. This is where Elder Childs became affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. After being connected with that great movement, many of the able ministers met, including Mother Brewer, Mother Porter, Mother Campbell, and Sister White. The Lord gave great inspiration to the small group through His word. And so, the following year, probably in July 1920, the small congregation rented a living room for church purposes in the home of Sister Bryant on Lafayette Street. There they worshipped the Lord under many embarrassing and discouraging obstacles. Through all of this wandering and sacrificing, God was continually saving souls. After about two months of holding services in Sister Bryant’s living room, the group purchased a tent and pitched it on Clinton and Rivard Streets. This move took place in September 1920, and was considered the most historical place of their wandering. This is the place where Elder Carson of Springfield, Ohio, joined the saints. For some time, the services were conducted under many surprising and burdensome conditions, which finally resulted in a separation of the saints. Some of the saints moved their assembly to Duboise and Lafayette Streets. Others continued worshipping in the tent at Clinton and Rivard Streets. This development is difficult to trace and even more difficult to unravel.
Nevertheless, by the middle of November 1920, the assembly was reunited in a small storefront church at 1466 Monroe Street under the leadership of Elder Carson. Elder Childs left the church in the spring of 1921 to begin work in Springfield, Ohio, where many souls were saved in his ministry.
In June 1921, by some spiritual carelessness and Biblical negligence, the union again was broken, causing some of the people of God to wander as in a wilderness and a sheep without a shepherd.
It was in July and August 1921, a group of wandering saints regrouped and gathered at the home of Brother and Sister Harry Miller (Robbie) at 628 Napoleon Street for a prayer service. Among those present were: Brother Levi Miles, Brother Jordon Bond, Sister Lena Long, Sister Eleanor Hunter, Brother and Sister Louis Sydney, Brother and Sister Emond Sterrett Sr., Sister Robbie Miller and Sister Racalia Miller. They continued meeting at the above address until the death of Brother Miller.
Through a genuine concern for the lack of leadership among God’s people, they began to desire a pastor who might reconcile the saints together again, as one body. After many weeks of fasting, praying, suffering, and waiting on the Lord for deliverance, the answer finally came.
The faithful saints were led by the Lord through Brother and Sister Louis Sidney and Brother and Sister Sterrett to contact Elder Samuel Nathan Hancock. These saints had sat under his ministry in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was then presiding as Assistant Pastor to Bishop Garfield T. Haywood, the founder and the pastor of Christ Temple Church. Brother Levi Miles was appointed secretary for the purpose of composing a letter to Elder Hancock and to act as correspondent for the group.
Brother Miles wrote the letter requesting Elder Hancock to consider pastoring the small flock, which by now was in need of spiritual food. On October 20, 1921, the reply was received, giving the saints new strength. Elder Hancock was going to visit them. However, it was not known whether he would stay or not. Elder Hancock’s response stated that he would seek God’s favor in the matter because he wanted God to lead and direct him in making the decision on whether to remain in Indianapolis as Assistant Pastor at Christ Temple or leave Indianapolis to feed the souls of the saints in Detroit. God soon answered the prayers of the saints and of Elder Hancock.
In the meantime, a resurgence of evangelists from far and near heard about the work and struggles of the small group, and came to exert their influence upon changing and for offering leadership that would overthrow God’s righteous plan. But, instead of the saints becoming confused, they knew the stance they were taking would provide healing and reconciliation, both inwardly to the church herself and outwardly to the world.
On the night of December 16, 1921, when the enemy thought he would overthrow the plan God had sanctioned, Elder Hancock, a man of God, who had been destined to fulfill His purpose in Detroit, entered a small church and took over the service. This event not only marked the beginning of a new era, but the beginning of one of the world’s greatest ministries. He was appointed pastor of Bethlehem Temple Church that night and the first Bethlehem Temple Church was organized. Elder Hancock promised, “I will do a great thing in Detroit, Michigan.”
He first took steps to move the church assembly to another location, in a building located at St. Antoine and Montcalm Streets. This building was the foundation of the first Bethlehem Temple Church. Its only possession was twenty-five to thirty chairs.
The Lord blessed this ministry and delivered His people from the enemy who fought God’s work at every turn. In spite of these obstacles, God moved stones and “disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them.”
