History of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ Inc. 1925-1942
Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ was conceived in the minds of Rev. William Frank Taylor and Rev. Leviticus Lee Boswell. There were no members to begin with, only curious seekers looking for miracles to be performed. They had heard that there were two men who could – talk to the dead- and heal the sick. They came-they saw- they heard and they left believing.
Rev. Taylor had been ordained previously by a white minister, Mrs. Glen Cora Stevens. Her father Rev. Stevens who assisted her also had charge of a church, which housed the congregation of Bishop James, another spiritual minister in town. Through the spirit Rev. Taylor visualized a great awakening and with the help of Rev. Boswell they set about organizing the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ.
Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ was born into existence in the home of Mother Cora M. Murray on September 22, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, which was located at 1903 East 9th Street. With nine (9) members the church had to crawl and in doing so, they came in contact with many hardships to keep it nourished. With the increase in membership of twenty-four, Rev. Taylor, held a baptism in the big Eleven Lake in Kansas City, Kansas in the presence of a large Crowd of witnesses. The first spiritual way of life had to be established so that future offspring’s could have the right to bring forth true spiritual teachings.
It wasn’t long before little Metropolitan began to grow, walk, and expand, until it had outgrown it’s birthplace and larger quarters had to be secured. Rev. Taylor and Rev. Boswell had meetings in their apartment while looking for a larger place. They inquired about the Florence Mills Apartments, which were also too small. Finally the Knights and Daughters of Tabor Hall located at 1834 East 9th Street was rented and the church by then was strong enough to be assembled.
Now being a full-fledged church, they began organizing the various boards such as Trustees – Choir – Pastor’s Aid- Stewardess – Deaconess -Missionaries – Community Board (wearing the stripped uniform). Good Samaritans and Altar Girls, at that time there were no Altar Boys.
Rev. Taylor and Rev. Boswell worked hard and faithfully together to perfect the various boards. Rev. Boswell headed the music department having had much training and experience in that field, he had studied music in Birmingham, Alabama under Miss Julia Mae Kennedy not knowing that they would be co-workers in the field later in life. The choir at that time was rather small so they invited members from other boards to fill in. However it wasn’t long before the choir became the drawing card and again the leaders were faced with the task of finding a larger place to worship. It was then the Holy Spirit gave them the plans for this wonderful place.
The leaders had to withstand many hardships and difficult times because all eyes were upon them and this new church. They had many well-established denominations to fight against in order to let the world know that Jesus Is The Light Of The World.
There were many times when they didn’t know where their bread was coming from, or where they were going to get rock and mortar to build the church. But God opened up the way for them to purchase a building located at 1231 Garfield and through the spirit Rev. Taylor was given the plans for this grand edifice.
Rev. Taylor sought out Mr. Joseph Woods a builder who was known for taking a little and making your dream come true. A church and parsonage materialized as Mr. Woods dug out the area beneath the large old house and constructed a church, by using rock for the building materials. Many volunteers would come by after working all day to help lay stone.
The building was soon ready for occupancy although the ceiling was very low because it only came up to the top of the stone. So for the sake of Rev. Taylor’s health he was advised to raise the ceiling higher, eighteen feet which is how it still remains for you to see today.
The sanctuary’s design was taken from the original temple in Jerusalem. As you enter the outer court you will find the statue of the Blessed Mother Mary, she is there as a reminder of her purity and as the mother of Jesus.
You should stop pray and meditate in order to get your mind ready to enter the temple that houses the Holy of Holies.
As you pass through the inner courts (which would be called today the Narthex) you will find the words printed over the doors that lead into the sanctuary “Pray As You Enter” which is still a reminder today to humble yourself as you come before the Lord and the altar.
The altar is the table on which Christ instituted the Last Supper. We kneel and pray and ask God to forgive us for our many wrong doings. The altar is the most sacred part of the temple.
There are two red seven-day lights in front of the altar and they are called sanctuary lights that represent the presence of God.
There is a stand as you enter the Sanctuary with lights, they are called votive lights. This is where you pray, make your request to God and deposit an offering (.25 cents), which goes to help the work of the church.
The three spot lights in the ceiling in front of the skylight represent the Godhead or the Trinity, Father, Son and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.
The skylight has four (4) red glass panes in each comer; they represent the gospel four squares; preaching- teaching – healing and prophecy.
There are twelve yellow panes in the skylight, three on each of the four sides representing the twelve gates to the city and also the twelve apostles.
The two large blue panes in the middle of the skylight represent an open bible.
The lights around the walls, which resemble the seven candlesticks, are the fourteen (14) Station’s of the Cross that are usually found in the Catholic Church.
