The Church was founded in 1903 by Saint Mary Magdalena L. Tate, establishing unique place in American church history. Saint Mary Magdalena, an Apostle Elder of Jesus Christ by the will of God, was a light to the nations. The First Overseer and true Mother in True Holiness, she was affectionately known as “Mother Tate”. With her sons Walter Curtis Lewis and Felix Early Lewis as assistants, Mother Tate established the Church in Illinois, Alabama, and Georgia during its first decade.
The Church of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of The Truth was incorporated in 1908, and the first General Assembly was held June 25 – July 5 of that year in Greenville, Alabama. Ministers were ordained and Pastors were appointed at that meeting. The first Presiding Elders were appointed at the 1911 Georgia State Assembly in Waycross, where financial support for Pastors also was implemented. In 1914 the first Decree Book was introduced and four State Bishops were appointed at Quitman, Georgia.
Rapid growth through powerful revivals and State and General Assembles soon gave the Church tremendous strength, and the Church spread throughout twenty (20) states (including the District of Columbia) by 1916. The Church Headquarters were established in Nashville. Tennessee, in 1924. In December of 1930, the Church lost Mother Tate when she fell asleep in the Lord. She was buried in the family plot in Dickson, Tennessee, but in 1963 her remains were relocated to Nashville’s historic Greenwood Cemetery and a marker memorializing Mother Tate was erected near the cemetery entrance.
Bishop B. L. McLeod
The Second Overseer Bishop B. L. McLeod was duly elected in 1931. He was a spirit-filled man who continued to travel and establish the Church works in many cities and states, both north and south. Bishop McLeod was the Overseer from 1931 – 1936 the time of his death, his faithful and devoted wife Bishop Mattie Lou McLeod, who had worked right by his side in the Gospel work and had traveled extensively with, Mother Mary Magdalena Tate, was elected Third Overseer.
Bishop M. L. Jewell
Bishop Mattie Lou McLeod (who was later Bishop Mattie Lou Jewell) was duly elected in 1939 by the General Assembly in Nashville, Tennessee. She founded Jewell’s Academy and Seminary, which operated from 1950- 1 962. It was a Church educational institution serving grades kindergarten through high school, as well as a veteran’s program.
Being a servant of God, directed by the Holy Spirit, Bishop Jewell was led to seek out a new location for the Headquarters of The Church of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Which He Purchased With His Own Blood, Inc. In 1964 she purchased property at 3359 North Ruckle Street, Indianapolis, Indiana as the location for the Church Headquarters.
Mary Magdalena L. Tate Bishop B. L. McLeod
Bishop M. L. Jewell
Bishop L. L. Harrison, Reverend Nettie Mae Harrison, Dr. N. A. Manning
Bishop M. L. Jewell’s granddaughter Reverend Nettie Mae Campbell was a Minister, evangelist and musician. She worked alongside Bishop Jewell, traveling throughout the works winning souls north and south. It was on one of these journeys that the Reverend Campbell met Lorenzo L. Harrison, the son of Mr. and Mrs. L. Harrison of Ocala, Florida. After a short courtship, they married. Lorenzo Harrison became a Minister and began to work with his wife. They had one daughter, Naomi.
In 1950 Reverend Nettie Mae Harrison became the First Vice President to Bishop M. L. Jewell. She held that position for five years. Reverend L. L. Harrison became First Vice President in 1955 until his demise in 1986. Bishop Jewell passed April 16, 1991.
Dr. N.A. Manning
Bishop Naomi Aquilla Manning was the Fourth Overseer of The Church of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Which He Purchased With His Own Blood, Inc. (Chief Jewell Dominion). Her education began at Jewell’s Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. At the age of sixteen, Bishop Manning graduated from Dwight Merrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey. She also attended Farleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford, New Jersey, and received her theological training under the watchful eyes of Bishop Jewell–our great leader–and the dynamic theologian Bishop L. L. Harrison.
Bishop N. A. Manning has been trained and prepared for the role of General Overseer for most of her life. She has worked in the Church since a child, singing and traveling with a Gospel group. She was Second Assistant Overseer from 1964 until 1986 under Bishop M. L. Jewell, before becoming Assistant Overseer upon the passing of her father the late Bishop L. L. Harrison in 1986. In 1991, Bishop Manning was installed as the President of The Church of the Living God. Under her administration, “Emeritus Awards” (reduction of dues for members 70 and older) have been established, seminars have been held to better educate people who hold offices in the Church, and Sunday School books have been issued for study and inspirational learning. Dr. Manning passed May 4, 2003.
Bishop Faye Moore
Our current leader, Bishop Faye Moore, was born in the state of Mississippi in the 1928. She is a life-long member of the Church of the Living God, and was raised by strong, God-fearing and faithful parents who were involved in Church leadership until their demise. Bishop Moore was appointed as Senior Bishop/Chief Overseer of the Church of the Living God – Jewell Dominion on June 12, 2005, and has worked fervently since her appointment to increase the growth of the Church, spiritually, physically, financially, and geographically.
Prior to becoming Senior Bishop/Chief Overseer, Bishop Moore served as Chairman of the Board of Directors, as well as spearheaded our annual Youth Church Bible Quiz events. She taught Sunday Bible School and Biblical workshops for the National Headquarters for many years, and under the past leadership, established the first Sunday School Books for the Church of the Living God – Jewell Dominion. Her workshop classes were always exciting because of her enthusiastic style of teaching. She was also very active as Chaplain of the Camp Jewell ministry (a Church-owned summer camp for all young people).
On a personal note, Bishop Moore established the first black-owned foster care service in the Macomb County of Michigan, and was heavily involved in prison ministry for many years. It was always her desire to be self-employed and she was a scholar for raising money to support the Church and youth ministries. This self-taught woman of God could always be found reading and study her Bible and other books to build up her knowledge and supplement her God-given wisdom.
Bishop Moore is an advocate for young people and has spent many years working to raise funds to support youth programs and trips; and she witnessed to so many while selling hot dogs and soda pops in areas where most men and women would never dare to go. She never feared what might happen to her, but always remained focused on what God had placed in her heart to do for the up building of His kingdom on earth.
Bishop Moore has never met a stranger or anyone who was insignificant or worthless in her eyes, but has stretched forth her hands and arms of love to all people, believing in her heart that God made everyone equal. This is the platform that she stands on in her administration – “Everybody is somebody in God’s eyes!”
She is a giving leader, who continues to lead the people of God with loving kindness and tender mercy as she exhorts and teaches them how to work together in the spirit of love and give God their very best.