First Church

The history of First Church of God is a challenging and inspirational story. Yet there was steady growth under the leadership of a few pioneering, spirit-filled men and women of God.

In September of 1917, Sisters Sallie Foster, A.V. Burns and Janie Barber began preaching and conducting cottage meetings and Bible Study classes. In May of 1918, Rev. and sister Williams Carter arrived in the city and their home at 1103 Vinal Street was the first official meeting place of the little congregation. Twelve persons comprised its membership including Brother and sister Carter, Clifford Palmer, Allen Vines, Frank Lindsey, Sister Burns, and Sister McDixon, Sister Sallie English was saved during this first year. 

As the membership outgrew their home, the church moved to 338 Wabash Street where the first Sunday school was organized in March, 1919. The location was changed to Collingwood and Avondale Avenue after several months. The church remained at this location for a year and a half. After a brief stay at Erie and Tecumseh, the growth of the church prompted the decision to build a fine brick structure at 385 Vance Street. Shortly thereafter, in 1924, Reverend Carter resigned as pastor after 6 years of leadership. Reverend Frank Lindsey served as the interim pastor until Reverend Lucinda Vines was called in 1926. Reverend Sharp succeeded her in 1927 for three months.

In November of 1928, a new era began in the life of the church, one that continued through 1944. This was the pastorate of the Reverend Hammond Jeter, a “spiritual father” for many of the saints. Mandy excellent gains could be mentioned during this tenure but another event came to the fore in September, 1935. The Government needed the location for the Housing Project, so a new edifice was purchased at 615 Collingwood Blvd. where the church remained until 1961.

Reverend Jeter went to his reward due to failing health in 1944. During his illness Reverend C.M. Washington came to assist him and after his death assumed the pastorate. Reverend Washington remained through September, 1948 to be succeeded in early 1949 by Reverend Clifton M. Morgan. His stay, though brief, was a healing balm. Reverend Robert L. Moody was installed as pastor to serve for 2 ½ years in April, 1950. The interim minister who succeeded him for a few months was Reverend Smith Davis.

Mother and Dad Myers, along with the early family were used of the Lord to keep the church encouraged during this time until a pastor could be found.

God answered prayer and directed the church to call Reverend Leonard Roache from Jamaica, British West Indies, who arrived with family September 13, 1955. His stay of nearly 8 years was an event-filled one. Under his leadership the Early’s were dedicated for a mission on Bronson Avenue.

A momentous move was the purchase of the church edifice at Grand and Waite Avenues. The church was dedicated February 12, 1961 and one month later Reverend Roache informed the church of his acceptance to a call in Pittsburgh, PA and Reverend Robert A. Culp, our current pastor, assumed pastoral leadership May 21, 1961. In 1970, 1002 W. Bancroft Street was purchased. In July, 1971, Martin Grizzell was installed as associate pastor and Director of C.H.A.N.GE. Ministry. In August, the First Church of God Daycare Center opened.

During September, 1974, the First Church of God Christian School began classes with Sister Peggy Moore as principal. In October, the cornerstone laying ceremony at 1002 W. Bancroft.

In August, 1977, Wendell H. Wallace was installed as Associate Pastor.

In September, 1978, Sister Maggie Culp became the Administrator/Principal of the Church operated Daycare center and Elementary school.

During May, 1979, the church moved to its present location at 3016 Collingwood, the former home of First Baptist Church.

The first Seniors Convention was organized by Reverend Johnnie May Brown. The late Sister Vera Jones assisted Reverend Brown. The Detroit Senior on the Move Group and the Toledo 50 Pluses Group organized its annual convention. Each group took turns hosting the event yearly. The first hotel stay was held in Toledo at the Hillcrest Hotel.

In 1980, the School for New Prophets was established.