News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Religion

September 7, 2007

Bethlehem Temple Church to celebrate 90 years

Ninety years ago, Bishop G.T. Haywood of Greencastle and Indianapolis was led by God to conduct a tent revival in Terre Haute. As a result of the revival, a congregation began to form, and Haywood left Sister Della Walker in charge as overseer. In just a few months, a small mission was established and became known as the Apostolic Faith Church, then at South 13th and Putnam streets.

Revivals and tent meetings continued under the direction of the late Bishop Oscar Saunders, Bishop J.A. Rayl and Elder W.O. Edgington, who was of notable assistance to the church during its earliest years. The congregation continued to thrive and in time outgrew the small mission.

In 1921, Bishop Haywood sent Elder Charles Gordon of Grand Rapids, Mich., to Terre Haute to become the first official pastor of the church. The congregation soon moved to 13th and Dean streets, where it remained for about two years. In 1923, the Church moved to its present site at 13th Street and Washington Avenue. At that time, the congregation occupied half of a wood frame building, with a combination restaurant and pool hall on the other side.

Through prayers and supplications, God soon blessed the church to tear down the middle partition and occupy the whole building. Elder Gordon’s ministry was fruitful and the Apostolic Faith Church became a strong presence in the community. Gordon served until 1928. Sister Estelle Fuqua became pastor, serving until her death. She was followed by Elder James Tolbert of Michigan.

Elder Ernest L. Jackson of Kansas City, Mo., was sent by Bishop Haywood in 1930. Under his administration, the name was changed from Apostolic Faith Church to Bethlehem Temple Church. Elder Jackson served for about five years and was succeeded by Elder Curtis Moore of Detroit in 1936.

Elder Moore pastored until his death in 1944, at which time Elder Esau Baker was elected pastor by the congregation. He was followed by Elder Tyree Gordon, who was appointed by the late Elder Samuel Johnson and served for two years.

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