In February 1922, Elder Carson was led by the Lord to relinquish his church assembly at 1466 Monroe Street to Elder Hancock’s ministry. The barrier that once separated God’s people was at last broken and the saints reunited at the old landmark at 1466 Monroe Street. After this great reunion, there was a great shout in the camp for many days. From that day forward, Bethlehem Temple Church was on the move.
Elder Carson left Detroit to begin a work in Los Angeles, California, where many souls were blessed from his ministry. Since that time, he has been called from his labor to be with the Lord.
After remaining on Monroe Street for approximately one year and seven months, the building became too small for the growing assembly. In 1923 Elder Hancock was led to purchase two cottages at 2238 Clinton Street. One of the cottages was converted into a church building with a seating capacity of 159 persons. The other cottage was retained for a parsonage. In the latter part September 1923, the congregation moved into their new location at the Clinton Street address.
Again, in the year of 1926, after spending two years and six months in one building, it became obvious that a larger edifice was needed. Therefore, the parsonage was converted and added to the church building, increasing the seating capacity to 400. The Lord continued to add souls daily, such as should be saved. The dedication of this building took place in October 1926.
Then again, in 1928, plans were made to further expand the borders of Bethlehem Temple Church, and within a few months, in one year 1929, a new church was built at 2254 Clinton of yellow brick with seating capacity of 1,200. Bishop Hancock planned and designed the building. In addition, he and the brethren of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church dug the basement, laid the foundation and the bricks, set the steel posts and beams, and installed the laths. The materials were bought and paid for as the building went up. When the work was completed, not one cent was owed for the building materials.
The result of the achievements of building the new edifice was due to the loyalty, sacrifice, faith, and obedience of the saints that lived by God’s rule, :Obey those who have rule over you.” Full obedience to God’s law brought success from a lowly beginning with assets of twenty-five to thirty chairs, to assets totaling over two million dollars.
By that time, $560,000 for foundations, which included, approximately $150,000 for structural steel, which was stored in a warehouse, had been spent. The city reimbursed the church for the loss.
In 1962, Bishop Hancock and congregation purchased the Jewish synagogue, Sharey Zedek, which is the present edifice of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, located at 2900 W. Chicago Boulevard at Lawton Street. It has a seating capacity of 1,800 in the main auditorium. On April 5, 1962 a deposit of $100,000 was placed down on the church, and the balance of $500,000 was paid for all legal matters were completed. At the time of the purchase of the building on Chicago Boulevard and Lawton Street, Bethlehem Temple Church had over a million dollars tied up in this church and the church at 2238 Clinton Street.
On March 10, 1963, the Bishop Hancock congregation moved into its new location, which sprawls across 2 ½ lots of land and runs practically the full the length of the block. Within five short months of arrival into the new “home,” on August 18, 1963,
Bishop S.N. Hancock passed after a short illness.
Since that time Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church purchased the remainder of the land in the block previously owned by the Jehovah’s Witness congregation.
Without realizing the blessed change that lied in store for us, the world, especially the Apostolic movement, was ever blessed on November 9, 1883, when, in Adair County, Kentucky, Samuel Nathan Hancock was born. The amazing, spiritual influence that was yet to be realized would come in God’s time.
Stepping back in time for a moment, Samuel’s grandparents, Alisa and Robert Wheat hailed from Russell County, Kentucky where his mother, Lottie Wheat, was born on January 11, 1856. His parents, John Wyatt Hancock and Lottie were joined in holy matrimony on November 4, 1875 and to this union were born six children, Eudora, Florence, John Wyatt, Jr., (all of whom preceded them in death at a very early age), Samuel Nathan, Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie, as she was called), and John William Richard Nelson. John Wyatt, Sr. moved his family from Kentucky to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1888.