The seven candlesticks on the altar represent the seven churches in Asia found in Revelations 1:4.
The cherubim’s on the altar represent the angles that guarded the tomb and the back altar is known as the King Solomon Altar, which is the sacrificial altar; Holy Communion is usually served from this altar on Good Friday.
The railing around the altar before the fire on December 14, 1962 was made from pure ebony wood representing the wood of the cross. The wood was donated by the husband of Mrs. Julia Payne one of the very first members of the MSCC.
The wood came from a Catholic Church that was being torn down and some of that wood was used to create the back altar known as King Solomon Altar.
We were taught in Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ, Kansas City, MO; that cleanliness is next to Godliness, and that a clean body would house clean thoughts and entertain clean spirits and this would create a happy church.
In turn a full bath was installed in the main choir room so that anyone that needed to cleanse themselves could use it.
Next we were taught to – love one another – we are never to forget that we are our brother’s keeper. We were reminded not to forget to visit the sick and shut-ins and to contribute to the needy, because it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Before being given a robe we were reminded, to be robed with righteousness. Next with our uniforms, Rev. Taylor having an eye for order and beauty saw fit to place the various boards in uniforms. He cautioned us to always wear our uniforms with dignity, pride and respect.
Every garment before wearing was placed on the altar and consecrated for the service of the Lord, every board member was anointed and consecrated at the altar and then robed. The reason for the various head coverings was that all women had to have their heads covered in the temple. Our uniforms were recognized everywhere, people would acknowledge and say,”those people belong to Metropolitan”.
We were taught over and over that within these consecrated walls – no talking – only to praise the Lord.
We never make change in the sanctuary, because Christ drove the money changers out of the temple.
We were also taught to never cross the altar especially when someone was praying, kneeling, or standing before it and to always make the sign of the cross and bow as you cross.
Rev. William F. Taylor was ordained a second time by Bishop R. D. Griffin, who at one time sat in the cabinet with one of the greatest religious leader of Africa- Haille Selasse.
Rev. William Frank Taylor was ordained Bishop of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ on Sunday morning, September 23, 1934 at 5:00 a.m. at the request of Bishop Taylor. He said that only those who were sincerely interested would get up that early, but if the service were held at the usual hour, the congregation would be filled with curiosity seekers.
Every member had to bring his or her bible to service as we were taught the Word of God. There were object lessons, black board demonstrations and just common sense teachings.
Now! Many that had learned two or three bible verses and could recite them from memory thought, as did the Prodigal Son, that they had all they needed to go forth and convince the world that they had it.
Bishop Taylor and Elder Boswell tried to talk and reason and show them the time had not fully come and that they had only learned the first lesson. But like most teenagers, they felt that the parents just didn’t trust them and wanted to hold them back. They felt that they already knew more than they did, so a number of little Metropolitan were born.
Some grew for a season and were snuffed out, while others struggled on mixing everything else with it from other denominations. Some still exist, but have never grown.
The great test came to see if Metropolitan could stand. Our leaders were ridiculed and thrown into jail and accused of everything, but thanks be to God the courts could find no fault in them and they were released.
The war came and many of those in the congregation had to go and serve our country, after the war ended came the depression. But we were taught to give as God had prospered us and through faith we would be blessed three fold.
Metropolitan maintained a – soup line – in the Belleview Hotel for the hungry, also the kitchen in the parsonage was opened to passerby’s.
Metropolitan visited the sick and the shut-ins in the hospitals and homes also comforting those who were incarcerated. Bishop Taylor said in his church we see no race, creed or color and our greeting to the world is “Jesus is the light of the World.” Bishop Taylor always greeted everyone with a broad smile and the words “are you happy”?
By now Metropolitan is now on the radio opening with the theme “I’m singing in my soul.” At the broadcast time, radios were tuned to the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ all over the city eager to hear the choir and the Word of God. The broadcast was first aired over radio station KITE on August 22, 1935, Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m.
Elder Boswell had done a marvelous job developing the choir; the choir was second to none anywhere. Elder Boswell could be heard over the air waves singing “Father I stretch my hands to Thee no other help I know”. Many people were healed through their faith by listening to the broadcast. Bishop Taylor would make an appeal to all that were sick in body and mind to place a glass of water on their radios.
At the close of the prayer, he would tell those listening to “drink the water believing that what so ever they asked of the Lord- that was right- they would receive”.
By now Metropolitan had many offspring’s that had remained faithful at their post of duty and had learned their lessons. They were now ready to graduate to a higher calling. This inspired Bishop Taylor to develop a family reunion which is known as – The Congress of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc.
