“Having therefore, obtained help from God, I (we) continue unto this day, Witnessing both to small and great… Acts 26:22
This scripture is the deep sentiment of the now D.C., Delaware, and Maryland District Council.
The late honorable Bishop Samuel J. Grimes decided that the churches should come together as an organized body. With this in mind, a meeting was called and on October 5, 1934, the pastors met in Havre de Grace, MD, where Elder Charles H. Johnson was pastor. Plans were formulated and completed and this small body was called the Maryland and District of Columbia State Council of the PA of W. The headquarters were to be located in Havre de Grace. The first officers were: Elder Charles H. Johnson, Chairman; Elder James T. Morris, Vice Chairman; Sis. Rosezelia Lipscomb, Secretary; Brother Clyde Brooks, Asst. Secretary; and Elder James White, Treasurer. Those selected to the Advisory Board were: Bishop Samuel Grimes, Sister Clara Croxsell and Brother George Jenkins.
With the wheels in motion, these pastors met during the year, conducting business and fellowshipping one with another. At that time, only six (6) churches were in attendance at the council sessions. These were: Highway Church, Washington, D.C., Elder James Morris, Pastor; Gospel Temple, Brunswick, MD, Elder Charles H. Johnson, Pastor; Gospel Tabernacle, Havre de Grace, MD, Elder Charles Johnson, Pastor; First Pentecostal Faith, Elkton, MD, Elder James White, Pastor; New and Living Way Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., Elder Price, Pastor; and First Apostolic Faith, Deanwood, MD, Elder Jenkins, Pastor.
On June 18, 1937, after three (3) years of being organized, the council met in Wilmington, Delaware with Elder James Brown as host pastor. Elder Brown presented a resolution to the body, which read as follows:
Resolution No. 5 – Be it resolved that the name of the council read as following – The District of Columbia, Delaware and Maryland States Council.
The resolution to admit Delaware was adopted. At that session, the following officers were elected – Elder Charles H. Johnson, Chairman; Elder William M. Smith, Vice Chairman; Sister Rosezelia Lipscomb Brooks, Secretary; Brother Clyde Brooks, Assistant Secretary; and Mother Monk, Treasurer.
Also at this council, Elder Charles Johnson was elected as District Elder and Elder J.M. Turpin was recommended to the EDC and the State Council for membership.
Elder Ramsey Butler was elected to serve as vice chairman on April 30, 1938.
Several years passed and after experiencing some difficulties, Bishop Grimes found it necessary to reorganize. So on October 31, 1940, he reorganized the Council, brought new life and enabled us to continue on.
The council session that met on June 26, 1941, brought new officers with Elder Charles Johnson still serving as chairman. Elder R.N. Butler was vice chairman, Sister Viola Bennett served as secretary, Sister Alma Cypress, assistant secretary, and Elder Horace Temple was elected treasurer.
Though problems arise, as it will with any group of organized people, it is with determination and God’s grace that we can “see it through.” With a difference of opinion on basic doctrine, it was once again necessary to reorganize after several churches split from the council.
On March 29, 1950 at the Bethlehem Temple Church, 1508 N. Fulton Avenue in Baltimore, the council was again reorganized by Bishop Grimes. The officers that were appointed to serve were: Elder Ramsey Butler, Chairman; Elder Norman Bridges, Vice Chairman; Sister Viola Bennett, Secretary; and Sister Essie Belton, Assistant Secretary. The Banking Committee was Elder John Barnes, Elder J.C. Lee and Sister Martha Butler. Sister Alma Johnson was appointed as State Evangelist. Three appointments were made for District Elder. These were – Elder Ramsey Butler, Elder Winfield Showell, and Elder John Barnes.
Many names come to mind of those who have served faithfully down through the years. Most of these have since gone on to be with the Lord. Some became elders, pastors, and Bishops. Remembering Bishop Thomas Harris, Elder Scarbough, Elder Streams, Elder George Brooks, Elder Seaton, Sister Isabelle Monk, Mother Daubney from Charlestown, West Virginia, Brother Theodore Green, Brother Roland Bennett, Elder George Levant, Pastor Lena Sears and Elder James Brown. Of the names mentioned above, only two (2) are still living. Elder George Brooks is now Bishop of the Connecticut Diocese and Deacon Green is one of the oldest members of Zion Temple Church in Havre de Grace, MD.
The 1950’s brought in new faces, new leadership, but with an ever present desire to grow and develop spiritually. New churches were being added to our council, which met three (3) times a year with our annual session being in July. District Elder Butler continued to serve as chairman. July, 1958, with officers being elected yearly, saw Sister Annie Durbin elected as Secretary, Sister Myrtle Lindsay, Assistant Secretary, Sister Bessie Adams, Financial Secretary and District Elder John Barnes as treasurer.
