The Apostle Church of Christ in God

(ACCG)

 

History

In the year 1940, a group of five ministers considered whether to establish a new apostolic organization or become affiliated with an already existing body.  The brothers decided that they were not familiar enough with the other Apostolic groups.  Thus, after a series of prayer meetings, discussions and planning sessions, an agreement was reached to organize the Apostle Church of Christ in God.  The birth occurred in May 1941 with the first convention in Winston-Salem.  The five ministers were Elder J. C. Richardson, Elder J.W. Ardrey, Elder J.M. Williams, Elder J.J. Jenkins, and Elder W.R. Bryant.  The churches were located in Winston-Salem, N.C. (headquarters at 5 Greenwood Ave.), Martinsville, V.A., and Rudd, N.C.  As senior Elder, J.W. Ardrey was appointed the first Presiding Bishop.  Shortly thereafter, the original five ministers added to their group Elder Walter J. Jackson, who had been associated with Bishop Faison.

             Gradually the ACCG began to grow and expand in different states.  Elder R.O. Doub came in as State Overseer of Pennsylvania and Elder Melvin Jones became State Overseer of New York.  This was in addition to growth in Virginia and North Carolina.  Well, all of this growth created the need for another Bishop to assist Bishop Ardrey.  Thus, in the 1952 Annual Convocation in Newport News, Virginia, Bishop J.C. Richardson, Sr. was consecrated the office of Bishop.  Four years later in 1956, Dr. Richardson became the Presiding Bishop of the ACCG and served until his home-going March 2, 1995.

             Under leadership of Bishop Richardson, the ACCG experienced significant growth.  Part of that growth can be attributed to the fact that this South Carolina native was a man of prayer and fasting.  He relied totally on the Lord Jesus Christ.  While serving as General Overseer of the ACCG, the Lord blessed us to take in churches in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut.

             Various auxiliaries and achievements were initiated during the tenure of Bishop Richardson.  They included an official publication, The Apostolic Journal, the Educational Fund, The Young People’s Apostolic Association (YPAA), the Senior and Junior Missionary Departments, the Deacons/Brothers Association, National Usher Board, the Minister of Music and National Music Department.  Additionally, we started an Annual Award Recognition Service to recognize those with academic achievements.

             The decades of the ‘50s and the ‘60s saw the addition of a number of pastors and ministers.  They included Bishop Cotten and Elder Cotton, Bishop Eli Daniel, Bishop Ulysses McCall, Bishop O.D. LeGrant, Elder Webster, Elder Pickett, Bishop S.E. Saunders, Bishop Joseph Wiley, Elder Joseph Acker, and Elder F.D. Robinson from North and South Carolina.

             In Virginia and the northern states, pastors and ministers included Bishop R.B. Fuller, Bishop J.R. Ziglar, Bishop Robert Kellam, Bishop Leroy Robinson, Elder Higgs, Elder Albert Hairston, Elder David Fuller, Bishop Claude Lovelace, Bishop Tilman Carmichael, Bishop W.L. Pye, Bishop E.E. Everett, Bishop Ernest Hairston, Bishop George Wiley, and Elder Samuel Moorman.

             As the ‘60s drew to an end, ACCG seemed on the brink of moving from a regional to a nation church in scope.  In fact, many people felt that the 1970 Annual Convocation had been the best organized, most unified and highly spiritual.  Unfortunately though, the ACCG experienced what so many Apostolic organizations go through; a split.  It occurred a few months after the convention.

             Nevertheless, since 1971, the Lord has continued to bless the ACCG.  Pastors and ministers who have joined us include Bishop Jeremiah Jefferson, Washington, DC; Bishop Elihu Cartledge, Clinton, Maryland; Bishop C.L. White, Elder Williams, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Pastor Arenn Wynn, Youngstown, Ohio; U.S. Air Force Chaplain James Brooks, Elder Ashley Brown, Washington, DC; Elder James Benton, Elder Benjamin Joyner, Eastern North Carolina; Bishop C.R. Washington, Elder Johnny Hayes, Bishop L.O. Lucas, Elder Daniel Wilson and Elder Gary Johnson.

             New congregations have been organized by Elder Roosevelt Watson, Zebulon, NC; Bishop J.P. Lowery, St. Matthew Church, Winston-Salem, NC; Elder J.N. Gravely, Jr., New Jerusalem Church, Leatherwood, VA; Elder R.M. Ford, Solid Rock Church, Mt. Rainer, MD.; Elder Rufus Hayes, South Boston, VA.; Elder Leroy McGhee, Heavenly Host Church, Winston-Salem, NC; Pastor P.H. Motley, Grace Chapel Church, Fieldale, VA; Elder L.A. McBryde, Goshen Church, Capitol Heights, MD.; Bishop Robert Gaston, New Life Churches, North and South Carolina.

             In addition to new churches being formed, the following pastors brought existing congregations into the ACCG: Elder Dennis Jefferson, Pentecostal Evangelical Church, Palmer Park, MD.; Elder Eddie Cherry, Church of the First Born, Salisbury, MD.; and Elder William Wiley, Mt. Calvary Church, Goldsboro, NC; Middlesex, NC; and Bishop Leroy Robinson, Tabernacle Church, Newport News, VA.

             Pastoral changes include Bishop H.W. Betts, St. Luke Church, South Boston, VA.; Elder H.E. Milner, St. John Church, Winston-Salem, NC; Elder Robert Conward, St. James Church, Washington, DC; Elder Carl T. Motley, Jr., Bethlehem Church, Winston-Salem, NC; and Bishop J.C. Richardson Jr., Mt. Sinai Church, Martinsville, VA.

             As this period of growth has brought renewed faith and determination, it has also been tempered by the home going of some great leaders of the ACCG.  October 1990, Bishop Leroy Robinson went home to be with the Lord.  He was Chairman of the convocation Finance Committee for approximately twenty years and pastor of Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Newport News, VA.

             And then in January 1991, the Lord called home the Vice Bishop of the ACCG, Bishop Walter J. Jackson, pastor of the Bethlehem Apostle Church in Winston-Salem, NC.  He was a helper of young ministers, a man of devout prayer and one who was profoundly ethical.  Bishop Jackson worked closely with Bishop Richardson, Sr. for more than 45 years in the ACCG.  A gentle giant of a Christian, Bishop Jackson’s steadying influence is still sorely missed.

             By far the most devastating blow for the ACCG occurred in March 1995. Our presiding Bishop went home to be with our Lord.  We cannot begin to adequately express the large void that is in our hearts.  For while we thank God that our Bishop is free from sickness and pain, we still miss him so very much; his teaching, wonderful sense of humor, love and spirituality. “Bishop, we shall keep in the forefront of our minds the doctrine you taught and the principles for which you stood.  And we shall see you in the morning.”

             As we have moved into the 20th century, we, the ACCG, shall continue in the path that has been set for us.  For it is a path of fasting and prayer.  It is a path that has total faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

             Although many did not know this, our late Presiding Bishop, Dr. J.C. Richardson, Sr., had very serious discussions with the Presiding Bishops of four Apostle organizations.  The purpose was to explore the possibilities of a merger to more effectively do the Lord’s work.  And while the hoped for results were not realized, let us pray that this option will continue to get serious consideration.