The congress was organized to meet once a year at the anniversary of Metropolitan so that the parents could see their progress.
Some stayed with the teachings, others added on or took from what they wanted to. But the Mother Church stayed with spiritual truth and people came from far and near to get a glimpse of that Holy Place. There is no other place in the United States like it.
Bishop William. F. Taylor left Kansas City, MO, on January 5,1942 for Los Angeles, California, under the advise of his physician Dr. J. 0. Henley for a complete rest assisted by Mother Pearl C. Woods. Mother Woods took it upon herself to move Bishop Taylor and some of his personal belongings to her home in Los Angles, California to make him feel more comfortable.
While in Los Angeles, Bishop Taylor became seriously ill. Realizing that he would not get well, he desired to return back to Kansas City to spend his last days. Rev. Clarence H. Cobbs and Rev. Murphy tried to bring Bishop Taylor home, but the Bishop was too ill to be moved.
On Tuesday, March 17,1942, at the age of 55 years, Bishop William F. Taylor the founder of the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ (the Mother Church) and the founder of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc., went to be with the Lord in the home of Rev. Mother Pearl C. Woods, 1324 East Vernon in Los Angeles, California; Tuesday morning at 1:15 a.m., 3:15 a.m. Kansas City, MO. Time.
The death of Bishop William Frank Taylor brings to a close the career of one of the most colorful figures in the history of Black America in Kansas City, MO.
Now people all over the world are saying, “Jesus is the light of the world and in him there is no darkness”.
The Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ is an offspring of the Metropolitan Community Church.
The name – Metropolitan- was selected because Rev. Taylor and Rev. Boswell were members of the Metropolitan Community Church located in Chicago, IL that was located on 41st & Dr. Martin Luther King Drive (Founded by Rev. Cook and Rev. Evans) before breaking off from the Methodist Church before moving to Kansas City, MO.
Written By: Bishop Otto T. Houston, III
April 24, 2003
1925 Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc. organized by Reverend William Frank Taylor and others (9 churches).
1926 1st Congress Held in Kansas City, Missouri.
1927 2nd Congress Held in Kansas City, Missouri.
1928 3rd Congress Held in Kansas City, Missouri.
1929 4th Congress Held in Kansas City, Missouri.
1930 5th Congress Held in Kansas City, Missouri.
1931 6th Congress Held in Kansas City, Missouri.
1934 – Reverend Taylor ordained Bishop, September 23, 1934 11 Churches in Diocese.
1942 Merger of Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc. (9 Churches) with United Metropolitan Spiritual Churches in Kansas City, Missouri (2O Churches); the Moses Spiritual Temple of Christ, in Gary Indiana founded by the late Rev. Mother Lawson Eison Knots; the St. Ann Spiritual Temple Association, in Chicago, Illinois founded by Rev. J. P. McDonald and Rev. A. Hutchins; the First Church of Deliverance in Chicago, Illinois founder Rev. C. H. Cobbs; the Association of Christian Spiritualist of the United States of America, in Memphis, TN founded by Bishop A. H. Williams; the Wisdom Way Spiritual Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK founder W. F. Fields; the Community Spiritual Church of Christ, in Omaha, NE, founded by Rev. Roy Johnson; the Triangular Church of Truth, in Los Angeles, CA, founded by Rev. Mother Pearl Woods, the Cosmopolitan Spiritual Church of Truth, in St. Louis, MO, founded by Rev. Mother 0. Poole; and the Divine Spiritual Church of the Southwest, in New Orleans, LA, founded by T. B. Watson and Bishop E. J. Johnson and twenty others, merge with the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ in August 1942 and formed the “United Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ Congress, with the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ in Kansas City, MO as the “Mother Church”. Bishop T. B, Watson, founder and Pastor of United Metropolitan Spiritual Church, New Orleans. Louisiana elected Senior Presiding Bishop.Reverend Clarence H. Cobbs, Founder and Pastor of First Church of Deliverance, Chicago. Ill, appointed National President of Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, Inc. for life by Bishop William F. Taylor.
Bishop Taylor made his transition March 17, 1942 at the home of Reverend Mother Pearl C. Wood (Memoria in Aeterna) founder and Pastor of Triangular Church of Truth, Los Angeles, California (now known as Triangular United Church of Religious Science, under the Pastorage of Reverend Doctor Phillip C. Pitts).
1964 – Reverend Cobbs traveled to Mont ego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies. and met Reverend James Vos who united his church into the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ. Inc. making Reverend Cobbs its first International President of MSCC, Inc.
