The Pentecostal Church of Christ (PCC) is the oldest Pentecostal congregation in Cleveland, OH, and the “Mother Church” of apostolic assemblies throughout Cuyahoga County. Dr. Chelcie France, who organized the church in his mother’s home, founded this congregation in 1935. This small band of saints soon outgrew the home and moved to a building located at 7717 Central.
In 1939, the church moved to 7408 Woodland, and then on November 21, 1944, it was incorporated by the State of Ohio. In 1946, the church purchased land at the northwest corner of 89th Street and Beckman Avenue, and began construction of the new building. The basement, where the church was located, was completed in 1948; however, Elder France was called home from labor to reward.
The church continued under the pastorate of Evangelist Claudia Ray, a faithful woman of God. In 1951, Pastor Ray yielded the pastorate to Bishop Earle S. Fisher, who then merged his congregation with PCC. In 1955, the location of PCC was sold, and one year later, PCC moved to a Jewish synagogue located at 887 Parkwood Drive. Four years later, Bishop Fisher resigned, but the Lord confirmed His Word each Sunday morning through Spirit-filled ministers from across the Country.
In 1961, Elder Charles Watkins, pastor of Lincoln Park Church of Christ, in San Antonio, TX, assumed the role of Senior Pastor of PCC. He and his family relocated to Cleveland in 1962. During his leadership, the Parkwood location was renovated, a 28-unit tri-level apartment complex constructed, and a radio broadcast titled “Sound of Pentecost” aired for over 20 years. In 1978, a new phase of development began, which included plans for a new edifice to be built on the lot next to the Parkwood location. However, inflation coupled with opposition caused this task to become increasingly difficult. Yet, God directed Bishop Watkins to the corner of East 105th and Chester Avenue in October 1980.
Bishop Watkins’ contribution to the solidarity of family life, his assistance in the ethical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth of the Lord’s people everywhere, and his encouragement to many toward spiritual and educational goals will never be forgotten. The Lord called him home from labor on October 17, 1988.
On May 14, 1989, the Lord blessed the ministry with the election of Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II as its Senior Pastor. During his tenure, his impact in each facet of the ministry has been both spiritually and historically significant to the Pentecostal Holiness community throughout the world.
The Visionary continues to preach the Word of God, and the Lord has added thousands of souls to the Church, such as should be saved. The leadership of Bishop Ellis has resulted in positive change in the Lord’s Church and throughout the Civic community.
In 1990, while under his leadership, two great churches merged – Pentecostal Church of Christ and Christian Tabernacle, pastored by the late Reverend Bill Sawyer. A few years later, the Pastoral vision continued, and in 1994, the Church purchased the Park Chester office building (renamed the J.D. Ellis Plaza).
Bishop Ellis continued the work of the Lord until he experienced an extended period of sickness, resulting in his retirement in February 2020. He then appointed his wife, Dr. Sabrina J. Ellis, at the Senior Pastor to continue his work. Bishop Ellis passed from labor to reward on September 19, 2020, and Dr. Ellis served for two years throughout the COVID-19 pandemic until her resignation from the pastorate. Her tenure was officially completed on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022.
After much prayer and consideration of who should become the next Senior Pastor, it was determined by unanimous decision of the board of directors to elect Bishop Derrick McNeil Hanna. On June 11, 2022. Bishop Hanna was officially installed as the seventh senior pastor in succession to the historical Pentecostal Church of Christ, after having served two months as interim pastor.
Initially, it was the late, Bishop Ellis, who asked Bishop Hanna, his son-in-law, to come to Ohio and succeed him after a predetermined amount of time. Bishop Ellis assured PCC members and Bishop Hanna that “This was the leading of the Lord.” At this request, Bishop Hanna completed his pastorate of ten years in Philadelphia and agreed to move with his wife, Elder Lillian Hanna, three children and other families who were also residents of the Pennsylvania area to Cleveland, and patiently awaited the opportunity to obey the call of God.
As the senior pastor, Bishop Hanna’s focus is to reformulate PCC as the inter-generational congregation that can minister the unfailing love of Jesus Christ. His vision is to minister grace, growth and gospel to all generations by providing a safe space to grow in Biblical truths.
With his sincerity, loyalty, and pure heart for God and others, the work that the Lord started in Dr. France will continue with Bishop Hanna.