Our History

 

        The Northeastern District Assembly Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, comprises the areas reaching from the District of Columbia to upstate New York and Connecticut.  There are twenty-six (26) churches with a total membership of approximately 3,000.  The NEDA has a rich history which started with a few determined men.  Some these men came from families that had not been slaves.

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a vast number of blacks began to migrate northward; many Disciples of Christ, were counted in the number.  There were no “Disciple Churches” as they were called in the Northeastern area, stretching from Washington, DC to Main.  A few ministers moved north with a need to continue the Church of Christ.  One of the ministers was Elder Charles Gordon of Bath, NC.  He made his home in Philadelphia, PA.  He gathered a few Disciples together and as a result the St. Peter Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ was organized.  Elder Gordon outstanding statement was, “You can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar.”  His philosophy was that people would work better if they were not driven or spoken to harshly.

In 1928, another energetic Elder emerged.  This man was Elder Oscar Samuel Lucas; his desire was to pattern this assembly after the assemblies of eastern NC.  To accomplish this, he contacted Elder William C. Gillams and Elder Henry T. Williams, Deacon James Borum, and Sister Ruth (Ebron) Gibbs for a conference in Philadelphia.  They all met with Elder Gordon, Pastor of St. Peter Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, St. Mary Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ and some other small missions.  In 1930, the union of these churches was organized into an assembly.   Elder Gordon was elected “Chief” and Elder Lucas as his assistant.  The seven councilmen were: Elder Lucas, (Chairman), Elder E. G. Gidson, Henry T. Williams, William C. Gillams, J. J. Gregory, William M. Johnson and Charles H. Gordon.  Thus, the Northeastern District Assembly came into existence.   

In 1932, the Assembly was incorporated with the name Northeastern District Assembly, Churches of Christ, Composed of Disciples.  For the Assembly’s meeting, a building was rented on Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY.  The collection during some of the sessions was no more than $5.00.  The “Chief” of the Assembly received a donation of $10.00 annually.

In 1951, the name of the Assembly was modified.   Composed of Disciples was replaced with Disciples of Christ; hence the name Northeastern District Assembly Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, came into being.  The three Subsidiaries that came into existence were the following:

1.       The Women’s Home Mission (later named Home Missionary Convention)

2.       The Sunday School Convention

3.       The Union (was already in existence before the Assembly)

Sister Ruth Gibbs was instrumental in the increase in the number of churches.

    In 1943, Chief Gordon’s health began to fail.  Bishop Gillams was called to be the “Acting Chief.”  After the death of Chief Gordon in 1944, Chief Gillams was elected to carry the torch.  In 1945, the General Assembly ruled that the title of Bishop would be used for all District Assembly Chiefs.

Bishop Gillams saw the need for the ministers and laymen to meet at a central point to learn more about the bible, become unified in doctrine, and to learn modern techniques in teaching and preaching; hence the Ministerial Conference came into existence.  To take care of the business of the Assembly, it was agreed to have an annual Mid Year Assembly Business Meeting.  The first meeting was held in April 1965 at the Shiloh Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, which was the Assembly’s Headquarters.

In 1955, Bishop Gillams was elected Bishop for life.  On February 17, 1972, Gillams died, and Bishop William M. Johnson guided the Assembly after his death.  He appointed Elder George W. Johnson as his assistant and then later Elder Harold N. Foy was appointed Second Vice Bishop.  Bishop William Johnson was a stern leader and at times had a “sharp tongue.”  His famous saying was, “It’s holiness or hell.”  When everything seemed to be falling in place, Bishop Johnson died in October 1973.

         In 1974, Bishop G. W. Johnson was elected Bishop; he became the fourth Bishop of the Assembly.  Bishop Johnson was a mild-mannered man who believed in taking his time before making a decision.  He did everything he could do to make the Assembly grow; he even purchased a building for our headquarters.  The Building Fund Chairman, Bishop Lander E. Brown started a Building Fund Program.  His efforts and the Assembly’s efforts came to fruition on Saturday, February 9, 1980, when a meeting was called at the St. Paul Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and the vote was taken to purchase the property.  The building was located at 88 Rockaway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (corner of McDougal Street).  The Assembly was moving towards its long-time dream – to have a headquarters. The headquarters building was becoming a burden and the plans for renovation were not materializing, so it was voted to forfeit the building.  This too was a sad period in the history of the NEDA; we gave up a dream of making that building our headquarters. 

Several of the churches weren’t happy with the leadership so they left and started another Assembly.  As a result,  the Assembly continued to grow.  The Disciples Herald was developed, committees were formed; Housing, Hospitality, Nutrition, Transportation, and the Fund-Raising Committee.  Over thirteen years Bishop G. W. Johnson carried the torch.

 

           In 1986, Bishop Harold N. Foy was elected as Bishop.  Bishop Foy was a no non-sense man.  He was an avid business person.  He believed in moving forward.

 

In 1994, Bishop Marvin Creech became the Bishop.  Bishop Creech was a soft-spoken, mild mannered man, one that was full of jokes.  Even with his easy temperament, he said what he meant and he meant what he said.  Under the leadership of Bishop Creech, the number of churches grew.  The Northeastern District Assembly now had thirty-four (34) churches.  Bishop Creech loved singing and he himself could sing.  During this period, the Marvin Creech Male Chorus was formed under the direction of Deacon Luther Brown.  Bishop Creech served as Bishop for twelve (12) years.  Bishop Creech felt his work as a Presiding Bishop was done, so when the election was held in September 2006, he did not run for re-election.  The election was held and Elder Leonard E. Brown and Elder Andrew Boomer, Jr., were elected as the Presiding Bishop and Vice Bishop of the Northeastern District Assembly Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ.

 

Some accomplishments that have been set in place under the leadership of Bishop Brown are:

1.       Set curriculum guidelines for ordination and relicensing of ministers,

2.       Restructured the Ministerial Conference,

3.       Promoted transparency and accountability of good stewardship for the Assembly and its subsidiaries,

4.       Formed the deacons’ and mothers’ board, and

5.       Initiated two (2) new churches – New Life Evangelistic Ministries, and Mt. Carmel Church, Togo Africa.

 

In 2010, elections were held and Bishop Andrew J. Boomer, Jr. became the Presiding Bishop of the Northeastern District Assembly.  Under his leadership, the Assembly continues to grow.  As of this writing, there are thirty (30) churches.  Soul Savings Station was initiated and accepted into the assembly.  Also, we had our first Men’s Conference and Foreign Mission Convention.  Bishop Boomer’s motto is “Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.”  We are looking forward to greater things that the Lord has in store for us.  To God be the Glory for all He has done and is about to do!

 

For more information on the General Assembly of the Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, INC.

Please click on the link below.

General Assembly Website:     http://www.cocdocintl.org/aboutus.html