Elder J.A. Taylor
Bishop A.B. Williams
Bishop Lonnie Beasley
Bishop Charles Junior
Bishop Duan Maiden
The Church of The Living God The Pillar and Ground of the Truth
Dallas, Texas Temple #1
It was only after intense research and investigation about The Church of the Living God, that in 1930, four men and women including Deacons James W. Turner and Ben F. Cobb with Sisters Mary Williams and Lizzie Cephus, traveled to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a special committee appointed by a group interested in forming a church. They reported the information they found and Sister Bertha Cobb convinced Brother James W. Turner, that their church should be affiliated with The Church of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth. They moved forward despite some of the group’s opposition. A motion was offered and passed to accept the name and affiliation with this denomination. A committee was appointed to locate a facility to begin worship services. This resulted in the purchase of a building on State Street in historic “short” North Dallas between Hall and Hugo Streets. The church officially organized the 30th of August 1930 but the first services were held the first Sunday in September 1930. The first service was “Union” only as the electricity had not been connected in the building. The first church officers were Brother Ben T. Cobb, Chairman; Sister Mittie Johnson, Secretary; Brother James Turner, Treasurer.
The next step was to select a Pastor. Sister Mary Williams served as the Chairman. She met with Elder J.A. Taylor to express the membership’s desire for him to serve as interim Pastor. Elder Taylor agreed and his first service was the following Wednesday. He served as Pastor for one year. During the first year a number of members were added to the roll totaling about eighteen.
Sister Bertha Cobb prepared a letter addressed to Bishop J.L. Henderson, President of The Church of the Living God to accept the congregation into their National Assembly. Bishop Henderson responded to the request stating that the Bishop in Texas would travel to Dallas to formally unite the Dallas Congregation into the National Assembly of Muskogee, Oklahoma. On November 7, 1930, Bishop A.B. Williams accompanied by Elder Aaron Lee met at the home of Sister Vernia Marbley. Bishop Williams and Elder Lee were introduced and a devotional service was held before discussions with Elder Taylor and the current Deacons. Bishop Williams conducted the next Sunday Services assisted by Elder Lee. Between services Elder Lee conducted an orientation including information about the constitution, bylaws and rules of the National Assembly. A meeting was held after the Night Worship Service where questions by the members were answered. Together the Clergy and members agreed to unite with the National Assembly presided over by Bishop J.L. Henderson. The church experienced growth in both members and Ministry adding Sunday School and Training Union.
Early members not previously named in the 1930s included Sisters Clara Watkins, Edith M. Wright, Bettie Tatum, Alice McDonald, Rebecca Brown, Myrtle Green and Lela Smith. Brothers Clyde and Floyd Magee, Andrew Coulsby, J.A. Artis, W.M. Marbley, Huntington Smith.
The Church continued to grow and moved locations from State Street to a tent while a structure was being remodeled on Munger and Central under the leadership of Bishop A.B. Williams; to 3301 Metropolitan Avenue in August 1955 for reasons ranging from the city purchasing the building to make way for Central Expressway to the congregation growing and the need for a larger facility. The Munger Avenue location was paid off based on fund raising in September 1954 and provided the money for the purchase of the new location in South Dallas. Many improvements were made to this location and subsequent purchases of the 2 lots behind the church on Hamilton Avenue. The church still owns the land at the corners of Metropolitan and Fourth Avenues and the lots on Hamilton to this day.
During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the church grew rapidly under Bishop Lonnie Beasley, Sr. Membership was such that each Sunday chairs were placed in the aisles and people were still standing. The Deacons recommended that the Building Fund be put to use to locate a new facility or even build one. The Deacon Board consisted of James Alberty, Billy Ballard, Anthony Duncan, Emerson Green, Bernard Leach, Floyd Magee, Waymon Pruitt, Charles Starks, Donald Starks and Lawrence Terry. These Deacons negotiated the purchase of the land and the contractor to build the current location at 2610 E. Ledbetter Drive. The first services and church dedication was June 26, 1983.
During the late 1990s the church experienced difficulty with its mortgage lender who was threatening to “call” the note. The Deacons, Church Finance Board and Financial Secretary begin to research and obtained a new mortgage with the existing lender more favorable in both terms and interest rates. The Deacons during this era were, Brothers Ozias Clarkson, James Hunter, Harold Smith, Calvin Walker. The Finance Board included Sisters Glennie Dunn, Kassie Gossom, Erma Jones, Keisha Jones, Virginia McGhee, Shirley Rodman and Deacon Calvin Walker. However, it was the vision of the Financial Secretary, Deaconess Kassie Gossom who proposed to the Pastor, Deacons, and Finance Board that we use the funds from Auxiliary Annual Days to pay towards the mortgage principal to accelerate the payoff. The proposal was to pay the mortgage in full in 7 years but God blessed the Congregation, based on their continued fund raising efforts to accomplish the payoff in 4½ years. The “Note Burning” Service was held on February 4, 2001.
The Church has been led by seven great men of God:
Evangelist J.A. Taylor 1930 – 1931
Bishop A.B. Williams 1931 – 1936
Elder A.R. Johnson 1937 – 1938
Bishop A.B. Williams 1938 – 1940
Elder J.A. Artis 1940 - 1946
Bishop A.B. Williams 1946 - 1972
Bishop Lonnie Beasley 1972 - 2006
Bishop Charles C. Junior 2006 – 2013
Bishop Duan Maiden 2013 Interim: Pastor 2014 - Present
We celebrate this milestone of hardships, struggles, growth, decline, success and failure and pay tribute to our Founders and all members past and present who have dedicated their lives to ensure the perpetuity of the Church.
To God be the Glory!