1 Mother is an oﬃcial title granted to older churchwomen who have exhibited
years of consistent spiritual and orga nizational leadership. According to
C. Eric Lincoln and Lawrence H. Mamiya, “the phenomenon of the ‘church
mother’ has no parallel in white churches; it is derived from the kinship net-
work found within black churches and black communities.” Black Church, 275.
Cheryl Townsend Gilkes gives a detailed analy sis of the role of church mothers
across Black denominations, particularly Black Holiness, Pentecostal, and
Apostolic churches. “If It Wasn’t,” 103–4. For a denominationally speciﬁc study,
see Butler, Women, 43–48.
2 I use the King James Version for all scriptural references, as do the members of
the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.
3 Cox, Fire from Heaven; Murphy, Working the Spirit; Hurston, Sanctiﬁed Church;
Paris, Black Pentecostalism; and Raboteau, Slave Religion.
4 The church’s theological roots go back to John Nelson Darby’s late nineteenth-
century Bible conferences and to Keswick movement revivalists Dwight L.
Moody and Cyrus I. Scoﬁeld. James I. Clark Jr. argues that the Scoﬁeld
Reference Bible signiﬁcantly shaped African American Apostolic Pentecostal
theology. Published in 1909, “it was the only Bible for my tradition and most,
if not all, African- American Apostolic Pentecostalists from 1919 to the last
de cade of the 1950s.” “Christian Religious Education,” 85. During the late twen-
tieth century, alternate versions, most often the Thompson Chain Reference
Bible, came into use.
5 See also 1 Thess. 4:16–17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and
the dead in Christ shall rise ﬁrst: Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so
shall we ever be with the Lord.”
6 “The absolute deity of Jesus” is one of the church’s core princi ples of faith and is
printed in weekly church bulletins. The princi ples are detailed in chapter 1. For
doctrinal distinctions between Charismatics, Classical and Neo- Pentecostals,