FACT (Family and Christian Training) 9:45 a.m.
Growing Seeds Class
(New Members Training) 9:45 a.m.
Morning Worship Service 11:00 a.m.
Kingdom Warriors Youth Ministry 10:45 a.m.
Prayer Service 5:30 p.m.
"Food for Thought"
Noon Bible Study 12:00 p.m.
Evening Bible Study 6:00 p.m.
Temple 51 Church History
The Church of the Living God (C.W.F.F) was organized in Cincinnati, Ohio during the year of 1914 by Bishop Marcellus Ross and his wife, Evangelist L.B. Ross. Temple 50 was assigned to this new work.
Bishop Ross and wife Evangelist Bertie made a very outstanding gospel team. There are many people in various churches in Cincinnati today as the result of Bishop Ross’ preaching. He built a beautiful church during his ministry on Carlisle Avenue. Temple 50 became troubled and fragmented, resulting with a group of members leaving and starting another temple which was to become Temple 51. The two temples co-existed with the latter showing a capacity for growth.
Temple 51, of the brotherhood of the Church of the Living God (C.W.F.F.), was organized early in the month of March 1933. The Lord appointed the time and the places. He used the inspired zeal of Evangelist Estella Mays to set up the group of twenty members into a body. They were by name as follows: Reverends: Oscar Snowden, Lawrence Clinkscales, Milton Smith, James Mitchell, and John Sercy. Brothers: Lawrence Mays, Julius Bursey, Clarence Poole, and John McKinney. Sisters: Estella Mays, Anna Bell Bursey, Carrie McKinney, Leola Endsley, Mrs. Abraham Talifero, Beatrice Jones, Ida Poole, Emma Waddy, Ida Shepherd, and Bernice Drummond, who acted as the first Church Clerk. This position was held afterwards by Sis. Beatrice Jones, who with the exception of a few intervals, held the position for about eighteen years.
In the beginning, the worship services were held alternately in the homes of Bro. and Sis. Julius Bursey, who resided at 422 W. Court Street, and Bros. and Sis. Lawrence Mays, who resided at 622 W. 7th Street. After a period of this kind of assembling, under the pastoral care of our first pastor, Rev. James M. Taylor, who had been requested by the members to come to them; the congregation rented a small store front building at 634 W. Fifth Street in which to hold service. This location was found to be too close to the Sister Temple on Carlisle Aveune. The small group then rented another store front at 514 W. Court Street.
At the Court Street address the church grew and prospered as the Lord added to the number of believers in His name. After a time, the congregation rented another building at 903 Baymiller Street under the pastorate of Rev. Williams. Rev. E.T. succeed Rev. Williams. From there they moved to 1537 Dudley street, where Rev. James McMillian pastured for a while followed by Rev. C.F. Hardin.
On October 24, 1948, Rev. W.E. Crumes, our pastor began his pastorate at the Dudley Street address. He came to us a dynamic man, a man of action and endurance, a man of supreme faith, a builder, whose very life embodied the words of the prophet Nehemiah, “…The God of haven, He will prosper us; therefore, we his servants will arise and build…” (Nehemiah 2:20).
Under the leadership of Rev. W.E. Crumes, the Church moved to 1533 Central Avenue. While worshipping there, we purchased property on Clark Street with thoughts of building a church on that property. However, the city officials had other plans. We were informed that we had to sell it to them for urban renewal. This transaction proved profitable, and forwarded us toward buying our first church home. We purchased a church building at 850 Amory Avenue. Although several other congregations were seeking the same property simultaneously, we were able to obtain the property. The owners were so impressed by the faultless Christian integrity of Rev. W.E. Crumes that they decided that we should have it.
After that time, every apparent reverse proved to be a blessing in disguise. The congregation grew, and the Lord added to the church. Once again, in 1957, city officials decreed that we must sell our church property to make way for urban improvement, and once again, Rev. W.E. Crumes exercised his abundant faith, and once again, the Lord smiled down upon us, and we profited.
The church then began negotiating for other property. During this time we held services at the Ninth Street YMCA, where we worshipped for about fifteen months. Finally, our present property at 434 Forest Avenue was purchased. Again the Lord blessed us, and we were able to obtain the property for a very reasonable sum.
