The History of New Christian Memorial Church

It all started Friday, July 23, 1954, at 8 o’clock in the evening at 1312 Edmondson Avenue. The call to worship was sounded by Pastor Thomas Godwin. He had in attendance with him his wife Sister Grace, Mrs. M.L. Pierce, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Goodman, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Godwin, Brother and Sister Stanley Hughston, Sister Ona Hutchinson, Mrs. Dorothy Fordbey, Little Miss Ernestine Hunter and Miss Joyce Veasey. Brothers Stanley Hughston and Wilbur Godwin served as his Deacons.

Under the leadership of Pastor Godwin, the church grew in membership from the original eleven to a capacity crowd, which forced him to move the following year to 1044 West Franklin Street. It was here that Reverends Paul Edwards and Stanley Hughston were ordained. The meetings that were held there left a lasting impression on all who were recipients.

Through the entire years of his ministry, Pastor Godwin served faithfully and well. Even in the darkest hours, he and a few of the faithful believed that God would provide and a better day would surely come. He made many personal sacrifices, including refusing to accept a salary or offering as long as there was a need for extra finances in any area of the church, and purchasing the lot on which the new church was erected.

Because Pastor Godwin’s main interest was to build a church where his members could worship God proudly, many hours of hard labor were put into the clearing of the area at 3525 Caton Avenue of trees and stumps in order to prepare for construction of our present church building. Serving on the board to assist the pastor in this project was: Chairman, Deacon Yustus Laney, Assistant Chairman, Deacon Clarence Winslow; and members of the Deacon Board.

Our new church building was completed for occupancy in 1961. With a rapidly growing congregation of Christian worshippers, the opportunity to move forward in this another milestone was indeed challenging. Therefore, in the spirit of the founder we had resolved that New Christian Memorial would remain a moving force. Ministers ordained who served as our associate ministers were: Reverend James Reynolds and Elder Harmon Murphy.

Pastor Thomas Godwin was called from labor to reward on September 4, 1967. His work was completed but not forgotten. He was a wonderful leader, full of love and thought, although he is gone, we will remember what he taught. The sacrifices made that year and the next two years can never be measured.

Sister Grace Godwin, wife of our former pastor continued to do the work of the ministry. Her challenges were major, but were met with much success through the direction of the Holy Spirit. During these two years, preaching was done by Elder Cornelius Jones and Elder Walter Bronson, Jr. They fed the congregation for those two years with the word of God with power and clarity.

Pastor Walter Bronson joined the church in September of 1959 and served in the capacity of Sunday School teacher and superintendent, deacon, and choir member. On April 26, 1968 he preached his initial sermon; and was ordained in September of 1969. In December of 1969 Pastor Walter Bronson, Jr. was elected as pastor and on January 25, 1970 Pastor Bronson became the second Shepherd of our flock.  Rev. Dr. Walter Bronson, Jr. died on Monday, October 8, 2018 at the age of 83.