It was during the early years of her marriage that Lottie was converted and became a member of the Second Christian Church of Indianapolis, Indiana. John Wyatt, Sr. was made deacon in the same church. It was in 1915 that Lottie visited the church on Eleventh and Senate where the late G.T. Haywood was the pastor. She was baptized in Jesus’ Name and in the same year, she was filled with the Precious gift of the Holy Ghost. Lottie couldn’t keep the Good News to herself. She began telling her children who were grown at that time. Following in her footsteps was her daughter, Sallie, who too, went down in the Mighty Name of Jesus and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not very long after that, in the same year (1915), her eldest son, Samuel Nathan, along with his wife, Ann Williams-Hancock, received the same Gift from God, after having had their sins washed away in water in the name of Jesus.
In 1908, before Samuel Hancock was saved, he met, and soon after married Bertha Valentine, who died in 1913. To this union was born their two children, Norlin Winifred (born August 8, 1908 and died June 20, 1964), and Geraldine, who died many years before Norlin. Needing help with his two children, Samuel met and later married Anna Williams. After the death of Mother Anna Hancock, he married Mother Ida Haywood. Upon her death, he later married Mother Anna Bea Douglas of Los Angeles, California. At the time of his death, Bishop Hancock was married to Mother Bertha Jackson.
As a young man, prior to his New Birth experience, Samuel Hancock learned to smoke cigarettes. It became a habit he found impossible to break. According to his testimony, he continued to smoke after having received the Holy Ghost. Wanting to please God more than anything, Brother Hancock petitioned the Lord and said to Him, “Lord, if you can take these cigarettes from me, I’ll believe you can do anything.” He said that God did just that. His end testimony was, “From that day to this I’ve never smoked another cigarette and I have trusted God for everything: money, healing, whatever was needed.” Those of us who knew Him can possibly remember the many miraculous events that happened through this great man of God that supported his claim to faith. Very shortly after having received the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord called Brother Hancock to the ministry. Thus began his Spiritual Journey into the everlasting Will of God.
He began preaching and teaching the undiluted Word of God. He held services in the streets of Indianapolis, Indiana. He was hungry for the souls of lost and dying men, women, boys and girls. Though he was marked for Excellence, he was a faithful, obedient follower to his pastor, Bishop G.T. Haywood. It was because if his devoted faithfulness to God, that he was ordained Assistant Pastor to Bishop Haywood in 1917. As he continued steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine, his works of God, and his love for God’s people gave way to being ordained to District Elder of the State of Indiana with Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1927. It would later be his testimony, in the 1950’s during a special meeting that he called to speak to the preacher and missionaries, that he had never asked to be considered for an office and he never asked anyone to let him preach for them. It was his conviction that if one would prove to be faithful to God, the gift of the ministry would make room for that person. (Listen to the audiotape entitled, “The Purpose God Has in You”).
It was while Elder Hancock was faithfully serving God in Indianapolis that, unbeknownst to him, a group of hungry, helpless souls in Detroit, Michigan were petitioning God for a permanent, God obeying and an ordained leader. When approached with the possibility of his leaving Indianapolis and assuming leadership of the souls in Detroit, he carefully sought his pastor’s advice and God’s direction. Only after God had made His Will known
and Bishop Haywood had given his blessings did Elder Hancock set his sights and heart on relocating to begin a work for the building of the Kingdom of God in Detroit, Michigan. He moved in 1921. It was December 16, 1921, at the assembly in Detroit that it was reported that he vowed to “do a great thing in Detroit.”
In 1927, the Bishop Board of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. made the decision that the time had come for Elder Hancock to be ordained “Bishop” Samuel N. Hancock. Although this was a great blessing, he never once did allow the title to become larger than himself or the God in him. Rather than let the titled position make him, he, through the love and power of the Almighty God, made the titled position. He went from a handful of souls (about seven), to having been the father of pastors all over the country. And today, we should all say, “To God Be the Glory” for it was never about Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock, but it was about Him with whom we have to obey.
Many miracles, signs, and wonders were witnessed during Bishop Hancock’s fearless, faith-filled 42 years of divine leadership. He was never concerned or dissuaded by the negative comments made regarding his Godly convictions. When mistreated, he reviled not again, but prayed for the offender and loved him/her. In one of his messages, probably the one previously referred to, he recalled an incident when someone had written him a letter accusing him of something that he had not done. He said that he took the letter and opened it to the Lord and told the Lord how false the accusation was. He went on to say that the Lord had answered his concern and said to him, “The only lie you’ll have to worry about is the one that I believe.” Bishop said that he went to sleep, “still sitting up.” “I didn’t fall over to the side or to the floor. I slept like a baby.”