On July 6, 1958, we moved into our beautiful church home at 434 Forest Avenue in Avondale. But the glorious journey was not yet over. Rev. W.E.Crumes was being led to the fulfillment of an inspired frame. As he unwaveringly followed the Lord’s guidance, he communicated to his parishioners the outline of this dream he had come to cherish; a dream of an even more glorious house of worship, a house erected for, and dedicated to the name of God, a house completely set apart for the purpose of God.
Before long the congregation was able to see that this dream could be, moreover, should be a reality, knowing that nothing less than the very best that we can produce is truly worthy to serve as an earthly agency of the Heavenly Kingdom.
Led by the sure, unerring hand of God, Rev. W.E. Crumes called the Board of Trustees together and the initial planning was begun for the building of a new sanctuary.
Early in the spring of 1965, a groundbreaking ceremony was held. Shortly thereafter, construction of the new building was under way.
Throughout the spring and summer months progress was not as rapid and uneventful as we might have hoped. There were numerous setbacks and delays which could not have been foreseen nor anticipated. The frustrations which accompanied these occurrences might have discouraged a lesser man, but Rev. W.E. Crumes, ever confident that God was directing it all for HIS purpose, was untiring and uncomplaining, working with the architect through several changes in the blueprints, negotiating contracts, selecting materials, and observing the day-to-day progress of the building. Because the overwhelming concern for God’s house constantly possessed his thoughts, Rev. W.E. Crumes, above all else, was giving of himself throughout the long days, and we can be sure, through many sleepless hours of the night. Slowly, the dream grew into a reality.
Finally, appropriately, on Christmas morning, 1965, as all Christendom celebrated the coming of the New Born King, the first service was held in the new sanctuary. Stepping inside the serene walls, beholding the quite, breathtaking beauty there, as we are raised to a higher plane in the atmosphere of true worship merely by being present within these walls, one feels, rather than hear the voice of God saying “…I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, which thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house which thou hast built, to put my name there forever…” (I Kings 9:3).
The Church purchased the building next door, 430 Forest Avenue. This became known as “The Saint’s House”. In 1972, we bought the property at 424 Forest Avenue, which is now a parking lot.
Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me”. Our pastor has the same spirit about children, as did Jesus himself. It was Bishop Crumes’ fondest desire to have a church school for our children.
The Church started our daycare center; “C.W.F.F. Child Care Development Center: Our first director as Mrs. Barbara Huckaby-Clark.” She served untiringly until 1976. In 1976, Mrs. Cynthia Grant was appointed director, and is still serving in that position.
Two apartment buildings were acquired on Alaska Avenue. This enables us to serve the community. The complex at 3568 Alaska Avenue consists of four two-bedroom apartments, and the other at 3560 Alaska Avenue consists of four one-bedroom apartments.
The Lord was not through blessing yet. It has been the goal of our church brotherhood to have a headquarters centrally located with housing facilities for our retired Bishops, senior saints, and out-of-town visitors. The headquarters would also include an educational complex that could accommodate the daycare center and facilities for whatever level of education we desire to achieve. Our headquarter would also feature the “Church of the Living God Wall,” archives with relics and artifacts representative of our history and struggle to get where we are now.
On June 24, 1988, the Church of the Living God, C.W.F.F. had the groundbreaking ceremony of our long awaited Headquarters located at 430 Forest Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
On June 9, 1991, the Brotherhood celebrated the ribbon-cutting ceremony of our new state of the art International Headquarters.
August 14, 1994 was a day to be remembered in the history of the Church of the Living God in Cincinnati, Ohio. The two temples merged (Temples 50 and 51) forming one body. Bishop Ross died on October 30, 1959 after forty-five years of pastoral service. In 1960, Evangelist Eula Reese was appointed pastor of Temple 50. She served in this capacity until illness caused her to give it up. She died on January 29, 1987. Elder Jesse Robinson pastored from 1985 to approximately 1989. Elder Willie Carter was appointed pastor at this time, and pastured until the merger.
