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Greater Bethel Apostolic Church has truly reaped the benefits of strong faith in God. Elder and Sister Daisy Jones established what was to become Greater Bethel Apostolic Church during the summer of 1923 in Canton, Ohio. They came to Canton from Detroit, Michigan to start work for the Lord. It was during an inspiring street meeting on the corner of Rex Avenue and 9th Street where Elder Jones, known as “Pa Jones”, began to preach about water baptism in the name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Ghost. 

During one of these great street revivals, Sis. I. B. Cunningham was the first person to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Elder and Sister Jones erected a tent on Cherry Avenue near Jackson Park; here many souls began to come to the Lord. Thus, the beginning of Greater Bethel!

The church moved from the tent into a small storefront at 14th Street and Willett Avenue, SE where many more people were saved. The Lord continued to bless the ministry and it became necessary to move again. This time the church was moved to a small building on the corner of 11th Street and Lafayette Avenue, SE. After the church was settled at this location, Elder Jones felt the calling of the Lord to leave Canton and move his ministry. Through his faith and hard work, he had planted the seed for a great future.

Elder Samuel Linder from Indiana became the next Pastor. Under his ministry, the church moved to 11th Street and later to 1108 Cherry Avenue, SE. Elder Linder pastored there faithfully until his death. Subsequently, Elder Frank Cunningham became Pastor and Elder Roy Reynolds became the Assistant Pastor.

After a brief pastorate, Elder Cunningham was replaced by Adolphus Smith from Cambridge, Ohio. 

The church was under his ministry until his death. Elder Cunningham and Smith still have descendants attending Greater Bethel even today. 

For some time the church was without a permanent pastor and District Elder Perry Reed and his wife Zelma came from Akron, Ohio to minister to the church. They were an inspiration to the saints and encouraged many to continue to walk with the Lord. After a while, Elder Leath was sent to become the Pastor and remained for approximately three months. The Lord continued to provide and enabled the saints to have a place to worship until a new pastor could be found.  

On Easter 1945, Elder James Hawkins, from Columbus, Ohio, became Pastor. It was during this time that many young people were baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost. God poured out His blessings abundantly. 

There were, however, some differences in opinion among the membership that resulted in the church becoming divided. 

Part of the congregation moved to a location on 10th Street; while the rest remained at the 1108 Cherry, SE location. 

Elder Cash became pastor of the 10th Street location named Bethel Apostolic, assisted by Elder Mitchell. 

Elder John Scott pastored the Cherry Street church called Christ Temple.

After some time, Elder Cash gave up the church and Elder Robert McMurray of Cincinnati, Ohio, was sent by the Ohio District Council to become the Pastor of Bethel Apostolic. At this time there were seven members of Bethel Apostolic Church on 10th Street and 14 members at Christ Temple on Cherry Avenue.

After some time, Elder Cash gave up the church and Elder Robert McMurray of Cincinnati, Ohio, was sent by the Ohio District Council to become the Pastor of Bethel Apostolic. At this time there were seven members of Bethel Apostolic Church on 10th Street and 14 members at Christ Temple on Cherry Avenue.

Approximately one year later, the Lord led Elder McMurray to meet with the Deacons of Christ Temple to bring the two churches together again. The officers present were Leroy Andrews, Ernest Andrews Sr., James Williams, and Paul Winn. After prayer and much discussion, the decision was made to combine the churches. The church on 10th Street was sold and its name, Bethel Apostolic, was adopted as the new name of the reunited churches. The Lord began to bless immediately and souls were added weekly.

In July 1956, the church had a five-week tent revival. At the end of the meeting, 35 souls had come to Christ. That was just the beginning of what God had in store for His work here in Canton.

The next church move was to 1004 Fourth Street, NE. To facilitate this move, Bethel Apostolic became the first black church in the city to obtain a loan from the Canton National Bank for the purchase of a church. Bethel began a radio ministry which was also first among the black churches in the city of Canton.

In January of 1962, Elder McMurray was called to Los Angeles, California, and Elder James Tyson of Youngstown, Ohio was called to pastor the congregation. The Lord continued to bless the church under his leadership and more souls were added to the number.

In January 1966, Elder Tyson felt the leading of the Lord to move to Kansas City, Kansas and Elder Paul Winn, the Assistant Pastor, became acting Pastor for six months while the church sought God for a new pastor. The Lord blessed under his leadership.

In July 1966, Bethel Apostolic Church was blessed once again. The Lord sent a new pastor, Elder Ralph M. Byrd from Dayton, Ohio. Under his spiritual leadership and guidance, an abundance of souls, young and old were added to the church. The church underwent extensive remodeling and expansion. 