In all his endeavors, his messages, his demonstrations by his own life, Bishop Hancock beseeched us all to be saved, walk circumspectly before Him in love. Yes, many, even today say that he was “unnecessarily strict,” that “it don’t take all that.” He was only persuaded by, “What does the Bible say?” He taught that we are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, that we are not to touch the unclean thing, that we are to come out from among them and be separate from them, and that we are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. He taught as did Apostle Paul, that we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:14)
Bishop Hancock believed that praise is comely for the saints, but not over sin. He strongly believed and taught that repentance and confession must be a part of our walk with God. Praying and fasting, singing, and shouting is what we should be doing, but now leaving behind the message from the former prophets and apostles. (Zechariah 7:4-7 and Galations 1:8-9)
Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock, to the devastation of some, and deep, deep sadness to others, died August 18, 1963 after a 10-day illness. It would have been better if God had allowed Sister Mattie B. Poole to pray for him and have Christ raise him from the dead, one might think. Certainly, we needed him, but God in His own wise counsel, said otherwise. Now it is incumbent upon all who sat under him to demonstrate the impact and influence in knowing him has had on each of us individually and live the Word that has been preached, regardless to the opinion of the general populace.
Bishop David L. Collins was born on February 12, 1900, to the union of William and Rose Collins in a log House near Yazoo City, Mississippi. He was the third child of family of six. At the age of twelve years, early in the year 1912, his father died after a long illness. Recognizing his responsibility to his mother, Bishop Collins went to support her and the family.
He continued working in Mississippi until 1921, when he left and traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, and gained employment there. Then, in 1923, Bishop Collins left Kansas City and came to Detroit to work at the Packard Motor Company. In the mid twenties, David was united in holy matrimony with Viola Smith who preceded him in death.
In 1930, while working for the automobile company, a young cousin, Hazel Jackson led him to Clinton Street. Bishop S.N. Hancock, Pastor. She had never been inside the church, but was excited by what she heard from inside the church. It was there that Bishop Collins received the water baptism in Jesus’ name and on March 13, 1930, he received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In the later part of 1932, Bishop Collins was called into the ministry at Clinton Street Bethlehem Temple Church. His ministry was threefold: establishing churches, teaching and conducting Bible classes under the leadership of Bishop Hancock.
He helped Bishop Hancock establish churches in New Haven, Michigan, Port Huron, Michigan; Monroe, Michigan; Jackson, Michigan; Delray, Michigan and finally, the Bethel Church in Detroit Michigan.
As a Bible teacher, he traveled to Nassau in the Bahamas Islands; Fairhope, Alabama; Bromley, Alabama, Morris Point, Mississippi, and Benton, Mississippi.
Bishop Collins resigned his position at the Packard Motor Company in the year of 1945 to devote full time to the ministry.
He continued his work of establishing churches until the year of 1952, when Bishop Hancock appointed him as his Assistant Pastor of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church.
Because of the great demands placed on Bishop Hancock, he was often absent from the church. Therefore, Bishop Collins was blessed of the Lord to officiate in every important ministerial operation of the church, including communion, conventions, weddings, funerals, offering up the babies, preaching, teaching, counseling, and visiting the sick and shut-ins. For many years, Bishop Collins served on the Advisory, Deacon and Trustee Board.
In 1957, he was one of the founders of the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith.
After Bishop Hancock’s death on Sunday, August 18, 1963, Bishop Collins assumed full responsibility as pastor of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church. By this time, the church had relocated from 2238 Clinton Street to 2900 West Chicago Boulevard on March 10, 1963. Bishop Collins had the ability to withstand the forces of the devil, which centered upon him as the church was tested, but having obtained help from Heaven, Bethlehem Temple came out of its afflictions victorious.
It was not easy for Bishop Collins to fill Bishop Hancock’s shoes. The road was rough and the going was tough. However, he pressed forward and proved work could be done, by the grace of God. He held the standards set by Bishop Hancock.