The following year brought about a change under District Elder Butler’s leadership. District Elder Luther Johnson was elected as vice chairman; Sister Elizabeth Johnson, Secretary; Sister Annie Durbin, Assistant Secretary; Sister Marietta Traymham, Financial Secretary and District Elder John Barnes remained as treasurer.
District Elder Butler continued to faithfully serve the council. He was a man of wisdom and soundness and our council continued to grow. He remained as chairman until he was appointed as the Bishop of the diocese. At that time he relinquished his duties as chairman and assumed his role as our Bishop.
District Elder Luther Johnson was elected as our chairman July 1971 and served until July 1982. His wife, Evangelist Elizabeth Johnson worked by his side serving as secretary also until July 1982. With both being well up in age and with failing health, they were no longer able to serve, as they desired.
District Elder Willard Saunders took over the reins of the council from July 1982 to July 1986. He was elevated to the Bishopric in 1981 but remained in office until the 1986 election. After the illness of Bishop Butler, in 1986 he was assigned to the 22 nd Episcopal District, which encompasses the D.C., Delaware and Maryland District Council. A lavish installation dinner was held in his honor on October 25, 1986. The function was well attended with Presiding Bishop James A. Johnson as guest speaker.
While our council is growing, we have watched our auxiliaries greatly expand. The Missionary Department cannot be spoken about without remembering names such as Pastor Dorothy Barnes, Pastor Irene Gilmore, Mother Rowena Day, Evangelist Myrtle Gordon and our late choir directress, Sister Rosalie Thomas.
The Brotherhood had many capable leaders. The late Elder Willie Revis, Elder Lewis Monk and District Elder Isaiah Lucas all really loved the brotherhood and had the work at heart.
Down through the years, many people are faithful not only as officers, but as supporters. Such people can be remembered as Sunday School workers and leaders – Sister Bessie Hopkins, Sister Audrey Clark, Deacon Theodore Green, Sister Dorothy Butler and Sister Mary Barnes.
Some of our Young People who worked untiringly and willingly to carry on the auxiliary are still working in various capacities among our area churches in and out of the PAW. Names such as Elder Timothy Merritt, Elder John Leslie, Elder Freddie McCoy, Sister Debbie Merritt and Sister Christine Lewis were active in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The 1980’s saw some our faithful members’ voices hushed by death – District Elder and Sister Isaish Lucas and Evangelist Lillie DeCoursey to name but those few.
In 1984, we hosted the PAW National Convention in Washington, D.C. Bishop Butler was the first Bishop to host all of our national officers and the Bishop Board and guests to a gourmet dinner.
The next slate of officers to serve this council was elected in July 1986. The Chairman was District Elder James Nelson; Vice Chairman – Elder Clarence Barnes; Secretary – Sister Audrey Clark; Assistant Secretary – Sister Ruth Miller; Financial Secretary – Sister Jacquelyn Shaw; Treasurer – District Elder Charles Brown; and Chaplain – Evangelist Mary Taylor.
From a small seed, this council has blossomed into a beautiful flower. During our 50 th Anniversary we had a roster of twenty-seven (27) churches, which were divided, into five (5) districts. Among our pastors came a newly appointed Bishop – District Elder Thomas Weeks who was installed in the August 1987 Convention in Los Angeles, California, Elder Clarence Barnes, who has served and worked with the council down through the years, was installed as District Elder to succeed then Bishop – Elect Weeks.
For the next eight years Bishop Saunders led the council until his death in 1994. A year later Bishop Thomas Weeks took over the reigns as Diocesan of the 22nd Episcopal District.
After serving the council for seven years, Bishop Weeks resigned and the mantle was handed to Bishop Charles E. Johnson in 2002. That same year the council hosted its second PAW National Convention. Many delegates from around the country applauded the organization of the council and its volunteers during the event. Other host councils are utilizing some of the strategies and planning techniques initiated during this great event.
Having a strong desire for souls and outreach, Bishop’s desire is to increase the number of churches in the council and to reach many souls for Jesus Christ. In July 2004 this process began with a council wide tent crusade for the first apostolic church founded in Hagerstown, MD, Rose of Sharon Apostolic Temple pastored by Dr. James Graham. For four days the saints of God went to the highways and hedges seeking the lost.
Since Bishop Johnson’s installation three churches have been added to the council and his desire is to see many more churches in our district. His vision can become a reality with God’s help and our prayers. He has been a member of this council for many years, coming up through the ranks, thus knowing our churches and our needs.
With the help of the Lord we will continue to hold up the name of Jesus and let the world know that “there is no other name under heaven whereby men must be saved”.
“The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”