A Legacy of Humble Service
Pictured Above: Pastor Emeritus Rudolph Smith smoothing concrete during the building of the current sanctuary in 1980.
Dr. Rudolph & Lady Edna Smith
Community Church was founded by Dr. Rudolph Smith, affectionately known as “Rabbi.” He launched the church alongside his wife, Lady Edna Smith.
The first organizational meeting for Community Church was held in January, 1966 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard (Manilla) Riley. Founding members were Pastor Rudolph Smith, his parents Bro. Andrew and Sis. Lizzie Smith, Sis. Annie Dixon, Sis. Pearl McClendon, Sis. Daisy Odum, Sis. Mollie Peters, Sis. Manilla Riley and Sis. Catheryn Smith. On February 27th of that same year, the first worship service for the newly established church was held in the chapel of Alphonso Dawson Mortuary, with services scheduled twice monthly.
Recognizing the need for more regular services, Pastor Rudolph and members moved to the home of Bro. Herman and Sis. Catheryn Smith and began meeting weekly. On October 2, 1966 the growing congregation relocated to the chapel of Hines Funeral Home. The congregation was incorporated on July 24, 1967. On May 17, 1970 the church moved to its present location at 850 Cascade Ave.
Pastor Rudolph Smith assumed full time pastoral responsibilities in September of 1973 and in less than three years, on January 25, 1976 the church burned the $60,000 mortgage on the Cascade Avenue property.
With a vision for the future, the church began its first major building fund campaign in 1978, with construction starting in 1979. The new sanctuary was dedicated in 1980. The mortgage on this property was paid off on October 22, 1986.
Community Church of God has always had a heart for outreach, and in 1983 began its food pantry for the needy. In 1985 the church purchased the Salvation Army Thrift Store adjacent to the church property. In time, this building would become known as VICARS (Volunteers in Community and Related Services), dedicated in 1989.
In February, 1996 Pastor Rudolph Smith celebrated 45 years of service in Christian ministry and 30 years as pastor of Community Church of God.
Dr. Michael & Rev. Felecia Smith
February of 1998 marked the beginning of a new era in the church’s history when Michael A. Smith was called as pastor-elect to succeed his father. The mantle was officially passed in May with the installation service on October 11, 1998. Pastor Smith began his journey as the congregation’s pastor with his wife, Rev. Felecia Pearson Smith beside him.
Under Pastor Michael’s visionary leadership our congregation made several transitions that enriched the worship celebration, organizational structure and made technological advances.
The congregation also purchased four additional properties including the Rudolph Smith Ministry Center.
During this time period, an even greater emphasis was placed on community outreach programs. The church partnered with Remerge (formerly Church on the Street) on Friday evenings during the summer and provided block parties for the community.
The church hired its first Executive Pastor, Rev. Felecia Pearson Smith. Rev. Felecia had a substantial; impact on the life of the congregation and community abroad. She developed policy for the overall operation of the ministry and her outreach to women were the focus of her faith career.
Under Rev. Felecia’s guidance, the food pantry was reformatted into the Community Marketplace where persons in need are able to shop and make their own food choices.
2017 – 2020
Pastor Michael endeavored to continue the legacy of his father through the strength of his leadership in pastoral care, Christian education and church administration. Building on a solid foundation, Pastor Michael diligently sought to lead the church into twenty first century ministry.
Dr. Kevin & Lady Precious Earley
2020 – Present
The congregation experienced another major shift as Dr. Kevin W. Earley took the reins as its new Senior Pastor on October 1, 2020. This transition took in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and Pastor Earley hit the ground running strengthening the church’s virtual ministry and presence. Pastor Earley strives to inspire the congregation to pastor its community and make a godly impact on individuals inside and outside of the church.