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Oldest World Missions Congregation Turns 100 Today

July 24, 2013–One hundred years ago today Missionary Carl M. Padgett established the Church of God on Green Turtle Cay, a small island in the Bahamas. Now the oldest continuing Church of God outside the United States, the local church was set in order on July 24, 1913. According to Bishop Johnny T. Lowe, the congregation will continue its centennial celebration tonight with a culminating service featuring Dr. Jerry J. Jeter.

This photos is believed to have been taken at the time that National Overseer Carl M. Padgett, standing center with Bible, set in order the Church of God on Green Turtle Cay in 1913. The Reverend John T. Lowe, standing behind and to the left of Padgett, became the first pastor.

The first ministry of the Church of God outside the United States occurred when Bahamian Edmond S. Barr and his American-born wife Rebecca arrived in Nassau in November 1909. Robert M. and Ida Evans, along with Carl Padgett, joined them the following January. Robert Evans and Edmond Barr reportedly visited Green Turtle Cay in 1911 resulting in the conversion of Mira Roberts and the establishment of a mission on the Abaco island. Later appointed as national overseer, Carl M. Padgett returned to the tiny island in 1913 and set the church in order on July 24 with eight members.

The congregation has adopted the name Miracle Church of God as a testimony to the miraculous way in which its current facility was purchased, furnished, and expanded. The Bahamian government had placed a freeze on borrowing money but, after much prayer, lifted the freeze when property became available to the church in 1991. Members and friends responded generously to the ministry vision so that the church was furnished and the mortgage was paid in less than five years. Bishop Johnny T. Lowe has served as pastor for the past 19 years during which the congregation has grown significantly.

Bishop Jeter is the Lead Pastor of RiverLife Church in Bradenton, Florida, where he has served since 2000. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pentecostal Theological Seminary and is a member of their Board of Directors. He also serves on the Florida State Council and as Regional Bishop for the Church of God in Florida with offices in Tampa. Along with Dr. Jeter, the congregation welcomes his wife Stephanie and their daughter, Abigail.

Today’s service continues the centennial celebration that began on Pentecost Sunday. Earlier speakers have included former World Missions Director Douglas LeRoy; National Administrative Bishop John N. Humes; North Metropolitan (Florida) Pastor Degrando Franks Jr.; World Missions Coordinator of Education and Publications Bill George; North Cleveland Church of God Pastor Mitch Maloney; World Missions Director Tim Hill; Church of God Historian David G. Roebuck; Administrative Bishop Earl Harrison; and General Overseer Mark L. Williams.

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