HOW IT ALL STARTED
Our own local congregation began as a prayer meeting that was held in a house at 1020 George Street, across the street from the church’s first building (which now houses the Mt. Carmel Worship Center), in 1945. The prayer meetings involved Preacher Cagle from Broad Creek, NC, and three ladies, Sister Strickland, Sister Brinn, and Sister Cottle. Sister Strickland mortgaged her house for $1000 and used those funds to get it all started.
The church’s first affiliation was with The Church of God, Pennsylvania, but in 1949 it became the New Bern Church of God, affiliated with the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee. The late 40’s saw a series of revivals, starting in 1947.
Official date of organization in Church of God is February 24, 1949.
In February of 1949 Brother Pressley became the pastor. Later that year, in August, Brother Frank Crawford was sent by church headquarters to be the pastor. Shortly thereafter Brother Maynard, an Indian evangelist, held a tent revival in an empty lot across the street, and on Sunday mornings he held services in the church.
The next few pastors were Brother Paul Horne (July 1951 – January 1952), Brother J. S. (Sam) Leonard (January 1952 – July 1953), Brother A. B. Whittington (July 1953 – July 1955), and Brother Herman Smith (July 1955 – August 1956). While Brother Smith was the pastor, a flood destroyed the parsonage on Oaks Road.
Brother Sam Leonard returned as pastor in August 1956, followed by Brother E. E. Salter (July 1957 – July 1965) and Brother Milan Boyd (July 1965 – August 1972). Under Brother Boyd a new parsonage was built across from the TV station, and a new church building was built, on the corner of Ashland and Glenburnie (now the home of Foundation Life Fellowship). Later the parsonage was sold and a new one built in back of the new church (this parsonage now holds the Administrative Offices of Foundation Life Fellowship).
The next pastor was Brother Raymond Murray (August 1972 – June 1977). In February of 1974 the church building burned, but was not destroyed.
Other pastors followed in succession: Brother Richard Christy (June 1977 – March 1978), Brother L. P. Spain (March 1978 – August 1979), Brother Ray Ted Lewis (August 1979 – June 1982), Brother L. R. Gasaway (June 1982 – February 1983), Brother Joseph C. Leonard, Jr., who was Brother Sam’s nephew (February 1983 – September 1985), Brother Sam Craft (September 1985 – August 1987), and Brother Bill Parson (August 1987 – March 1990). In January of 1989 the church moved to a temporary building on Neuse Boulevard (this building now houses the Helping Hands Thrift Shoppe) while the current sanctuary on the corner of Neuse Boulevard and Colony Drive was being built.
Our current pastor, Brother David Salmons, became pastor in March of 1990.
Over its history the congregation has seen many faces in the pulpit. Through the process the church has experienced slow, steady growth.