A Church Built On a Strong Foundation With a Rich Legacy, and a Promising Future
It was in the year of 1917 when Elder J. C. Pratt and Elder Hensell started a work in Akron, Ohio for the Name of Jesus. There were only six people at first to worship in the group with them; Elder and Sister Johnson, Elder and Sister Lockhart and Brother and Sister Riley. They were very dedicated in this small place on East North Street. The Pastor Elder Pratt, decided to move to Indianapolis, Indiana so he put all of the furniture in storage. Elder Johnson, his wife, Lillie and the few members who were left, wanted to take up the work and keep the people together to worship and preach the gospel in Jesus Name. Elder Pratt said they could use the furniture that was in storage. So, in their home on Wooster Avenue they went into deep work of the ministry. People came from miles around to hear the word.
Soon the space in Elder Johnson’s home was too small to accommodate the great crowds that came night after night. They moved with the church to East Chestnut Street in a basement near Washington Street. People came from every section of the city seeking God and were wonderfully filled the Holy Ghost and baptized in Jesus Name.
The crowds continued to grow and they had to tear down walls to make more room. Elder Johnson, even though he suffered many persecutions, held on to the faith and through his ministry baptized more than 600 people.
The mission on Washington Street became too small and they found a site on Bellows Street with two houses on the property. The Lord gave Elder Johnson favor. Whole families were saved and people loved him for the life he lived and for the stand he took for the Name of Jesus. One of the greatest factors in the rapid growth of the church was the Sunday School.
The Church was incorporated in 1928 and in 1935 they decided to erect a new building on the site of the house which they occupied as a church. Elder Johnson died before the building was completed.
Various Pastors served the needs of the church throughout the years. The church suffered splits but continued to grow. It was the first church in Akron to proclaim the Apostolic message of water baptism in the Name of Jesus and baptism in the Holy Ghost. From the beginning it was a racially integrated church.
When Elder Johnson died, Elder Raymond Robinson came and helped finish the building. Through trying experiences others served as acting Pastors: Elder Hubbard, Elder Saddler and Elder Carter. Other Pastors were Elder Perry Reed, Elder Curtis Greer, Elder William L. Young and Elder Francis Smith.
Elder Francis Smith was installed as Pastor in 1951 after Elder W. L. Young accepted a charge in Los Angeles, California. Under Elder Smith’s administration many things were accomplished. He was elevated to Bishop. He served as Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
In 1992 Bishop became Pastor Emeritus and installed Elder Samuel L. Hampton Sr. as 9th Pastor of First Apostolic Faith Church. Pastor Hampton was Co-Pastor with Bishop Smith for five years.
Elder Samuel L. Hampton Sr. was appointed Suffragan Bishop of India in February 2003 . Suffragan Bishop Hampton Sr. was instrumental in leading the church into adding a $2.6 million multi-purpose building to the existing property. He retired October 2008.
Succeeding his father in the Pastoral Leadership of First Apostolic Faith Church is his son, Elder Samuel L. Hampton, II, on August 31, 2009. To God Be the Glory for the great things he hath done!