History of the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of the faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. James 5:14-15
The two gentlemen met in Chicago, Illinois at the Metropolitan Community Church. United by common beliefs the two began ministering together. In 1924, Taylor and Boswell traveled to Kansas City, Missouri and began ministering at various churches throughout the city. A powerful team, Frank the minister and soloist, and Leviticus the talented accompanist, their brief trip soon turned into a six week revival in an old store front building at 529 Lydia. Led by the Spirit of God, Taylor and Boswell began telling men and women about the prosperous lives they could live through spirituality. It was preached that if one would yield their life to God, he would bless their business, their health and their families.
In 1924 they traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, and stayed at the home of Mrs. Cora Murray, 1903 E. 9th St., and it was here where they began having church services in her home. They also worked together appearing on programs at several churches. Frank, the soloist, and Leviticus his accompanist.
At the home of Mrs. Cora Murray, they began holding prayer meetings on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Later, purchased an old store front building, 9th and Lydia Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. This neighborhood was thickly populated with white people, and it was said that the white people offered the church several times the sum of their first payment if they would move from the neighborhood. They held a six weeks revival there.
They later returned their services to the home of Mrs. Murray. Twenty-four persons became members whom Rev. Taylor had baptized in the Big Eleven Lake in Kansas City, Kansas. A large crowd witnessed the baptizing. The foundation of Metropolitan became established in this first step of a “dream come true.” The membership outgrew the house, so now Rev. Taylor and Rev. Boswell began to look for a larger place. They found a large house located at 1231 Garfield Ave., (now the parsonage). The house offered great possibilities, soon they made arrangements to purchase the property. And on September 22, 1925, the church then became the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ, founded by Rev. Taylor and Rev. Boswell.
Services were held on the first floor. The membership continued to grow. The children had to sit on the stairwell in order to have seats for the adults crowding into the services. Now thoughts turned to enlarging the house, and building onto the church, extending the property to the east of the parsonage. Rev. Taylor was the architect and Mr. George Woods, the contractor. The church entrance on East 13th Street was dedicated March 6, 1927.
The first congress were held during the anniversary celebration week in September 1929, and it was in these meetings the first ordination services were held, Mother Mitchell, St. Louis, Missouri, being the first to become ordained by Rev. Taylor. Rev. Clarence H. Cobbs and Rev. Mattye Thorton the next.
Rev. Taylor was elevated to the office of “Bishop”, on Sunday, September 23, 1934. This service came as the climax of a week-long meeting of the Ninth Annual Spiritual Congress. At this time there were eleven (11) churches in the Diocese from various parts of the country. More than 1700 people witnessed this ceremony which began promptly at 5:00 A.M., at the request of the Bishop-to-be. He had said that only persons who were sincerely interested would get up that early, but if the service were held at the usual hour, the audience would be full of curiosity seekers.
An answer to the persons who had criticize the organization, claiming it had no authority, was given at the beginning of the service by the Rev. Clarence H. Cobbs of Chicago, who announced in a voice strained with emotion “many have asked, who is going to lay hands upon this man, who will ordain him as Bishop? I’ll tell you, the Holy Ghost will ordain him,” then he read and re-read the following passage from Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which he hath purchased with His own blood.
The rostrum of the church was ornamentally furnished with tapestries, drapes and flowers dimly lighted by tall flickering candles arranged in a semi-circle about the altar rail. The only light in the rear outlined a cross. At the conclusion of a song by the choir “Lord, I Am Through,” a spotlight in the ceiling flooded the rostrum. Heavy drapes were at the windows, where outside, it was yet dark. An air of mystery and expectance pervaded the room. Suddenly all eyes turned toward the vestibule passageway leading into the church entrance. Framed in the doorway stood the Rev. Taylor, resplendent in his ordination robe of royal purple, embellished by a cape of gold. The effect of royalty was heightened by the crown-shaped mitre he wore with splices of gold around the edges. The top was lined with purple.
The long train of the robe was held proudly by little Miss Charlene LaBell Boswell then six years old, the daughter of the music director Rev. L. L. Boswell: in his right hand the candidate for the Bishop carried a heart shaped candelabrum with twelve lighted candles, representing the twelve apostles. A massive gold crucifix hung from his neck, his face was a study in solemn seriousness.