Under Bishop Collins administration, the Dorothy Apartment Building on Rochester Avenue, was purchased; the Youth Center located on the 112 acreage lake Farm in Holly, Michigan, was built; the present transportation program for the church was initiated; the central air conditioning unit was installed in the church; the hospitality Committee and Leadership Council were organized and the tent services were established. In addition, the following churches were added to the Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Tree, under the administration of Bishop David L. Collins.
The True Church of the Apostolic Faith in Lansing, Elder Nathaniel Edwards, Sr. Pastor; Omega Temple Church of Jackson, Michigan, Elder Herman Cross, Pastor; Bethlehem Temple of La Grange, Georgia, Elder Albert Jackson, Pastor; Soul Deliverance Church of Detroit, Elder Jesse Baggett, Pastor; Bethlehem Faith Temple of Roseville, Michigan, Sister Dorothy Gardner, Pastor; Bethel Tabernacle of the Living Witness of Detroit, Elder Theodore Gaston, Pastor; Fellowship Temple of the Apostolic Faith of College Park, Georgia, Elder Gerald A Hilson, Pastor; Pentecostal, Refugee Temple of Detroit, Elder Milton Lewis, Pastor; Altavista True Church of Altavista, Virginia, Elder Frank Grant, Pastor; New Jerusalem Apostolic Church of Clovis, New Mexico, Elder Herbert Minus, Pastor; Tuhla, Mississippi, Belzoni, Mississippi. And a church soon to be opened in Yazoo City, Mississippi, which fulfilled his desire to have a church established in his birthplace.
While working in the ministry, Bishop Collins met and married his second wife, Sister Georgia Brown, in 1957. Following her departure from this life on July 7, 1972, he met and married Sister Lenora Davis on February 10, 1973.
Bishop David Collins served the congregation of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church dutifully and faithfully until sickness overtook him in the year 1980. He remained the Emeritus Pastor of this great assembly until he departed this life on Tuesday, May 31, 1983.
Sister Lenora Collins continues to fellowship at the Clinton Street Grater Bethlehem Temple Church as a great Sunday School Scholar.
Bishop Kaster Vernon Jackson was born in the great state of Arkansas in the City of Sherrill to the parentage of Oil and Sarah Jackson. He was the seventh child born to the union. The date of birth was May 29, 1912.
Young Kaster was raised by his God Fearing grandparents in the tradition of the good old Methodist Church. As a young adult he was active in the Methodist Church in the Sunday School Department and also in the choir.
At the youthful age of 21, young Jackson took unto himself a youthful bride, Miss Eleanor Richardson, on February 9, 1933. During the forty-seven years of his blissful marriage, God blessed this couple with four wonderful children. His sons Kaster Jackson, Jr. and Bernard preceded him in death.
In 1944, Bishop Jackson moved his family to the motor city capital of the world, Detroit, Michigan. He expected and had prepared himself to be inducted into the United States Army when he left Arkansas, but this was not in the divine plan of God for his life. Shortly after arriving in the city of Detroit, he would from time to time, attend one of the local churches of God in Christ. His search for more spiritual awareness and his love and zest for Bible exploration continued.
Bishop Jackson acquainted himself with Brother and Sister Levi Payne, who were then members of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, and eventually moved his family into their home.
Sister Payne began to explain the plan of salivation to the Jacksons; within that same year Kaster and Eleanor made the decision to be Baptist in Jesus name at Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, under the pastorate of the late Bishop Samuel Nathaniel Hancock. They received the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues in the home of Sister Corrine Miles. Almost immediately the Jacksons became faithful to the church. From that time forward, the divine election of God’s plan and purpose in his life began to unfold more distinctively.
In the year of 1969, Bishop Jackson was ordained by the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith as a minister of the Gospel. In1970, he was called to the pastor in Tennessee. Upon returning to Detroit in 1973, Bishop Jackson resumed his duties as assigned at Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church which included Sunday School teacher, Assistant Chairman of the Tarrying Committee, instructor of the Sunday School Training Class, First Assistant Chairman of the Order Group, Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, Assistant Supervisor of the Crusader Group, Chairman of the Young Ministers’ Group, member of the Bridal Committee and General Superintendent of the National Sunday School Department of the True Churches of the Apostolic Faith.
