Pentecostal Tabernacle Church of God in Christ Church History
The Pentecostal Tabernacle Church of God in Christ began its humble beginnings when Sister Ajane Sloan (daughter of Pastor Shed Barksdale of the Missionary Baptist Church in Beloit) received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and began hosting prayer meetings in her home on St. Paul Avenue in Beloit. As Sister Sloan began to spread the good news about the Holy Ghost, many people began attending the prayer meetings and, they too, became filled with the Holy Ghost. After some time, the prayer meetings grew so large that Sister Sloan and others felt that there was a need for leadership and a need for a pastor to nurture and guide the new group of Holy Ghost seekers and recipients. Two of the first men to lead this group were Pastor Diggs and Pastor Hicks.
After the number of attendees grew too large for meetings in Sister Sloan’s home, the group moved to an abandoned junk yard on Race Street. The church at this time did not have an official name, but was known as the “Sanctified Church”. During this time, Elder W.L. Morris began to pastor the group and after Elder Morris became overseer of the South Eastern Wisconsin Jurisdiction, Elder Kemp from Racine took over the leadership. It was during this era that the church became known as the “Church of God in Christ”. After the abandoned junk yard was purchased by another company, the church moved its meetings and services to the home of Mother Boggs. Soon after the move, under the leadership of Pastor Kemp, the church purchased land at 1304 Keep Street in Beloit and held services in the basement. After Pastor Kemp’s retirement in 1950 Elder Lewis Pyrtle assumed leadership of the church.
Through much hard work, diligence and faith, Pastor Pyrtle and members were able to convert the basement on Keep Street into a full church edifice. It was during this time that Pastor Pyrtle and Bishop Morris (then prelate of Southeast Wisconsin Jurisdiction) named the new church Pentecostal Tabernacle Church of God in Christ. Bishop Morris and Pastor Pyrtle also established the Wonder District of Southeast Wisconsin Jurisdiction. After the establishment of the new edifice and the Wonder District, the church grew tremendously, many souls were saved and many received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In 1954, the church moved locations to 1648 Wisconsin Avenue. After Pastor Pyrtle’s retirement the church was under the leadership of Pastor Etchin, Pastor Hawkins, Pastor Hightower, Pastor Randolph and Bishop Daniels.
In April 2008, Bishop Daniels (prelate of Wisconsin First Jurisdiction-formerly Wisconsin Southeast Jurisdiction) appointed Elder Jeremiah Holiday to serve as Supply Minister. Pastor Holiday worked diligently in this role and in August 2008, he was appointed by Bishop Daniels as Pastor. He was officially installed on April 26, 2009. At the time of his appointment in 2008, the church had only 12 active members; however, Pastor Holiday did not allow the small number to limit his vision for the ministry.
During his first year as pastor, Pastor Holiday shared with the congregation the vision that God had given him for the church. He shared that God would bless the church with a new edifice, a new organ, a new drum set and a church van. Although the church was small in number at the time, this did not deter them from believing what God could and would do for the ministry. Pastor Holiday adopted the church motto “The Just Shall Live By Faith” and affixed these words on a banner that hung in the sanctuary. Every decision made concerning the ministry was made by faith. As the ministry continued at 1648 Wisconsin, souls were added to the kingdom and the church experienced notable growth. However, Pastor Holiday and the congregation were not satisfied and believed that God had something greater in store! They continued to fast, pray and seek the Lord for direction and for confirmation of what they believed were to come.
The vision began to unfold on May 9, 2010 when Pastor Holiday and Brother Willie Pulliam were engaged in conversation concerning the availability of church properties in the Beloit area. Brother Pulliam shared with Pastor Holiday that the property at 1849 Bayliss was available. Because the property on Bayliss Avenue had not yet been placed on the market, Pastor Holiday asked Brother Pulliam to make a visit to the property and inquire about its availability. The next day, on May 10, 2010, Brother Pulliam paid a visit to the property and knocked on the door to the adjacent parsonage on Prairie Avenue. As he knocked on the door, unbeknownst to him, inside, Pastor Dave Fergusson (Four Square Connection Church) the current leasee of the Bayliss Property and Pastor Kevin Swanson (Berean Baptist Church) the owner of the property were thumbing through the phonebook in search of a phone number for Pastor Holiday to contact him concerning his interest in the property. When they answered the door, there was no need to search any longer because Brother Pulliam had all the information they needed! Both Pastors were amazed and astonished and believed that this chance encounter was truly the Lord’s doing!
Later that month, Pastor Holiday, Lady Holiday and the church executive board viewed the property and unanimously agreed that this property was for PT. After much prayer, meetings and discussions with the board and the entire congregation, Pastor Holiday assumed negotiations with Pastor Swanson for purchase of the Bayliss property and the adjacent parsonage. A final offer was made and accepted and on August 15, 2010 the Pentecostal Tabernacle Church of God in Christ held its first service at 1849 Bayliss Avenue. The building was dedicated by Bishop Daniels on September 19, 2010 and on that day the church congregation held a “victory march” from the old Wisconsin Avenue location to the new location at Bayliss Avenue.
The move to the new location has brought much visibility to the ministry as there are visitors every Sunday and the membership has grown from only 12 members in 2008 to approximately 100! From its humble beginnings in the home of Sister Sloan to the basement on Keep Street, the Pentecostal Tabernacle Church of God in Christ has now acquired a beautiful facility with office space, classrooms, a fellowship hall, parking lot and parsonage. And just as Pastor Holiday proclaimed in 2008, the church also has a new organ, new drum set and a church van!
Pastor Holiday and the members of PT recognize that without the pioneers and all the pastors and elders who provided great leadership over the years none of this would be possible. It is with the same spirit that Pastor Holiday continues to teach the Word of God, uphold the standard of holiness and declare sanctification. As the vision progresses Pastor Holiday and the congregation continue to follow the motto that continues to hang in the rear of the sanctuary as it did on Wisconsin Avenue—The Just Shall Live By Faith!