Temple 50 was located in downtown Cincinnati. Downtown black churches have traditionally been store-front churches. Although Temple 50’s overall facilities were above the average, the parking and its location were major problems for the churches growth. Today, practically all of the store-front churches are gone, as are many downtown stores.
Obviously, when church membership declined, economic problems increased. Bishop Crumes and Elder Carter discussed the problems and decided to put their view of a merger to the members of Temple 50. At that time, Sis. Theresa Webb was the only one left of the original membership. Elder Carter had about thirty-five members; the majority was members of his family and children. The final decision was made to come together for the best interest of the church. We no longer have two temple numbers, but we have a stronger and more viable church by merging as Temple 51.
Elder Willie Carter was appointed as assistant to Bishop Crumes. Elder Elston Carter was appointed Youth Minister and Sunday School Superintendent, with pastorate training to succeed Bishop Crumes as pastor of Temple 51 upon Bishop Crumes’ retirement.
On July 15, 1997, the pastor and trustee board met to make financial plans for the Church’s 83rd anniversary. Several suggestions were made to board members. The board settled on the suggestion offered by trustee Cynthia Grant. Her suggestion was to ask each family in our temple for $2,500.00 toward the anniversary. For those members who did not have family or few family members in the church, they could form extended families in order to reach the goal. The plan was to have a least ten families in order to net $25,000.00. The plan was presented to the church body and they enthusiastically began forming their families. In about three months, on Sunday, October 12, 1997, the Lord blessed us with the best anniversary financially in the history of Temple 51. That Sunday afternoon, the chairman of the trustee board, Brother Edward Harris announced the total income of over $30,000.00. This was truly a blessed day. The pastor and members were overjoyed.
Two major events occurred during the year. The first was finalizing plans for the building of a new sanctuary. Brother Anthony Jackson was given the task of writing the proposal to be presented to the bank. To our delight, the proposal was accepted by the bank and the loan was approved. The excellent credit record of our pastor and the good financial history of our temple played a major role in our being granted the loan. At the time of this writing, under the leadership of our pastor, Bishop W.E. Crumes, plans for the construction of the new sanctuary for Temple 51 began.
The second event occurred on August 10, 1998. Our pastor, Bishop W.E. Crumes and his wife, Missionary Dorothy E. Crumes celebrated their 50th Pastoral Anniversary. The celebration was held at the Cincinnati Regal Hotel during our 106th Annual National Convention. Members from across the brotherhood as well as our local membership were inspired by this history making event. Bishop and Missionary Crumes are examples of what a pastor and wife can achieve by putting the Lord first in their lives. There are no words to express how blessed we have been to have Bishop and Missionary Crumes love and serve us for fifty years. Many have said that the anniversary celebration was THE highlight of the convention.
Also during the annual convention, Bishop W.E. Crumes was re-elected Chief Bishop of the National Brotherhood. “Praise God from who all blessings flow.”
As we look back over the years and reflect on how far the Lord has brought us, we can truly say that we have been blessed. We truly have a TESTIMONY.
On August, 22, 1999, Bishop and Missionary W.E. Crumes celebrated their 51st Pastoral Anniversary. This was to also be their last Pastoral Anniversary. Bishop and Missionary Crumes retired as of Sunday, August 20, 1999. No words can express how grateful and blessed Temple 51 has been to have had such remarkable leadership from Bishop and Sis. Crumes for 51 years. Bishop is no longer our pastor, but he is still on the scene to help counsel and guide our new pastor. Sis. Crumes retired as teacher of the Primary Sunday School class and president of the Women’s Auxiliary. However, she is still on the scene as an advisor. We thank God for Bishop and Sis. Crumes and ask God to keep them in His care as they continue to carry out His will.
On Sunday morning, August 29, 1999, Elder Elbert Jones, III was installed as the new pastor of the Church of the living God, C.W.F.F. Temple 51. This was a very emotional service. For many of us, Bishop Crumes was the only pastor we had ever been under. We were sad to see him retire, but we recall his words before the appointment of Elder Jones was made. He stated that he did not know what he was going to do, but he as going to let the Lord lead him in making the decision. The appointment of Elder Jones was made Sunday night, August 8, 1999, by Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes at the Annual Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. We know that much prayer and thought was given to the decision that was made.