In 1975, Bishop Jackson was appointed to the position of Assistant Pastor to the late Bishop David L. Collins. During his tenure, Elder Jackson was elevated to the position of District Elder.
He was honored as “Pastor of the Week” by a radio program for his untiring and faithful service for over 35 years in various capacities in the church.
On July 13, 1980, after suffering with a long illness but vigilant in her faith in God, Bishop Jackson’s first wife, Sister Eleanor, went on to be with the Lord.
Being diligent, determined and faithful without pushing his way up, on July 4, 1982, District Elder Jackson was installed as the pastor of our great assembly. In the same year, he was elevated to the office of Bishop by the Bishop Board of the True Churches of the Apostolic Faith Inc.
On February 25, 1984, wedding bells once again rang for the Bishop Jackson as he was wed in holy matrimony to Missionary Estheree Williams, who was a living example of a true first lady. Mother Jackson, after a brief illness, departed this life on July 24. 1990.
Bishop Jackson has dedicated his life to serving the people of God through the ministry. Some of the outstanding achievements and contributions under his pastoral tenure including the following:
- 1981~ First Women’s Day
- 1983~ First Homecoming Celebration in the church’s for more than a 65-year history.
- 1983~ Opened the Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Christian School (grade K-12)
- 1983~ Established the Leadership Council of C.S.G.B.T.C.
- 1985~ Renaming of Chicago Boulevard to S.N. Hancock Boulevard (from Linwood to Dexter)
- 1989~ The members dedicated and named the church dining room in his honor, “Bishop Kaster Jackson Dining Hall”
- 1989~ Initiated forty-eight hour workshop service during the Thanksgiving season
- 1989~ Established a church parade that kicks off the church Annual Convention
- 1989~ Initiated the march around Bethlehem that tore down strong holds
- 1991~ Established, along with the Young People’s Department, a 30 Year Reunion Service
- 1991~ Established a church-wide evangelistic and helps ministry known as “Operation Souls”
- 1991~ Established Open Forums for members to offer suggestions for the church
- 1993~ He encourage the purchase of the former Jehovah Witness building at Wildemere giving us possession of the entire block
- 1995~ Established the Worship and Praise Choir, later the Worship and Praise II and Uplifting Hands Sign Choir
- 1998~ Established ministerial promotional exercise to license and ordain ministers Advisor to pastors and ministers
There are many behind the scene contributions and accomplishments, innovations and sound changes that we do not know about, however, we are sure that in the best interest of this church, we can all feel the concern and love that our pastor had for us, and for holiness people everywhere. God blessed Bishop Jackson with a “universal appeal that transcended organizational barriers. He had a special ability to maintain relationships with all age groups within his congregation. He had dedicated his life to teaching and maintaining the standard of holiness.
After a short illness, Bishop Jackson departed this life on Friday, June 7, 2002
Bishop Jackson’s family admonishes the family of God to: “Continue upholding the standards of holiness as passed down through the years by our forefathers to our Dad, through the power of the Holy Ghost”. Fulfill his words of wisdom now and in the future: “Working together Works” and “Work while it is Day.”
Christine and Caroline
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day…” II Timothy 4: 7-8.
Lawson Porter was born January 10, 1945 in Greenville, Mississippi to the union of Luvenson and Freda Keathley Porter. This marriage of his parents lasted only a short while, and Lawson was placed in the custody of his grandmother who lived in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Lawson grew up in Yazoo City and completed his education in 1964. As time passed, both of his parents remarried. Lawson became the oldest of eighteen siblings.
There were few jobs for blacks in the early sixties. In 1965, in pursuit of a better life, Lawson migrated to Detroit, Michigan to live with his aunt. Soon after he got a job working at the Lynch Road Chrysler Plant. In addition Lawson became an entrepreneur of his own carpet and upholstery cleaning business. This was the start of a new life and new beginnings, Lawson’s steps were being ordered by the Lord.