He intoned as he strode with dignity toward the altar, the following supplication: “Lord Have Mercy Upon Me and Incline My Heart to Keep this Law.” Unashamed shouts and screams of joy were heard throughout the congregation. Rev. Taylor was given a cross by Rev. Cobbs at the entrance to the altar. “You will have many crosses to bear as Bishop of the Church.” the ordaining minister said. ” I will accept them if in that way I will receive a crown of righteousness in the end,” replied Rev. Taylor as he walked slowly to the second station on the rostrum. Shouts of “Amen” were heard in approval.
The Rev. Mother Mitchell of St. Louis, in a white silk robe and headdress, presented a sword to the candidate, warning him not to fight with the weapon as it only represented prayer, faith, and righteousness. “Fight with these things instead,” she admonished him with the Cross on one shoulder and the Sword on the other. He advanced slowly to the third station.
There he was met by his life-long friend the Rev. L. L. Boswell, who wore a robe of lavender, with a maroon mitre. A brilliant crucifix of rubies, emeralds and rhinestones were woven into the rich cloth. Everyone taking part in the service wore spotless white shoes.
Rev. Boswell turned his head heavenward and placed his hand on the head of the man he was helping to ordain as Bishop. Briefly he asked divine aid for the man who would shortly be the first Bishop of the church. Unable to control his emotions, Rev. Taylor wept freely and the crowd wept with him.
Rev. Taylor quickly gained his composure and climbed the steps to the last station, the Bishop’s seat, which was draped with purple and gold velvet. As he stood before the Rev. Mrs. Glen Cora Stevens (White) spiritual leader of the church, the first rays of dawn streaked through the windows. She told Rev. Taylor what was expected of a Bishop and asked God’s blessings upon his high office, as she ordained him as the church’s first supreme officer.
His first official act after preaching a short sermon of acceptance was to baptize eight candidates.
Soloists at the ordination were Ruth Holmes, Velma Davis, Viola Franklin, Beatrice Pellom, Helen Calhoun, and Dr. J. O. Henley. Mrs. Virginia Henley Hardin presided at the organ.
The church, founded by Bishop Taylor and Rev. L. L. Boswell is noted for its unusual order, its soul-stirring music and singing by the nationally known choir under the leadership of Professor Boswell. The choir has been on the radio since August 22, 1935. Its chief aim was to console the shut-in’s, prison bound, and those who would rather tune in than come out to service. It was on the air every Sunday night a 8:30 pm over station KITE. Before he became ill Bishop Taylor had charge of the service which was broadcast directly from his church. The broadcast had regular listeners among both races throughout the southwest.
When Bishop Taylor was in Wheatly Provident Hospital, April of 1936, his room was flooded with flowers and gifts from his many followers. He was injured in an automobile accident on highway 40 near Booneville, Missouri.
The outstanding feature of the services from the beginning to end is not marred by begging for money or advertising of any nature. Bishop Taylor said God does not give anything of beauty and vision and then beg for its production and continuance.
One of the highlights of the broadcast is the healing service. “Realizing God is a healer according to one’s faith, he is healed,” was the philosophy of the Bishop.
1925 May 14thFirst place of worship, 539 Lydia, Kansas City, MO
Church was founded September 22nd, at 1231 Garfield Ave., Kansas City, Missouri.
1926 – Church was dedicated November 25th
1934 – Rev. William F. Taylor was ordained Bishop of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc., Over 1700 people was present at this Candlelight Service.
1935 – Unveiling of the front altar. First radio broadcast, August 22nd.
1942 – Bishop Taylor became ill, and made his transitory change in Los Angeles, CA, at the home of Mother Pearl Woods;
Rev. Clarence H. (Preacher) Cobbs becomes National President of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc.,
1952 – Rev. L.L. Boswell made his transitory change. Rev. William Hurse became the Pastor of the “Mother Church”. Rev. Henri Lawson was appointed his associate.