Elder Jones and his wife, Sis. Eva Jones, have enthusiastically begun their pastoral work. These young people have come to us full of faith and zeal committed to the growth of our congregation. Elder Jones stated upon his installation his goal, “To Retain and Gain”. As of this writing, in the five weeks he has been our pastor, eleven have united or reunited with the church. Pastor Jones has asked the Lord for 50 new members this year. He is off to a good start. The Lord is truly blessing.
Now to paraphrase the words to the song: “We Have A Feeling Everything Is Going to Be All Right”. We are looking forward to many years of service together as Pastor and Sis. Jones lead us into the Twenty First Century.
This year marked not only a new century, but also new beginnings and events for our church. 42 new members united with the church. Pastor Jones appointed Elder Elston Carter as our new Assistant Pastor. Pastor Jones instituted Super Sunday. Super Sunday is a family experience where there is something for everyone, Women’s Work, Men’s Work, or Y.P.P.U., every first and third Sunday evening.
The year 2000 also marked the beginning of our audio and videotape ministry. This ministry enables us to share our morning service and special events with our sick and shut-in. It also serves as a wonderful witnessing tool for our family, friends, and community.
On June 4, 2000 after morning service, we held a Groundbreaking Service for our new sanctuary. This was a moving and inspirational service lead by Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes that was captured on video. Years from now, our children and their children will be able to experience the joy we felt during this memorable occasion. In late August 2000, our dream finally became a reality; the old building as torn down and a few weeks later, the foundation as poured and the building of the new Sanctuary was begun.
Last but certainly not least, Pastor Elbert Jones, III and his wife, Sis. Eva Jones gave birth to their first child, Elbert James Jones, on September 30, 2000. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
On November 12, 2001, Pastor Jones delivered his last sermon in our old sanctuary. That evening, the last service was the Adult Choir’s Fall Recital. The next Sunday we held our Sunday morning services at the House of God in Lockland. This facility was less than a year old when we entered to have our Sunday morning services. While worshipping at the House of God, video tapes of our morning services began airing on cable channels in both Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky, spreading the gospel in this area.
On the first day of the seventh month in the year of our Lord 2001, the congregation and friends of Temple 51 marched into their sanctuary. Lead by Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes and Missionary Dorothy E. Crumes, Bishop S.E. Shannon, Overseers Harold Edwards, Elbert Jones, and David Miles, and Pastor Elbert Jones, III and his wife, the members of Temple 51 along with members from across the brotherhood marched from around the block to the new building singing, “We Have Come This Far By Faith”. At the entrance of the new building, Missionary Dorothy E. Crumes cut the ribbon across the doors and the congregation entered singing, “When The Saints Go Marching In”. The first sermon delivered in our new sanctuary was by our Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes. What a glorious time we had as we praised the Lord and fellowshipped with one another on July 1, 2001.
The year 2002 began with the theme: “This Is Our Year.” During the year, Pastor Elbert Jones, III brought many inspiring messages. The congregation was blessed by these messages which included a series on “Discipleship” and on “Tithing.” We were reminded that “Vision without action is merely a dream. There is yet a great work to be done.” In addition to many successful regularly scheduled church events, the Temple 51 Women’s Work Department held a three-day workshop which featured Evangelists from across the Church of the Living God Brotherhood. The workshop theme was: “The Call to Worship-A Way of Life.”
This year represented a transitional year for Temple 51 Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes, Senior Pastor, conducted services upon the departure of Pastor Elbert Jones, III. Guest ministers from the Church of the Living God Brotherhood were invited to bring messages of inspiration during the morning worship services. On Sunday, August 10, 2003, at the 111th National Convention in Washington, D.C., Elder Ennis F. Tait was appointed to the pastorate of Temple Fifty-one. To God be the glory! During an inspiring installation service on September 7, 2003, Pastor Tait accepted the pastoral challenge from Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes. Pastor Tait’s acceptance sermon reflected that “The anointing comes from God.” The scriptural reference was Luke 4:18-21:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me
to preach the gospel to the poor;
This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
With his devoted wife, Sis. Sheree Tait, and his three children at his side, Pastor Tait has begun his journey of spiritual leadership with the membership of Temple 51. He consistently instills this profound message into the hearts and minds of the congregation as he delivers God’s word:
“Preaching brings you out of the world, but TEACHING brings the world out of you.”