On April 30, 1966.], Lawson married his childhood sweetheart, Clara Clark, in Chicago, Illinois. After their wedding, Lawson and his bride returned to Detroit, Michigan where they made their abode. After three years of marriage, it was determined by medical professionals that Lawson and his wife would not be able to have children. During this trying time while working at the Chrysler Plant, Lawson met Brother Larry Nichols who introduced him to Christ. Brother Nichols informed him that he must be born again and God was able to make the “impossible, possible”. In 1968, Lawson was baptized in the name of Jesus, and a few weeks later, God filled him with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Two months later, his wife was also baptized and filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In 1969, their first child was bor. After the birth of their first child, doctors warned them of future high risks of having more children; possibly resulting in deaths. Prayer and faith in God proved the abnormalities. All fifteen children are now filled with the Holy Ghost.
During a special prayer and fasting service at the church in 1972, Lawson was called into the ministry. The call was witnessed by the entire congregation and the pastor. Lawson, being unaware of the written word, God miraculously used him to preach in part, scripture formation of Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound…”
Elder Porter was man of action with a vision. He began to perform many ministerial duties in the church by doing whatever his hands could find to do. He became skillful in the word by searching and studying of the scriptures daily. He also acquired treasured Biblical knowledge and spiritual understanding being taught by two great leaders: The former and late pastors, Bishop David L. Collins and Bishop Kaster Jackson. Some of his ministerial duties and community services included the following: Chairman of the Leadership Council, Sunday School Teacher for the Minister’s Class, Visiting and Praying for the Sick, Church Bus Commuter, established and instructor for Pre-Marriage Classes, established the newly Saved Ministry, established the first Women’s and Men’s conference in 2002, established the first “Getting to Know You” Community Program in 2002, initiated the Thanksgiving theme: “Thinking and Thanking”, established the annual Minister’s Farm Retreat for training, instrumental in conducting annual “old fashion” Tent Revivals, Police Chapin for the Royal Oak, Michigan Police Department, guest speaker for local and national Marriage Retreats, where Elder and sister Porter taught many marriage seminars as a husband and wife team. Elder Porter served as an Evangelist, Preacher, Teacher, Counselor, Leader and many other involvements.
In 1977, at the request of the late and former pastor, Bishop David Collins, Elder Porter was appointed as full-time second assistant pastor of Clinton Street Grater Bethlehem Church. During this time Bishop Kaster Jackson was serving as the first assistant pastor. Elder Porter became the youngest assistant pastor ever to serve at the C.S.G.B.T. Church at the age of thirty-two.
In 1982 Bishop Kaster Jackson was appointed as pastor of C.S.G.B.T. Church, at which time Elder Porter was elevated to first assistant pastor. The Lord blessed Elder Porter as he began to climb the ministerial ladder of success in a short while. In 1985, Elder Porter was ordained as District Elder of the Churches of the Apostolic Faith Inc. (T.C.A.F.). He also served on the Board of Directors.
On June 28, 2002, District Elder Porter was appointed as Pastor of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church after the passing of former pastor Bishop Kaster Jackson. August 18, 2002 District Elder Porter was officially installed as the fourth pastor of C.S.G.B.T. Church. Friday, October 18, 2002, Pastor Lawson Porter was elevated to the office of Bishop, while attending a conference of the United Apostolic Fellowship (U.A.F.), in Kississimee, Florida. He was a faithful, dedicated, committed servant, with a genuine love for the people of God.
Bishop Porter’s last Bible Class to the general assembly was entitled “Life on Earth, as a Temporary Dwelling Place.” His last message to the church was on November 17, 2002 entitled “A General Cleaning” exhorting the church to be sure not to cover up sin.
Bishop Porter never had the privilege of knowing the late Bishop Samuel N. Hancock, yet with humility he embraced his great Legacy and endeavored to uphold and maintain the Sprit of Unity in the bond of peace. He felt blessed just to be numbered among those who were sanctified. Others have continued to build there upon; and the Legacy continues. Some have planted, and others have watered; but God give the increase.
Ironically, there were discovered similarities in their “predestined journey through life and death. After moving to the new C.S.G.B.T. Church in March of 1963, Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock pastured the people of God for five months, departing in August of 1963. After the death of Bishop Kaster Jackson in June 2002, Bishop Lawson Porter pastured the people of God for five months. He departed this life on November 30, 2001. Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock died on August 18, 1963. Bishop Lawson Porter was officially installed as pastor on August 18, 2002. God alone knows the end from the beginning, the times, seasons, and purpose of our lives.
