This is track 4 from the 1973 album “By The Time I Get To Heaven”.
Lead by Tawatha Agee (later to sing with Mtume)
Written by Harvey Lewis Jr.
The Star of Bethlehem Church of God in Christ was founded in May 1955 by the late Mother Ruth Powers. It was located at 1244 5th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The original name of the church was the “Second Church of God in Christ.” At that time there were only three members, Mother Ruth Powers, who served as General Church Mother until her home-going on January 24, 2000, Mother Janie Jones, and Sister Rosa Walston.
The First pastor appointed to Jurisdictional Bishop Samuel Kelsey to lead this small flock was Elder Gibson. Elder Gibson sowed for two years, and after many obstacles and trials, decided to leave. However, the three members remained. They fasted, prayed, and worked diligently (selling pies, cakes, and dinners) to keep the church doors open.
Later, the late Elder Shaw was appointed by Bishop Kelsey to pastor. Elder Shaw was responsible for changing the name of the church to “Star of Bethlehem Church of God in Christ.” Elder Shaw was not only a preacher, he was also a baker. He worked faithfully in the church, and as a result, the church began to grow. After a year of devoted leadership, Elder Shaw, Bishop Kelsey immediately appointed Elder Wiseman as the pastor. Elder Wiseman served several months and left suddenly.
Elder Metcalf was the fourth pastor appointed to the Star of Bethlehem Church of God in Christ by Bishop Kelsey. He worked very hard and spent his personal monies to help keep the church open. This was a hard time and the church was not progressing very well.
Bishop Kelsey later installed Elder Hammond of Delaware as the fifth pastor of the church. Due to some denominational differences, Elder Hammond served only a few months. Upon the departure of Elder Hammond, Bishop Kelsey reappointed Elder Metcalf as pastor. He again worked faithfully. The progress of the church was slow due to the many changes in leadership. Bishop Kelsey, determined to turn Star of Bethlehem into a “soul saving station” for the Lord, made yet another appointment.
On the third Sunday in March, 1960, Elder Harvey Lee Lewis, Sr. was appointed pastor. Elder Lewis, Sr., the seventh pastor, was accompanied by his wife and their three children, Marie, Harvey, Jr., and Winona. The early years of the ministry were trying and hard, but under Pastor Lewis’ leadership and guidance new members were being added and the church began to grow. Two years after Pastor Lewis’ appointment, Mother Madeline Walston joined the church. The first family to join the church was the family of Mother Esther Jones. Her daughter, Church Mother Shirley Jones Fields and Mother Madeline Walston are yet worshipping with us today.
The first choir was organized by one of the faithful members of the church, Sister Willie Thompson. The choir was made up of children recruited from the neighborhood. Sister Thompson served as president, and Pastor Lewis served as the first choir director, with Mother Lewis as his assistant.
By the fifth year, under Pastor Lewis’ leadership, the church’s membership grew from 3 to 75. The church was progressing spiritually and financially. The church grew to a position where it was able to serve not only the church family, but also the surrounding community. As the church grew, Pastor Lewis saw a need for a larger facility in which to worship. In a tremendous act of faith by the pastor and the Star of Bethlehem congregation, the church family relocated to 2033 11th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., where we continued to grow both spiritually and financially.
As you can see, the “Star” family took an even bigger step of faith and moved into this beautiful edifice at 14th and Colorado. The Lord allowed us to purchase this church without money, when it was not for sale. To God be the glory for the things he has done.