We look forward to many years of leadership and spiritual guidance with Pastor Ennis F. Tait.
On March 7, 2004, Temple 51 and the entire Church of the Living God (C.W.F.F.) Brotherhood mourned the loss of Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes. Chief Bishop W.E. Crumes was laid to rest in a wonderful two-day “Home-going Celebration” on March 12-13, 2004. Bishops, Executive Board Members, and members from across the Brotherhood attended the services. Vice Chief Bishop Robert D. Tyler delivered the eulogy. On August 8, 2004, at the 112th National Convention of the Church of the Living God (C.W.F.F.), held in Orlando, Florida, Elder Ennis F. Tait was re-appointed to Temple 51. We thank God that Pastor Tait will again be our leader. As of this writing, over 50 souls have been added to do the work of the Lord. We are marching on through the grace and mercy of God.
The church continues to progress under the leadership of Pastor Ennis F. Tait. Pastor Tait was re-appointed to the pastorate of the church on July 31, 2005 at the 113th National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
The church’s mission of “building bridges that lead to Godly relationships through love, evangelism, corporate fellowship, and individual ministry support” is consistently being pursued, as is the vision of striving toward excellence.
The Lord has blessed this ministry with many new souls.
The initiation of the Ministry Planning Team (which oversees all planned church events) and the implementation of Ministry Leaders (who coordinate various church segments and administer to the auxiliaries) enhance the spiritual objectives of the church. These additions are also assets to the organizational structure of the church.
The church celebrated its 90th Church Anniversary, (October, 2004) setting a financial goal of $50,000. The “Extended Family” plan which was conceptualized in 1997 (with each family making a sizable contribution) continued. The church succeeded, eventually exceeding this goal.
On April 3, 2005 a “Church Appreciation Celebration” was held. The elegant celebration was held at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Many new initiatives were instituted during the year.
The Sunday School Department began “Registration Sunday” during which members and prospective Sunday School members were registered. This procedure was implemented in an effort to increase interest and attendance in Sunday School.
The Women’s Work Department launched a “Lunch and Learn” program. The women meet for lunch and engage in spiritual discussions.
This year the Women’s Ministry Team was formed as a new entity. This ministry does not take the place of the Women’s Work Department. It serves as an enhancement for the spirituality and camaraderie for all the women of the church. Various activities are being planned to interest everyone. The Women’s Ministry Team is under the leadership of Sister Sheree’ Tait.
The Men’s Work Department has also worked diligently, formulating many new, successful events. These include the men’s prayer breakfast and a men’s chili cook-off. The Men’s Work Department also sponsored a free trip for seniors to historic Ripley, Ohio. This excursion provided an opportunity for the senior saints to trace and understand the important role of Ohio in the freedom of the slaves, and to gain a greater appreciation of the history of the Underground Railroad.
Efforts are being made to reach out to the community. This year marked the beginning of our “Taking it to the Streets” ministry. We were blessed to have Bishop Leroy Smith, Jr. in our presence for this successful occasion.
The church also held our first annual “Back to School” carnival. The carnival was held in a city park located within the church community. During this event school supplies were distributed to children in the community.
We praise God for all of His blessings. Through the love and guidance of God, we are progressing, believing that “…with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 20:26)
The various ministries and initiatives of the church have been blessed to develop in a most successful manner.
The year 2006 marked the beginning of the Sanctuary Choir, the extension of the Praise Dance Ministry, and the institution of a three day music workshop sponsored and correlated by the Adult Choir. The Scholarship Ministry launched a tutorial program for the youth of the church.
On July 24, 2006, the first phase of construction was begun on the lower level of the church edifice.
This will include restrooms, as well as the heating and air conditioning for this level. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 92nd Church Anniversary and the “Extended Family Capital Campaign” on October 8, 2006.
We are thankful for all of God’s blessings.
And so here she stands, at 434 Forest Avenue, “The House of God, which is The Church of the Living God” (I Timothy 3:15).