After thirty-six years of marriage, father of fifteen children, twenty-six grandchildren, thirty-four years saved, twenty-five years as assistant pastor, and five months as a pastor. Bishop Lawson Porter served his generation and fell asleep on his knees in prayer November 30, 2002. Ephesians 4: 11-12 says, “and he gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…”
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13
“O Give thanks Unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” Psalms 107:1
A Tribute in Loving Memory of Bishop Lawson Porter
THE GOOD SHEPHERD GIVETH HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP JOHN 10:11
Bishop SheLEE CLARK SR. Was born in Detroit, MI on September 22, 1934 on Clinton Street (down the street from where the original church was located). He was placed on the alter and prayed for by the late Bishop Samuel N. Hancock at 2238 Clinton St. In Detroit, MI. In June 1951, after being impressed with and admiring the life and doctrine of the late Bishop Hancock he was baptized in Jesus' name. He later received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost at age 16 under the leadership of the late Bishop S.N. Hancock at Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem. He remained a passionate and dedicated member and later Pastor of the “Mother Church” until his transition on December 27, 2021.
He was educated in the Detroit Public School System and graduated from Northern High School in 1953. He was drafted into the U.S. army in 1957 where he served as a conscientious objector for two years. After returning from the army, he was asked by Bishop Hancock to become his chauffeur and personal companion. After the passing of Bishop Hancock, he worked at the Fisher Body in Pontiac, MI.
While Christmas caroling with the Saints, Shedrick noticed a young lady by the name of Sandra A. Pulliam. After a blossoming relationship, on September 30, 1961, a magnificent change was made in his life! He married the love of his life, Sis. Sandra Aseneth Pulliam.
In 1965, he willingly acknowledged and accepted his calling into the ministry to serve the people of God. He eagerly sought and followed the advice of Bishop Hancock, who would always admonish him "Teddy (which he lovingly called him), follow God" and this became his lifelong objective! Bishop Clark remained a committed, consecrated and diligent worker for the Lord! His dedication and love for God, people and the church were inexhaustibly demonstrated as he served in the following capacities just to name a few.
- Pots and pans washer and dining room waiter.
- Bus driver for Vacation Bible School and for the Christian School's farm trips to Holly, MI. Asst.
Chairman and Chairman of the Usher Board.
- Young People's planning board member for the P.C.A.F (Pentecostal Churches of the
- Chairman of the Great Lakes Conference of Michigan for the T.C.A.F
(True Churches of the Apostolic Faith)
- Church Deacon under Bishop David L. Collins
- Sunday School Teacher and Sunday School Superintendent
- Police Chaplin for Royal Oak Township
- San Juan Drive Block Club member Honorary Co-Chair of SNH Diaspora Inc.
- Member of the Faithful Workers Group under Sis. Annie Jones
In 1977, Bishop Clark was appointed by Bishop Collins to the position of Assistant Pastor. He tirelessly served under Bishop David L. Collins, Bishop Kaster Jackson and Bishop Lawson Porter.
In 1983, as he continued to walk on his devoted journey, Bishop Stanley Halton appointed him to District Elder in the TCAF organization. In November, 2002, Elder Clark became the pastor of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple after the passing of Bishop Lawson Porter. He was officially installed on May 4, 2003 by Bishop James Johnson, former Presiding Bishop of the PAW (Pentecostal Assemblies of the World) and Bishop Alfred Singleton Sr., former Presiding Bishop of the PCAF.
God blessed Bishop Clark with many unmentioned accomplishments and achievements such as an honorary doctorate degree, as he dedicated his life to holiness, service and ministry. His gentle, calming and welcoming spirit was always present and evident to all who encountered him. Bishop Shedrick L. Clark Sr., continued to humbly and dutifully serve in this capacity as Pastor of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple until his passing. We are thankful for the teachings we have received under his tutelage and understand that "we all must learn how to embrace the process and go through the process." His life and legacy have touched the lives of many! HE WILL BE MISSED!!
"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me. I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord."
A Tribute in Loving Memory of Bishop Shedrick Clark Sr.