A Bus Ministry was established and a new 41 passenger bus was purchased. A youth choir was formed in addition to the radio choir.

In 1969, Elder Jonathan Tyson became the Assistant Pastor at Bethel Apostolic and continued in this capacity until his move to Indiana in 1971. In 1971, Elder Robert Evans assumed the responsibilities of the Assistant Pastor and was a spiritual asset to the church. He held this position until 1976 when he followed the leading of the Lord and began a full-time evangelistic ministry.

God’s vision for His people continued to emerge. After pastoring 15 years at Bethel Apostolic on 4th Street, God gave Elder Byrd a greater vision for His people. The Lord directed Pastor Byrd to move to a larger building. In 1979, under the guidance of the Lord and much prayer, negotiations began for the purchase of Cathedral of Life Church located at 2335 15th Street, SW.

Some members saw this move as an undertaking too large for the existing congregation, but Elder Byrd had a fervent belief in what God had revealed to him in a vision. 

Standing on his conviction, he proceeded in the will of the Lord. In October 1981, Elder Byrd and two officers of the church, Bro. Ralph J. Bradley, Secretary, and Sis. Mary Evans, Treasurer, along with Mr. Joe Platt, Loan Officer from Society Bank, met with Pastor C. Herschel Gammill and two officials from the Cathedral of Life church. The purchase of the church auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,200, an academy, three parking lots and a house located at 1504 Alden Street, SW was finalized for the sum of $300,000 with a thirty-year mortgage. Shortly thereafter, negotiations were completed for the sale of the Bethel Apostolic building on 4th Street to Pastor Warren Chavers and congregation, ending many years at the 4th Street location for Bethel Apostolic members.

On the fourth Sunday in October 1981, Elder Ralph M. Byrd and congregation were blessed to move to the new building and the church name was changed to Greater Bethel Apostolic Church.

In February 1983, Elder Melvin Brown was installed as Assistant Pastor. He held this position until October 1989, when God called him to pastor in Ashtabula, Ohio. The Lord blessed the Greater Bethel Apostolic family; it continued to grow - spiritually, financially, and in membership. Many improvements and additions were made. The main sanctuary and the academy were remodeled, new heating and central air systems were installed, and new passenger vans were purchased. The parking facilities were asphalted, lined, and fenced-in and a garage was built to house the vans.

During September 1991, the Greater Bethel Apostolic Church family celebrated Elder Byrd’s 25th Anniversary as Pastor. This was a glorious time and God richly blessed the Bethel family. In 1992, Elder Robert Evans, who had previously served as an Assistant Pastor, became the church’s Administrative Assistant. 

He served in this position until 1994, when he was called to pastor a church in Longview, Texas.

In 1992, Elder Byrd was elevated to a District Elder, assuming the leadership over many churches. 

In 1993, God reconfirmed the vision He had given Elder Byrd that resulted in the move to the new church in 1981. 

Twelve years after the purchase of the new church, on September 19, 1993, the Greater Bethel Apostolic family held its Mortgage Burning Service. The thirty-year mortgage had been paid in full. What a blessing from the Lord! In 1994, Elder Darrell T. Parker was installed as the Administrative Assistant.

In 1996 the Greater Bethel Apostolic Church family celebrated District Elder Byrd’s 30th Anniversary as pastor. In 1998 we celebrated the 75h Church Anniversary with a week-long celebration. What a glorious time we had.

In 2001 we celebrated District Elder Byrd’s 35th Pastoral Anniversary. In August 2002, the Greater Bethel Family celebrated Deacon Ernest Andrew’s 50th Anniversary as the church organist. In 2003, District Elder Byrd was appointed Overseer of Puerto Rico for the Eastern Caribbean Council of Nations and in 2005 he was elevated to Suffragan Bishop over that area. In 2004 we were blessed to transform the exterior of both facilities with the addition of overhangs, steeples, and modern lighting.

Suffragan Bishop Byrd continued to pastor Greater Bethel Apostolic Church until God called him home on April 17, 2006.   

On September 21, 2007, we were blessed to celebrate the installation service of Elder Carlos D. Morris as pastor of Greater Bethel Apostolic Church.

Throughout the years, the Lord has blessed Greater Bethel to minister to the needs of the people in the city through our Radio Broadcast, Project Success, Care Program, Christian Education, Bus Ministry, Women’s Auxiliary, Brotherhood, Youth Department, and Individual Outreach. Through these ministries, God has blessed us to touch the lives of thousands of people.

The Lord has truly smiled on Greater Bethel Apostolic Church and we are still - 

“Moving Forward in Blessed Faith”

1923 -