The Oldest Pentecostal Congregation in Cleveland, Ohio
The Pentecostal Church of Christ (PCC) is the oldest Pentecostal congregation in Cleveland, OH, and the “Mother Church” of apostolic assemblies throughout Cuyahoga County. Dr. Chelcie France, who organized the church in his mother’s home, founded this congregation in 1935. This small band of saints soon outgrew the home and moved to a building located at 7717 Central.
- OUR ZION-
"Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning..."
In 1939, the church moved to 7408 Woodland, and then on November 21, 1944, it was incorporated by the State of Ohio. In 1946, the church purchased land at the northwest corner of 89th Street and Beckman Avenue, and began construction of the new building. The basement, where the church was located, was completed in 1948; however, Elder France was called home from labor to reward.
The church continued under the pastorate of Evangelist Claudia Ray, a faithful woman of God. In 1951, Pastor Ray yielded the pastorate to Bishop Earle S. Fisher, who then merged his congregation with PCC. In 1955, the location of PCC was sold, and one year later, PCC moved to a Jewish synagogue located at 887 Parkwood Drive. Four years later, Bishop Fisher resigned, but the Lord confirmed His Word each Sunday morning through Spirit-filled ministers from across the Country.
In 1961, Elder Charles Watkins, Pastor of Lincoln Park Church of Christ, in San Antonio, Texas, assumed the role of Senior Pastor of PCC. He and his family relocated to Cleveland in 1962.
During his leadership, the Parkwood location was renovated, a 28-unit tri-level apartment complex constructed, and a radio broadcast titled “Sound of Pentecost” aired for over 20 years. In 1978, a new phase of development began, which included plans for a new edifice to be built on the lot next to the Parkwood location. However, inflation coupled with opposition caused this task to become increasingly difficult. Yet, God directed Bishop Watkins to the corner of East 105th and Chester Avenue in October 1980.
Bishop Watkins’ contribution to the solidarity of family life, his assistance in the ethical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth of the Lord’s people everywhere, and his encouragement to many toward spiritual and educational goals will never be forgotten. The Lord called him home from labor on October 17, 1988.
On May 14, 1989, the Lord blessed the ministry with the election of Bishop J. Delano Ellis II as its Senior Pastor. During his tenure, his impact in each facet of the ministry has been both spiritually and historically significant to the Pentecostal Holiness community throughout the world.
The Visionary continued to preach the Word of God, and the Lord added thousands of souls to the Church, such as should be saved. The leadership of Bishop Ellis has resulted in positive change in the Lord’s Church and throughout the Civic community.
In 1990, while under his leadership, two great churches merged – Pentecostal Church of Christ and Christian Tabernacle, pastored by the late Reverend Bill Sawyer. A few years later, the Pastoral vision continued, and in 1994, the Church purchased the Park Chester office building (renamed the J.D. Ellis Plaza).
As Bishop Ellis continued the work that the Lord started in Dr. France, he saw his God-given Vision come to pass, when a lighted steel cross was raised in the middle of Pentecostal Square so its message could be seen from miles away. Pentecostal Square had become known as the “Citadel of Hope” – a comfort station that covered every aspect of man’s needs, according to the Will of God.
The Reverend Doctor Sabrina Joyce Ellis, the widow of Bishop Ellis, was installed on February 1, 2020, as the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostal Church of Christ. Dr. Ellis was the “Sixth in Succession and Second Woman” to serve as pastor of this great Church. Additionally, Dr. Ellis had been a very integral part of the Pentecostal Churches of Christ, the Anglican-Apostolic Reformation her husband led as Presiding Prelate until his death on September 19, 2020. As the helpmeet, encourager, intercessor, and supporter of the late Bishop J. Delano Ellis II, Dr. Sabrina Joyce Ellis continued his legacy and work in the Kingdom of God.
On June 11, 2022, The Right Reverend Derrick McNeil Hanna was elected to succeed The Reverend Doctor Sabrina Joyce Ellis, the widow of Bishop Ellis, as Senior Pastor "Seventh in Succession" of its Historic Church.