By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian
It’s been a long time coming for an Arkadelphia congregation’s dream of worshipping in a sanctuary on the city’s main thoroughfare.
That dream is now coming to life for members of Greater Tate Temple Church of God in Christ, who on Monday held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the newly constructed church building at 2005 Pine St. Dozens of congregation members and community leaders were in attendance Monday afternoon for the celebration.
The first C.O.G.I.C. established in Arkadelphia, the church was founded in 1917 beneath a brush arbor and was initially (and aptly) named The First Church of God in Christ. The first pastor appointed to lead the church was Elder Eugene Scott. Elder Andrew Tate, the church’s namesake pastor, began his decade of leading the church in 1940, and under his leadership a new edifice at 227 S. Austin St. was erected.
Tate’s successor, O.N. Dennis, would go on to be the longest-serving pastor of the church, his tenure lasting 47 years, from 1940 until 1997. It was then that the congregation elected LeRoy Williams, the ninth pastor of the church. He and First Lady Delores Williams continue their service to the church today. It was under Williams’ leadership and vision that the church opted to erect a new worship center and rebrand itself as Greater Tate Temple C.O.G.I.C.
The church broke ground on the new location in June 2021. Twin Rivers Architecture designed the edifice and oversaw its construction. The architects were among those recognized at Monday’s ribbon cutting, along with city and county officials who were also in attendance.
Tannea Nelson was among those who spoke at the ribbon cutting. A lifetime member, she recalled her parents taking her to church when she was a little girl and falling on their knees in prayer. “I didn’t know what it meant then, but now I know” the power of prayer, said Nelson, now a parent herself. “This is just our beginning,” she added. “We’re better, and we’re greater, and we’re ready to work.”
Opening scriptures and an affirmation of faith were read by Donna Hogan and Phyllis Deloach, respectively, followed by remarks and recognition of special guests from Tina Johnson. Delonna Wright delivered a message of thanks to the community and those instrumental in making the new facility a reality.
First Lady Williams said the church congregation is “excited about what God has done. What a blessing! We’re going to rejoice today and always because God did something for us that no one else could do, and we are truly grateful.” Pastor Williams called the new facility a “great blessing from the Lord, and I give it all to God.”
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