BIBLE WAY CHURCH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WORLD WIDE, INC
The Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ is an African American church that grew out of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. In 1957 there was a bitter dispute that led to Smallwood Williams gave up his position as the General Secretary of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Inc. in order to start the Bible Way church. Ultimately about half of the congregations in the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ joined the new church. The Bible Way church grew as Williams preaching style and his advocacy of civil rights and social issues made him a popular figure in the Washington D.C. Area. By the time of his death in 1991 Bible way reported 100,000 members in 330 churches across the country.
In 1997 there was a split within the Bible Way organization over church governance. The controversy centered on succession to leadership following Smallwood Williams’ death. Both of the organizations that formed as a result of this split continued to use the name Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide. One church organization is led by Huie Roger and is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. The other organization is located in Baltimore and it is led by Cornelius Showell. One of the differences between the two organization is that the organization presided over by Showell ordains women to the ministry. The Baltimore branch of Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide remains the larger of the two organizations.
The Richmond branch of the Bible Way, New Jerusalem Outreach Ministries, was established by Eugene Jefferson and is affiliated with the Baltimore based Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide. Jefferson decided to start a church based on the positive response he received to the lunch time bible classes he offered at a regional furnishing store. The first meeting of New Jerusalem Outreach Ministries was held in his home. New Jerusalem Church has held services in several locations in the Richmond area. New Jerusalem Outreach Ministries experienced difficulties in finding an affordable place to meet as many of the church members did not have jobs and the church lost members by way of death. The church currently has found a location which is manageable. New Jerusalem membership consists of 10 members ranging from 40 to 60 years of age. The young people in the church consist of the pastor’s children from 20 months to 17 years of age.
Important church rituals include baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ Inc, speaking in tongues, and commemorating the Lord’s Supper. New Jerusalem Church celebrates several special events during the year. Women’s Day is celebrated in August; Men’s Day is celebrated in September or October; and Family and Friends Day is celebrated in March. The Women’s Fellowship Event focuses on issues of concern to women and roles women play in their churches and families. The church provides limited assistance to individuals with financial need. The pastor and his wife are foster parents and help teenagers develop life skills to gain independence. This couple has adopted children ranging from infants to teenagers.
Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide Inc.
120 Wyck Street
Richmond , VA