Our Church's History
The church was organized in 1961 when, Mother Aplis Dixon became concerned about her soul. She had come to the realization that there was something missing in her life. As she began searching for that missing something; with the help of a prayer band, other saints, and a determined mind, her journey led her straight to Christ.
After inviting several pastors to come to the St. John Community and preach Holiness, Elder E. L. Sheppard accepted the challenge in February, 1961. Plans were made for a place to hold service. Mrs. Aggie Cook, then in the hospital, gave permission to use her abandoned Inn, known as “Rocket 88”.
The Service began with the aid of members from the Bethlehem and Midway Churches. After about three nights, the community became stirred and concerned. From then until the close of the meeting, there were capacity crowds. Elder Sheppard preached for three weeks on “Holiness as a Way of LIFE” and not a religion. Community friends brought bibles each night and read scriptures with the text of the sermons. Many were touched and convinced and some began seeking the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. At the close of the meeting, those who began seeking the Baptism of the Holy Ghost were placed under the auspices of Missionary Florence Bradwell, who worked with them until they were baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Those who were baptized with the Holy Ghost asked that a permanent mission be set up in the community. Elder Sheppard set up the mission in the abandoned Inn. In a few weeks the attendance outgrew the size of the building. It was obvious that a church edifice was needed. The pastor set forth a plan for the building of the new church in what he called the “Faith Four Year Plan.” A parcel of land was given to the church for the new building by Mr. Mack Ray and Mother Aplis Dixon. Deeds were made for the property, to the Church of God In Christ, and the ground was broken October 15, 1961 at 3:00 P.M. The new church was dedicated October 30, 1964. Pioneers of the church included Elder E. L. Sheppard, Mother Fannie Ray, Deacon Willie Ray, Missionary Floria Sheppard, Missionary Aggie Cook, Mother Florence Bradwell, Missionary Bernice Ray, Sister Mary Goldwire, Sister Lounette Shaw and founder Mother Aplis Dixon.
In 1972, a new annex was added which includes a dining area, a prayer room, Sunday School rooms and pastors quarters. The annex was completed and dedicated on March 16, 1975.
In April, 1994, a piece of prime property was found in the community. On March 4, 1995, the church closed on 10 acres of land in the St. John Community located between the Intersection of Highway 267 and Old Philadelphia Road. The property was dedicated on March 19, 1995 at 3:00 P.M. with dreams that one day a new sanctuary would be built.
Two young men, Dr. Ronald McCloud and Elder Charlie Cook were about 7 years old, were among the pioneers of this church in 1961 and they have served faithfully in various leadership capacities in the church today. Due to Bishop Sheppard’s illness in December 1998, he appointed Dr Ronald McCloud as Pastor. After Bishop Sheppard’s demise, Dr McCloud was confirmed by Bishop Chandler David Owens on December, 18th and officially installed as Pastor of the St. John Church Of God In Christ by Interim Bishop H. Jenkins Bell on February 14, 1999. Elder Cook serves faithfully as Assistant to the Pastor.
In February, 2008, God gave Pastor McCloud a vision to stimulate the people by renovating the current sanctuary. God gave us men like Deacon Alford Ellis and Brother Bernard Dixon to lead the charge in the renovation. Almost all men and women in the church came to clean up, move pews, etc; which was a tremendous sign of unity within the body. This engendered a new spirit, a new life within the church. With a new attitude God released a blessing and allowed us to begin tangible work on the new sanctuary. In October 2009, God allowed the church to enter into an agreement to build a new sanctuary. The foundation was poured on March 8th, 2010. Very soon all will see what God is doing. We anticipate being in a new sanctuary a year from today.
We are thankful to God for Faith, Grace and Favor. Nobody can do what God can do.