Our Story in Brief
Celebrating over 75 years must bring into sharp focus the hundreds of persons who served this denomination with devotion and diligence. They gave commendable leadership and service at various levels and at the different churches so that today this ministry is still alive. We give special recognition to the many stalwart workers of the Mother church from 9 -11 French Street, New Town to 4 Shortwood Road who made invaluable contribution to the development of the church. This article is inadequate to highlight them but in the course of time by the help of God we will do our best to further acknowledge their work. We honour their memory.
“Great are the works of the Lord they are pondered by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2”.
In 1941 Wilfred A Shaw, a vibrant young evangelist who hailed from Grantham in Clarendon, launched out in faith and established the Full Truth Church of God Deliverance Centre. However, this name evolved over time. Initially it was the “Full Truth Church of God” then the “Church of God”.
It was known also as the Church of God Deliverance Centre. Its present name Full Truth Church of God Deliverance Centre mirrors the ideal of our founding father, Wilfred A. Shaw, who would not tolerate any alteration to the word of God. It must be ‘line upon line precept upon precept’. He strongly affirmed that the Church belongs to God and its purpose is to bring deliverance to every category of people who are bound, hence, the name.
Although Elder Shaw originated from Clarendon and preached all over Jamaica the ‘Mother Church,’ as the Head Office is termed, was established in Kingston at 9-11French Street, New Town. The first building was a wooden structure at 11 French Street and later number 9 French Street was acquired. That building was demolished in 1951 and a new one erected. A rapid increase in membership rendered that building inadequate, so in 1971, Bishop Wilfred A.
Shaw constructed and assisted in the erection of a new building. The name ‘New Town ‘soon became a household name, and was such for many years, The first General Assembly was held in March 1942. The membership was then very small therefore, a missionary thrust was launched that very year and evangelists were commissioned to the parishes of St. Mary, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Clarendon and the corporate area, to labour in the Gospel field. Hence, by the second General Assembly in 1943 the church was 21 branches stronger, with a total membership of seven hundred and twenty five.
There was evidence that from those early days this spirit-led ministry was well organized and was poised for growth. It was at 9-11French Street that the General Assemblies were held up to 1980 when by God’s divine plan we were forced to relocate to 4 Shortwood Road which is now the present Head Office. The then existing branch church at 4 Shortwood Road, led by mother R. Thompson was expanded by Elder Shaw into what he called the “Shed Cathedral.”
The new building took approximately two years from 1983 to 1985 to be constructed. We must give recognition and gratitude to the late Mother Renetra Thompson for the remarkable contribution she made in the relocation process.
The pioneer Wilfred A. Shaw was strongly ecumenical and promulgated that this was “a non-denominational affair which presented a challenge to all. Its main objective was and still is, General Deliverance for all. This lead to an ecumenical campaign in Frankfield, Clarendon in 1976, which had a significant impact on the church community and many were led to the Lord.
The October Month of Prayer which was launched in 1961 further substantiates the deliverance thrust of this ministry. This was and still is a continuous 24 hours chain of prayer for the entire month. People from all walks of life at home and abroad sent their prayer requests via telephone or the written word.
In the early years this was outstanding because then telephone ministry was not popular. Hundreds testified of receiving their deliverance. Thank God, October is still being observed as the month of Prayer with the Mother Church maintaining the 24 hour prayer chain.
After the launching of the church, there was rapid growth and the ministry began to spread all over Jamaica. The Members who migrated sought diligently to establish branches overseas. Elder Shaw’s Missionary Journeys took him to England, Canada, and the United States.
Evangelistic missions and church planting had a significant impact on the growth of the church in those early years and this continued over the years. Bishop Wilfred A. Shaw had a team of hardworking anointed and faithful workers at the Mother Church and throughout the branches with Clarendon having the most churches.
Regrettably, space does not allow us to mention all the names of all the stalwarts who contributed to the development, especially in those early years. However, mention must be made of some who rose through the ranks and have passed on. These include: Bishop Milton Moore, Bishop Lloyd O. Halliman, Pastor Calvert Johnson, Pastor Charles Wilson, Pastor Clifton Nunes, Elder Walver Maxwell, and Pastor Walter Folkes. Among the early evangelists were: Sis. S. Ogle and Elder Brenton Sharpe.
Over the seventy five years, we have had changes to administration and structures. This article does not allow for detailed information of the leadership changes, but the following highlights the major changes that occurred during 1941-2016.
- Bishop Dr. Wilfred A. Shaw- Founding Father, General Overseer 1941 -1994
- Bishop Glenroy Price – General Overseer 1994-2005
- Bishop Curtis Brown – General Overseer 2005-2015
- Bishop Arthur Brown – General Overseer 2016 – Present
Other Bishops who served over the years include:
- Bishop Milton W. Moore – deceased
- Bishop Henry Miller – deceased
- Bishop Lloyd O. Halliman – deceased
- Bishop Delroy Woodburn
- Bishop Frederick Rattray
Like any other denomination, the church has had its peaks and troughs but we remain undaunted. Today, although there has been a decline in the number of churches since the 1970’s the church is enjoying new growth. Over the past four years we have experienced restoration and expansion with an increase of eight churches.
We now have branches in the United States and Canada, and the expansion continues as we heighten our evangelism drive to call people from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. The thousands of lives that have been transformed through this ministry is a monument to those who have sought to execute the great commission while at the same time taking a holistic approach to ministry.
It is worthy of note that some persons who had their genesis in this ministry and had played their role in its early building and development have been used of God to establish ministries in New York, Canada and in Jamaica.
Among them are :Bishop Dr. Cecil Riley of the Freedom Hall Church of God, in Brooklyn New York, Bishop Dr. Al Baxter of Faith Miracle Temple of Toronto, Canada, Rev. Lucas Green, of the Evangel Church of God, Bishop Rudolph Henry, Church of God Deliverance Centre Ministries and Pastor Mable Brown, (now deceased), Trinity New Testament Assembly, New York and there are others.)
Pioneers of the Overseas Full Truth Church of God in Canada include; Mother Linda Clennon, (now deceased), Pastor George Smith, Sister Marion Hamilton. Pioneers of the churches in United States: Bishop Daniel Johnson, (now deceased), Pastor Monica Folkes, and Pastor Ina Solomon. Finally, today we raise our Ebenezer, “Hither to hath the Lord helped us”.
The twists and turns, the valleys and the mountains, the rivers and the seas with their turbulent waves have only strengthened our muscles and heightened our resolve in kingdom building. We will strive to preserve our rich heritage, but we will not stagnate. We will explore new possibilities with the Holy Spirit empowerment and leadership.