SC Upstate History
SC Upstate Diocese History
Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.
The establishment of the SC Upstate Diocese was initiated by the subdivision of the State of South Carolina in 1995. During the August 1995 International Holy Convocation, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, the decision was made to divide the State of South Carolina into two dioceses. Bishop Thomas J. Richardson, who had done a wonderful job serving forty years as State Bishop, retired. The upper part of the state was named the SC Upstate Diocese, and the lower part was named the Palmetto Diocese. Each diocese was assigned two districts (District 1 and District 2). Two of South Carolina’s native sons were elevated to the Bishopric, and placed as interim Diocesan Bishops; and were consecrated during the 1996 Holy Convocation in Columbia, South Carolina. Bishop Herbert Edwards, Sr. was appointed Bishop of the SC Upstate Diocese; and Bishop Walter Lee Jackson was appointed Bishop of the Palmetto Diocese. Both men had made major contributions to South Carolina. Bishop Jackson was eventually elected to the Apostleship and assigned as Apostle of South Carolina, Region 8.
Bishop Herbert Edwards (1995-2013)
The Lord blessed Bishop Edwards with the vision and foresight to build a wonderful diocese. His companion, Mother Carrie Edwards, became First Lady of the Diocese (and was chosen to be SC Upstate Missionary President); assignments they accepted with much love and graciousness. From the onset, Bishop Edwards realized the wonderful opportunity for new ministries and new talents to emerge.
Those chosen to be a part of the Executive Staff embraced the vision, and maintained their commitment to this leadership: Elder Harold Young, Executive Secretary; Elder David A. Smith, Correspondence Secretary and Ministerial Alliance President; Elder Renard Green, Treasurer; Elder Robert Garrett, Evangelist; District Elder Herbert C. Heyward, President of Home Mission, and Elder James Mickens, Vice President of the Ministerial Alliance. The Upstate began with two districts: District I, led by District Elder Robert Brown; and District II, led by District Elder Harold Young; and 15 churches. Additional department and staff assignments were also formed.
The first Quarterly Holy Convocation was held in March 1996, hosted by Pastor David A. Smith and Beulah Refuge Tabernacle, Orangeburg, South Carolina, held at the Fine Arts Center on Claflin College Campus. The second Holy Convocation was held in July 1996 at the Headquarters Church, Refuge Temple, Greenville, South Carolina; Bishop Herbert Edwards, Pastor. The November 1996 Holy Convocation, was also hosted by Beulah.
In his first official written statement, Bishop Edwards writes, “What a joy and honor it is to serve as Bishop of the Upstate Diocese of this great state of South Carolina. It has been eleven (11) months since I was appointed Bishop over the Upstate Diocese, and what a joy it is working with men and women of God that were chosen to work with me in leadership positions.” In his words, “We’ve got a good thing going, don’t mess it up.”
Since that time, this Diocese has made, and continues to make, its mark in history; and with that, has witnessed elevations of its people throughout the diocese; instituting i.e. new churches, new ministries, new positions.
In 2007, during the 88th Holy Year of Renewal Convocation in Columbia, South Carolina, Bishop Edwards was elected to the Apostle Board; and assigned to Region XI. With that, a need for new leadership was inevitable. The Lord was preparing such a person, who had faithfully served his Diocesan in every way.
The Transition Preparation
In 2001, District Three was formulated; and Elder David A. Smith was asked to serve as District Elder. He worked diligently to build the district and promote growth and new leaders. Also in 2001, he became pastor of his second church. In early 2009, Chief Apostle William Lee Bonner asked him to temporarily serve as an Assistant Pastor of Refuge Temple, Columbia, South Carolina. Then, at the July 2009 International Holy Convocation in Columbia, South Carolina, District Elder David A. Smith was elected to the Bishopric. In 2011 he was appointed Assistant Diocesan Bishop; slated to become the successor upon the resignation of his Diocesan.
Bishop David Alfred Smith (2013 - )
At the 2013, 94th International Holy Convocation in Detroit, Michigan, Bishop David A. Smith was appointed the SC Upstate Diocesan. He had faithfully served this Diocese for many years; and now the Lord has elevated him to a new level. His faithful companion, Shepherd Mother Betty J. Smith serves as First Lady of the Diocese. This leadership team consists of 5 Districts, 23 churches, and selected executive members.
Bishop Smith’s opening remarks to the Executive Officers, District Elders, and Pastors during a special September 2013 meeting included, “It is not about me, my churches or the district I have resided over; it is about all of us working together.” These words of the new diocesan, theme and mission statement, exemplifies his desire to move forward in unity.
The Theme: “It's not just about me, it's not just about you | “IT'S ALL ABOUT ALL OF US.” | “For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:14 KJV)
The Mission: “Work Together” | “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6 KJV) | “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25 KJV)
The Diocesan – In His Words:
If you want something significant, together; then you'll have to work significantly, together.
It never ceases to amaze me as to how people can look at what other people have, and are just mesmerized; but will not do anything to get the same, or at least, something similar. That's what it's all about, “US.”
All of the churches that are a part of the SC Upstate of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, have this belief in common;
That the Holy Bible is the Word of God. (John 1:1)
That God is our Creator, (Genesis 1:1)
His Son is Jesus Christ, born of a virgin Mary, (Matthew 1:23)(2 Corinthians 1:19)( John 3:16).
When Jesus departed he sent the Holy Spirit for all believers to give us power and to teach us (John 14:26). We believe the Father, The Son (the Word) and the Holy Ghost bear record in heaven and these three are one (1 John 5:7).
We believe that salvation is for all that will believe. To make our salvation complete we must be born of the water, (Acts 2:38) and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).
Last but not least, we must continue in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship to fulfill our walk with God (Acts 2:42).