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Hubert J. Spencer

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Hubert Joseph Spencer, a preacher of the early 20th century Pentecostal movement, was born in the late 1800s. His first baptismal candidate was his wife, Mother Helen Spencer. Elder (later, Bishop) Spencer was a presbyter in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), and was a partner in evangelism with Bishop Robert C. Lawson, founder of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith (COOLJC). Spencer would later succeed Lawson as the head of COOLJC. At least one church in that organization, Spencer Memorial COOLJC, is named in his honor.

Spencer's history

Bishop Spencer's contribution to the Pentecostal movement began quite early in the 20th century, a church that was founded 10 years before the inception of COOLJC. In 1909 Evangelist Lula Roberts of Columbus, Ohio started a church in her home. In the 1910s, she met Elder Robert Lawson, one of Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood's ministers, and placed him in as pastor of the small group of humble saints, as she was leaving Columbus to start other churches. Later, Elder Lawson met Elder Karl Smith and left him in charge of the group of saints whom he had by then named, Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith, while he, with other ministers (including then Elder Spencer), evangelized the Midwest with the Oneness Pentecostal message.

Elder Lawson returned four years later to his church to find that many of the congregation had fallen in love with Elder Smith. Elder Smith would not relinguish the work. However, the building was in Elder Lawson's name. Elder Smith and the congregation had paid the payments but they hadn't kept any receipts. Elder Lawson had named the church but he hadn't recorded the name downtown at the records department. After heated discussions, Elder Smith got to keep the name and Elder Lawson got to keep the building.

Elder Lawson named the congregation that stayed with him Rehoboth Church. (Unfortunately, some saints were used to this exchange of pastors, this not having been the first time this had happened -- nor the last.) Elder Lawson was soon moved by the Lord to leave Columbus. He left Elder Clifton Fulton over the Rehoboth Church family. Elder Hubert Joseph Spencer from West Virginia, was in pastoring in Cleveland, Ohio, and wasn't content there. He and Elder Fulton spoke over the phone and exchanged pulpits. Elder Fulton found out several years later that Elder Lawson pulled out of the PAW and started his own organization and the church that he pastored in Cleveland, Ohio, was to be under that organization. Elder Fulton went back to Columbus, Ohio, to the Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith and served under Elder Karl Smith until his death.

Elder Hubert Joseph Spencer stayed at Rehoboth Church, and had pastored that church for 14 years when a man came to his front door and said he had been sent by Elder Lawson to take the house and the church. However in that 14 year span of time Elder Spencer had bought his own home. The church was still in Elder Lawson's name and again he had never paid a payment on the building. However the building was given to him because of no receipts. Elder H. J. Spencer went downtown and bought a building. He founded and chartered a new church work under the name, "Rehoboth Temple Church of Christ." He told the saints and had it written that the church would never ever again be ran by a man and that the congregation would own the work. It was deeded to the congregation and its successors. Elder Spencer announced who ever wanted to go with him could, he'd be marching to the new church on Easter Sunday and whoever wanted to stay could. Everybody was their on that Sunday morning and they all marched. In her late 90s Mother Spencer, Elder Spencer's wife, could still recall her husband sitting in their front room and weeping. She fed him and they sent him on his way.

When Elder Spencer showed up at the Refuge Temple Church in New York at the Convention Elder Lawson came running out to meet him. He told the story to his family for years that Elder Lawson said, "Spencer I thought I'd lost you"! Elder Spencer said, "I will never leave you, you're my mentor." They never broke words. Elder Karl Smith of the PAW, Elder Smallwood Williams (founder of the Bibleway Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Elder Clifton Fulton and Elder Hubert Joseph Spencer, all of whom would become important preacher-leaders in their respective organizations, remained friends, sharing church anniversaries and special programs throughout the years.

Elder Spencer's Brother Sam was Bishop Lawson's chauffeur and Bishop Lawson moved him to New York specifically for that task, and Helen Spencer was the convention soloist and Bishop Lawson would call on her to do the sermonic solo.

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