Who We Are

The congregation, known since 1961 as Refuge Temple Annex, began as the Williamsbridge Prayer Band. Mothers Elsie V. Hill and Viola Williams, who were both members of Refuge Temple located in Harlem, desired to have a place nearer to home where they might hold prayer services. The late Bishop R.C. Lawson (then pastor of Refuge Temple and founder of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.) gave them permission to form the band.

At first the Williamsbridge Prayer Band held cottage meetings, they went from house to house holding prayer meetings. The little band began to grow. It was at a cottage meeting held in the home of then Minister Fields that the group entertained the idea of starting a mission. For a short while space was found to hold meetings in the rear of a Beauty Parlor on White Plains Road. Various clergymen attended and ministered to the group.

A better location was found on 225th Street(942 East 225th Street). The late Mother Elizabeth Marsh (then Sister marsh) suggested that the group rent a space that had been occupied as a barber shop. It was at that location where Bishop Lawson came one evening to meet with the band and stated that he would like to name the mission Refuge Temple Annex. As an annex of Refuge Temple, Pastor Lawson scheduled various ministers to conduct services there. It was because some ministers forgot to keep their appointments that the then Jr. Pastor of Refuge Temple, Elder Ben Spears, directed Minister Fields to act as pastor of the new mission. From May to August of 1961 Minister Fields served R.T.A. as acting pastor. In August, 1961 newly ordained Elder Fields was appointed, by the Board of Apostles (the successors to Bishop Lawson, who went home to be with the Lord in July, 1961) pastor of Refuge Temple Annex Mission. The appointment was in response to the requests of those attending the mission. The Annex was now a separate work, and no longer a branch of Refuge Temple.

In 1971, with the help of Bishop William Lee Bonner (pastor of Refuge Temple) we succeeded in obtaining a mortgage on our current location from Carver Federal Savings and Loan. The day of dedication, May 31, 1971 must have been the most glorious day in the lives of at least three people: Mother Elsie V. Hill, Mother Viola Williams and Pastor William G. Fields.

In March of 1978 we started our radio outreach ministry, "AWAKE". AWAKE can currently be heard on station WTHE/1520AM on Sunday from 2:30pm-3:00pm.