Reverend Clarence Henry Cobbs was born on February 29, 1908. In 1928, while riding the bus, at 35th and Grand Boulevard (now known as Martin Luther King Drive), the Spirit spoke to Reverend Cobbs, and told him to organize a church and call it the First Church of Deliverance.
After organizing the Church and finding a church building, Reverend Cobbs, his co-worker, Reverend Mattie B. Thornton and his followers marched into their small new worship space on May 8, 1929. In August of the same year, the Church became affiliated with our mother church, the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ of Kansas City, Missouri.
The choir of First Church of Deliverance was organized on October 29, 1929.
The Church's first Broadcast was aired in 1934 at 6:00 a.m. over radio station WSBC. First Church of Deliverance was the second church of color to air a Radio Broadcast.
The entire city of Chicago raved about the early morning broadcast.
The first was a Pentecostal service featuring Mother Lucy Smith.
In 1953, First Church of Deliverance became the first church of color to broadcast televised religious services, which were carried live by Channel 7 for twelve consecutive weeks.
First Church of Deliverance was the first Spiritual Church organized in the City of Chicago – this was during the 1930s. At that time, Spiritual was considered a rash divergence from the accepted forms of worship.
Reverend Cobbs also established the wearing of white clothing during worship services. This practice was not indicative of purity, as some may have assumed; it developed instead as a result of the Great Depression, when some church members were financially unable to have large wardrobes. During that time, virtually everyone had something made of cotton, the most common and reasonably priced fabric of the day. Most of these garments were white – thus, the wearing of white clothing to church services.
Reverend Mattie B. Thornton,
Assistant Pastor to Reverend Cobbs
On June 28, 1979, God called home our beloved Founder and Preacher, Reverend Clarence H. Cobbs.
On January 9, 1981, Reverend Eugene D. Gray was installed as Pastor of First Church of Deliverance. He served faithfully until his death on August 3, 1994.
Following the death of Reverend Gray, Reverend Harold D. Porter was installed as Pastor of First Church of Deliverance on November 20, 1994. Tragically, Reverend Porter was only pastor for a brief time until his death on December 12, 1994.
On March 17, 1996, the membership selected Reverend Otto T. Houston as Pastor.
Our Pastor, Bishop Otto T. Houston, is a man of great vision. The Lord has given him his greatest vision yet, to build a new Main Sanctuary that will serve future generations and continue the great legacy that Preacher began and Bishop Houston has expanded. To God be the glory. For more information on the pastors of First Church of Deliverance, click Pastor.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18