Bro. Luther Johnson pioneered a little storefront church (also on Schoolcraft) during the mid-1930’s. In July, 1936, Frances Reed repented, was baptized in Jesus Name, (in the Rouge River,) and was filled with the Holy Ghost. During the winter of 1936-37, the church began revival services. Sis. Frances Reed reminisced about those days. The little building was heated with a pot-bellied stove. “Wherever you sat,” she recalled, “the side closest to the stove was most likely to get warm, while the other side would freeze. The seats farthest out never got very warm and those closest to the stove got uncomfortably so.” Regardless of the circumstances, lively services were the norm. Somehow a fervent love for the Lord and the joy of sins forgiven gave them a zeal and zest in worship that banished all thoughts of discomfort.
The following summer they began a tent revival. “My, what a time we had!” Sis. Reed said. “The glory of the Lord fell on us like rain. How we rejoiced and worshiped and sang praises to God!” Her face glowed as she described those days. It was during that summer that all three of her children repented and were baptized in Jesus’ Name.
In the early 40’s the church moved to the present location and worshiped in what is now the youth/fellowship hall. After Bro. Johnson’s death in the early-50’s, his son-in-law, Bro. Glen Robinson assumed the pastorate. Subsequent pastors included Bro. Allen Bouren and Bro. Weldon Worthley.
In 1959, Bro. Paul Leaman became the pastor and blessed the work of God in Detroit. The church grew in maturity and in numbers. Then in the 70’s, God called Bro. Leaman and his family to the mission field. As they prepared to leave for Central America, God was dealing with Bro. Charles R. Grisham‘s heart about coming to Detroit. In the fall of 1975. Bro. & Sis. Grisham assumed the pastorate and have continued in faithful, anointed, godly ministry to the New Life Apostolic Church family and Detroit’s west side for 32 years. We celebrated their 30th pastoral anniversary in December 2005 and rejoiced in the Lord with Brothers and Sisters in Christ from around the nation.
In July of 2007, Bro. & Sis. Grisham retired from their active pastorate, but continue to serve as our Bishop. Bro. Ken Foreman now pastors the church and is leading us forward to victory. We rejoice in the way God has kept His hand on us through the years and feel confident that He has great things in store for our city, our community, for New Life Apostolic Church, and for each of us individually. It’s a joy to be a part of God’s Kingdom!
Note: Portions of this synopsis of New Life’s “history” came from the story of Frances Reed’s life – “Franya” – as told to Marjorie Kinnee. Additional information provided by Elizabeth Jeffrey, Jill Friedman, and Don & Carol Warfield.