1972 Reverend Doctor L Logan Kearse visited Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. While there he brought the Faith Healing Temple of Jesus Christ, founder and Pastored by Reverend Mother Wilhelmina Dululy. into MSCC, Inc.
1973- Reverend Doctor I. Logan Kearse, founder and Pastor of Cornerstone church of Christ, Baltimore, Maryland, appointed first chairman of Foreign Missions of MSCC, Inc. Reverend William H. Foeman, currently Pastor of Mount Calvary Community Church, Omaha, Nebraska, appointed first Missionary to Africa from MSCC, Inc., went to Monrovia, Liberia. West Africa.
1975 – Reverend Clarence H. Cobbs,first International President of MSCC, Inc. visited Liberia and Ghana.
1979 – The life term ended June 28,1979 (36 years after his appointment) with the transition of Reverend Clarence H. Cobbs, Reverend Lucretia L. Smith. founder and Pastor, Lily of the Valley Spiritual Church Chicago, IlL served as interim first woman International President of MSSC, Inc. for a period of one year (June 28, 1979 July 25,1980).
1980 -The Board of Directors, MSCC, Inc. elected Reverend Doctor I Logan Kearse second International President of MSCC, Inc.
1991 – Reverend Doctor I.Logan Kearse made his transition March 25, 1991. Reverend Doctor Arthur L. Posey, Founder and Pastor of Temple of St. Jude Spiritual church, Detroit, Michigan was elected the third International President of MSCC,Inc.
1992 – Convention renovation, change, and modernization under Doctor Posey. All conventions and meetings will be held in hotel and convention centers.
1993. Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Chirst, Inc. reunited in fellowship with United Metropolitan Spiritual Churches, Bishop Aubrey J. Watson. Senior Presiding Bishop, during July 12-16, 1993 sessions of Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ Inc. in New Orleans, LA. Innovation of “Plant A Seed” by Reverend Doctor Posey. for the purpose of the Building Fund of MSCC,Inc.
1995 Rev. Arthur L. Posey consecrated Archbishop of MSCC, Inc.
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. Foreman, Omaha, Nebraska, Rev. Joseph Kennedy, Jr., Newark, New Jersey, and Bishop Robert Smith, Oak Park, Illinois, were elevated to the office of Bishops.
1997 The vision was brought to light by the purchasing of our First International Headquarters which presently stands at 3126 Benton Boulevard, Kansas City, MO.
Bishop James D. Tindall Sr. pastor of the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ was chosen by the College of Bishops of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, at its Annual Session, on February 10, 2009, in Los Angeles, CA, to the position of Senior Presiding Prelate.
For the second time in history, the head of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ is the pastor of the church which bears the name of the denomination. Not since the death of Bishop Frank Taylor in 1942, has the head of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ pastored the mother church of the denomination. The second head of the Convention was Rev. Clarence H. Cobbs, First Church of Deliverance, Chicago IL, the third, Dr. I. Logan Kearse Cornerstone Church of Christ Baltimore MD; and the fourth, Archbishop A. Leonard Posey Temple of St. Jude Church of Christ, Detroit MI.
In keeping with the tradition set by Bishop Frank Taylor, the founder of both the Church and the denomination, on Friday, July 24, 2009, Bishop Tindall, Sr., will be consecrated as the Senior Presiding Prelate of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ now 84 years old.
“What an honor for Kansas City to have the Mother Church’s pastor consecrated as the head of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ, in the church still located where Bishop Taylor and the early congregation built their church home,” a spokesperson said.
Along with Bishop Tindall, Bishop William E. Hamilton, Star of Bethlehem Spiritual Temple, Baltimore, MD, will be consecrated Coadjutor. Bishop Otto T. Houston, First Church of Deliverance, Chicago, IL, will be consecrated First Vice Coadjutor. Bishop James A. Johnson, Victory Church Institute for Living Brooklyn, New York, will be consecrated Second Vice Coadjutor.
Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ is an International denomination with churches in West Africa, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast and throughout the Continental United States. It is also, the largest spiritual organization in the United States.
This promises to be a once in a lifetime experience in the 84 year milestone of this historic convention and church.
Friday, July 24, 2009, Bishop James D. Tindall, Sr., was consecrated as the Senior Presiding Prelate of the Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ. Along with Bishop Tindall, Bishop William E. Hamilton, Star of Bethlehem Spiritual Temple, Baltimore, MD, was consecrated Coadjutor. Bishop Otto T. Houston, First Church of Deliverance, Chicago, IL, was consecrated First Vice Coadjutor.and Bishop James A. Johnson, Victory Church Institute for Living Brooklyn, New York, was consecrated Second Vice Coadjutor.