Russell Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
1927 - Present
The late Reverend John Vance Clerkley was the founding Pastor of Russel Temple C.M.E. Church along with the families of Halley, Ratford, and Turner in the year 1927. However, the name of the church was called Pettiford Chapel CME Church and they were located at 84 Green Street. During this time, it was hard and somewhat of a long struggle for the faithful few, but they were determined to have a C.M.E. Church in Bridgeport. As the church continued to grow, it moved to Pembroke Street where Rev. Clerkley pastored until his death. The conference then sent Reverend S. H. Brown to pastor. In
the interim, the congregation was held Untied by the Reverend D. Clapp and the Reverend Joseph Smith, Mrs. Mary Cox, Mrs. Nellie Booker, Mrs Millie
Reed, Mrs. Leila Montgomery, Mrs. Pauline Clerkley, Mr. Nollie Hailey, Mrs. Ella Harper, General Raiford and a group of children banded together looking for a
The church later moved to Hallett Street where Reverend William Barnes served as pastor. The church then moved to Winter Street. When the church moved to Beach Street, the name changed to Mount Calvary C.M.E. Church with Reverend Joseph H. Lightsey serving as pastor. During the church’s history, several other pastors served among whom included Rev. William Barnes, Rev. David Ralston, and Rev. F. Tonsil. The church then moved to Orange Street with the Reverend McEwen as pastor. Rev. D.S. Jackson was sent to pastor the church after it moved to Sheppard’s Hall on Fifth Street. Rev. Clyde Davis then followed. The church received its present name, Russell Temple, when it was renamed for the late Bishop Russell.
Rev. Jackson returned for a second time, followed by Rev. Myers who pastored for one year. It was Rev. Jackson, through many trials and tribulations, brought us to our present location 555 Connecticut Avenue, in September 1955. Under the pastorate of Rev. Clyde Davis, who returned again as well our
mortgage was burned in 1969. Rev. Bruce Tharrington was the next pastor appointed, and remained with us for thirteen years. At the close of this term, Rev Clyde Davisreturned to Russell Temple for a third time and remained until his retirement in 1987.At that time, the Rev. Ricky D. Helton came to us and under his guidance and leadership, we have seen how God can and does move. He set the church in order to not only operate spiritually, but to operate with effective church administration. Our church suffered a major loss due to the fire, yet God spoke and the walls of Russell were rebuilt. Stained glass windows along with our 1st van showed that we are on the move.
In the Summer of 1994 Rev. Kevin J Agee came to us with a vision of taking the church from inside these walls into the community. He effectively
helped place Russull on the map as one of the major church’s in the city of Bridgeport that has a heart for its community. God blessed us to pay off all property debts and new roof was placed on our church. In the summer of 2000, Russell Temple, was sent the Rev. John Dillard, II and with Gods help we
added a parking lot, other ministries were added, and continued a strong presence in the community through is understanding and eloquence in speech.
In the summer of 2006, Russel was blessed again and received Rev. Nicholas T. O’Neal. A son of West End Tabernacle C.M.E.Church and an adopted son of Russell Temple C.M.E and who would have guessed that he would be serving as our pastor.Since he has come there has seen a tremendous Holy Ghost awakening in our church with the presence of God being felt through young and older members.
In 2010, Reverend William D. McCoullough came to us with visionary leadership. The first three years were maintnance and mission. We began to wrap prayer around the schools and education forums. He brought his twenty years of construction experience to our church where he renovated the parsonage and our rental property. Reverend McCoulough installed new airconditioners at the church and began a health and fitness ministry in Febuary 2013. Reverend McCoullough refinanced the church loan with People's Bank and the church has seen tremendous growth both spiritually and numerically. As it reads in 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Under the leadership of Rev. William D. McCoullough God is surely doing great things.
The Pastorates of Russel Temple C.M.E. Church
Clerkley - McCullough
1. Reverend John Vance Clerkley 1927 -1931
2.Reverend B.H. Brown 1931- 1932
3. Reverend W.M. Barnes 1931 -1934
4. Reverend J.H. Lightsey 1934 - 1936
5. Reverend Mcwen 1936 - 1939
6. Reverend R. W. Roston 1939 - 1941
7. Reverend H.W. Douglas 1941 - 1942
8. Reverend J.H. Tonsel 1942 - 1943
9. Reverend D.S. Jackson 1943 - 1944
10. Reverend Clyde Davis 1944 - 1953
11 Reverend D.S Jackson 1953 - 1959
12. Reverend W.O Meyers 1959 - 1960
13. Reverend Cylde Davis 1960 - 1968
14. Reverend D.S. Jackson 1968 - 1972
15. Reverend Bruce W. Tharrington 1972 - 1985
16. Reverend Clyde Jackson 1985 - 1987
17. Reverend Dr. Ricky D. Helton 1987 - 1994
18. Reverend Kevin J Agee 1994 - 2000
19. Reverend John Dillard, III 2000 - 2006
20. Reverend Nicholas T. O’Neal 2006 - 2010
21. Reverend William A. McCullough 2010 - Present