History compiled by the late Bishop Ted Thomas, Sr. and updated by the PR Staff.
Following the August, 1907 meeting, which was held for the purpose of organizing a General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Mason set out, as Chief Overseer, to establish churches all over the country. The church flourished and rapidly spread throughout the North, South, East, and West.
Dad Mason came to Virginia in 1914 and the First Church of God in Christ was founded in the Chuckatuck Section of Suffolk, Virginia. Many souls were sanctified (cleansed from sin) and baptized with the Holy Ghost. The first water baptism service was also held here. For many years, the state would meet at the Friendship Church of God in CHrist for their annual state picnic held each year on July 4th. This was done until the first split took place in 1959.
The first mission of the Church in Norfolk followed closely the opening of the church in Chuckatuck. This church was started on St. Paul Street. However, as a result of being charged with disturbing the peace, the saints were asked to move. Many officials did not understand the work of the Holy Ghost. This mission then moved to James Street now known as Monticello Avenue. Later, as the Lord blessed our work, we moved to a building on the corner of Cumberland and Willoughby Streets. From Norfolk, churches sprung up in Portsmouth, Newport News, Roanoke, Suffolk, Smithfield, Emporia, Richmond, Lynchburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, and many other surrounding cities and towns. The late Elder Caesar Wardell was our first overseer. Deacon Harris, Sister Epps, Sister Mary Reed, Sister Annie Bell, Sister Sadie Stinson, Sister Mary Graves, and Sister Powell were all pioneer members.
Words of this new salvation spread far and wide in a short period of time. Churches sprang up rapidly. Frequently, entire congregations converted to sanctification and became known as the Church of God in Christ. The churches cohesiveness was accomplished primarily by the spirit in Bishop Mason lived and preached. He prayed for hours and was an anointed vessel of the Lord.