1957 – Rev. William Hurse made his transitory change, and Rev. Henri Lawson was appointed Pastor of the “Mother Church”.
1958 – The Metropolitan Spiritual Church Choir made their first album “Great Day” and it became an immediate Best-Seller.
1962 – The Metropolitan Spiritual Church edifice burned. The interior was gutted by flames.Only the exterior walls remained.
1964 – We re-entered our building. Great rejoicing was the order of the day.
1971 – Rev. Henri Lawson made his transitory change, Rev. Calvin E. Phillips became Pastor of the “Mother Church.
1976 – Rev. Calvin E. Phillips resigns, Rev. James D. Tindall, Sr., became Pastor of the “Mother Church.
1976-Septrmber Rev. Mother Sarah Jane Patton was elevated to the office as Assistant Pastor.1979 – Our entire movement was saddened by the loss of Beloved “Preacher” (Rev.Clarence H. Cobbs) on June 28th.
1980 – Dr. I. Logan Kearse, Founder-Pastor of the Cornerstone Church of Christ, Baltimore, Maryland, became the International President of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc.
1988 January 14- Rev. Mother Sarah Jane Patton, Assistant Pastor, Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ made her transitory change.
1991 June 25th- Dr. I. Logan Kearse, International President of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc., made his transitory change.
– At the 66th Annual Congress of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc., held in Detroit, Michigan, on July 16, 1991 at 7:30 P.M., a consecration service was held for Dr. Arthur Leonard Posey, to the Office of International President.
1995 – Rev. Arthur L. Posey, consecrated as Archbishop of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc., Consecration service was held at the Mother Church.
1996 – On Friday November 8th, at the First Church of Deliverance, Chicago, Illinois, Rev.Dr. James D. Tindall Sr, Kansas City, Missouri, Rev. Charles N. Slayton, Kansas City, Missouri, Dr. William Hamilton, Baltimore, Maryland, Rev. William Ozier,Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rev. William H. Foeman, Omaha, Nebraska, Rev. Joseph Kennedy, Jr., Newark, New Jersey, and Bishop Robert Smith, Oak Park, Illinois, were elevated to the office of Bishops.
2000- Tuesday May 30, Mrs. Charlene LaBelle Boswell Jordan made her transitory change. Charlene was the only child born to the union of the Rev. Leviticus L. Boswell (co-founder of the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ) and Mrs. Dora Bell Boswell. She was an accomplished singer and received her early musical training from her father. She sang in the choir at the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ and in the choir. of the First Church of Deliverance in Chicago, IL, where she joined and was baptized under the pastorate of her surrogate father, the Rev. Clarence H. “Preacher” Cobbs. She alternated in residing in Chicago and Kansas City,eventually residing permanently in Kansas City when she made her transitory change. Services were held at the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ 1231 Garfield, Kansas City MO, Tuesday,June 6, 2000, 7:00 pm., with Archbishop Arthur L. Posey, Officiating. She was laid to rest, on top of her father, in the Highland Cemetery, Kansas City MO.
2001 September 2nd.- Rev. Calvin E. Phillips made his transitory change. Services were held at the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ 1231 Garfield, Kansas City MO, Sunday, September 9, 2001, 6:00 pm., with Rev. Ivy A. Ganaway, Officiating. He was laid to rest, on Monday September 10, 2001, 11:00 a.m., Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Kansas City, MO.
2002 March 29th:-First ordination, since 1934 (non-congress), was held in the main sanctuary of the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ, during Good Friday Service. First time papers were, Joseph Campbell, David Collins, and Robert Johnson. Ordain to the ministry were, Minister Virgil Brown, Minister Stella Davis, Minister Ethel Holden, Bro. Dennis Moore, Minister Mary Payne, Minister Ralph Taylor, Minister Monca Thrasher. and Minister Monta Tindall
2006 May 25th:-Mother Geraldine Hayes, church oldest member, 101 years old, made her tranistory change.
2008 September 21st:- Rev. Dr. Virgil Brown was elevated to the office as Associate Pastor, During the 83rd Church Anniversary
2009 Bishop James D. Tindall, Sr. elevated as the International Presiding Prelate of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc.