Prior to 1948 the State of Maine was part of the New England Jurisdiction under the late Bishop Range and the late Mother D. M. Matthews who lived in Hartford, CT. She was over the Women’s Department for all of New England. Elder Pinkston and his wife Mother Martha Pinkston began the first work in the State. Mother Lillian Brooks Coffey appointed Mother Pinkston as Supervisor for the Department of Women.
Elder R. D. Williams lived and pastored in Danbury, CT. He was raised in the Church of God in Christ and his mother served as the State Supervisor for Kansas. He received his Ministers License from Bishop Abernathy of Kansas who was the Overseer for Iowa. Bishop Range ordained him as an Elder. He was elevated to Overseer of New Hampshire in 1943 by Bishop C. H. Mason, later Bishop C. H. Mason came to Connecticut and appointed Bishop H. B. Richardson over New Hampshire and then on May 8, 1948 he gave Bishop R. D. Williams the State of Maine.
Bishop Williams was a widower when he came to Maine. He met his future wife Louvenia Tillman Williams at one of the National Meetings in Memphis, TN. She was residing in Connecticut and they courted a short while and then married in 1950 in Haggerstown, MD. Prior to marrying Bishop Williams, Mother Williams served as Mother D. M. Matthews chauffeur. Her pastor was Bishop Wilson of Stanford, CT. It was Mother Matthews who gave Mother Williams her District Missionary license. Mother Williams was a graduate of the New York Conservatory of Music an opportunity that was afforded to her by the family that she worked for as a domestic. She attended Wilson Memorial, Church of God in Christ in Stanford and was the Director of Saint Celia Choir during her time there.
During the early years it was common place to build your membership by encouraging people from the south to move north. Bishop Williams would encourage people during the National Holy Convocation in Memphis to come to Maine and many did. Parents from several states sent their children to the church’s Summer Camp and many relocated here permanently. Children came to the camp from the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as the District of Colombia. The camp would house 50 (fifty) children at any given time. The camp was the ‘Lucy Evans’ Camp named after the woman who left the land to the church. Mother Williams’ family the Tilmans, relocated here from Athens, GA. Many of the descendents from that clan are still here in the State of Maine.
Under Bishop Williams’ leadership churches were established in the cities of Bangor, Portland, Auburn and Lewiston. The first work under Bishop Williams’ administration was in the city of Bangor. The pastors that were in Bangor were:
Bishop R.D. Williams, Elder R.A. Brown, Elder R.A. Thompson and Elder David Libby. The pastors that were in Portland were: Bishop R.D. Williams (relocated to
Portland in 1950) and Elder R.W. Brown a few years later. Elder Steve Coleman (now Bishop Steve Coleman) would follow as pastor many years later, however he never knew Bishop Williams. The pastors in Auburn were: Elder A.L. Hull, followed by Elder Isaac L. Jackson who was then followed by his brother Elder Albert R. Jackson. Elder Ben Jordan pastured in Brunswick and Elder Luther Jenkins in Limestone. Bishop Williams ordained Elder Isaac Jackson, Elder Raymond W. Brown, Elder Albert Jackson, Elder Ben Jordan and Elder David Libby. Elder A. L. Hull was ordained while living in West Virginia. Elder R.A. Brown (born 1907) was ordained in Arkansas and had already pastored 13 churches before coming north to Maine. Elder R.A. Thompson was ordained by Bishop A.D. Johnson of Detroit, MI. Elder Coleman was ordained by Bishop David W. Grayson, Sr. of Brooklyn, NY. Following the death of Elder Jenkins his wife Dr. Dorothy K. Jenkins continued the work in Limetone until her homegoing in January of 2004.
The first Jurisdictional Secretary was Elder A. Lee Hull who was married to
Sister Thelma (Jackson) Hull and she served as the first organist. Elder Hull also
served as the District Superintendent and the first State Youth President (YPWW).
Elder Raymond W. Brown served as the Minister of Music.
The first work as an established jurisdiction began in the city of Bangor. Sometime later in 1950 Bishop Williams relocated to Portland (Maine’s largest city) to start
a work in the Portland area. Christ Temple (as it was known then) was located at
34 Lancaster Street. The three storey building served as the church and parsonage.
The first floor housed the sanctuary and the parsonage was on the second floor.
The third floor was used as housing for the saints and delegates at various meetings.
The building’s seating capacity was approximately 65 persons.
In 1957 the city of Portland bought the property to build ‘Kennedy Park’ a low income housing development. The church was then relocated to 179 Franklin Street. Once again this building housed the sanctuary and the parsonage. Nine years later (1966) the city of Portland purchased that building.
The next move was to 58 Wilmot Street. Bishop Williams considered that move to be temporary. During the years spent at that location Bishop Williams envisioned having a church built. Land was secured at 274 Terrace Avenue for the church, as
well as land in Scarborough, Maine for his home. Both were built simultaneously.
The church was then renamed ‘Williams Temple’. This church would serve as the
Bishop R. D. Williams passed away in 1981. The Jurisdiction remained without a
Jurisdictional Prelate for 5 years. Elder Steve Coleman was placed as interim pastor of Williams Temple by Dr. Grayson in October 1986. Dr. David W. Grayson, Sr. became the second Jurisdictional Prelate in the State of Maine in November of 1986. Elder Coleman was installed as pastor of Williams Temple on April 26, 1987. Mother Louvenia T. Williams passed away at the age of 86 in 1996. She served as State Supervisor up until her death.
On July 8, 2004 Elder Steve Coleman was consecrated Bishop of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Maine, by Bishop Roy L.H. Winbush of the General Board and Jurisdictional Prelate of Louisiana First Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ.
Bishop Winbush was assisted by Bishop P.A. Brooks of the General Board and
Jurisdictional Prelate of Michigan Northeast Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ
along with Bishop Barnett K. Thoroughgood then Adjutant General of the
Church of God in Christ and Bishop Jerry L. Maynard the Chief Operating Officer of the Church of God in Christ. Bishop Coleman is the third Bishop to hold the office for the State of Maine Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ.
Chronology: 1948-1981 Bishop R. D. Williams, Jr. Overseer; 1948-1950 Mother
D. M. Matthews, Regional Supervisor; 1950-1955 Mother Martha Pinkston, State Supervisor; 1955-1957 Mother Hurdler, State Supervisor; 1957-1960 Mother Margie Key, State Supervisor; 1960 Mother Rebekah Gorham, Interim State Supervisor; 1960-1996 Mother Louvenia T. Williams, State Supervisor; 1986-2003
Bishop David W. Grayson, Sr., Jurisdictional Prelate; 1996-Present Mother Doris K. Adé, State Supervisor; 03/01/04 – 07/07/04 Bishop P. A. Brooks, Interim Bishop;
July 8, 2004-Present Bishop Steve Coleman.