Bridegroom Apostolic Church’s History
Established in 1959
In 1958, when it was finally settled that the highway would come through the area in which Pastor Hicks lived, it would completely take the house that she lived in and all its property. The house belonged to her deceased sister and brother. The highway only paid a little over $6,000. Therefore, each person only received a little over $1,000 each. It took the city a long time to pay off. She didn’t have any money, so she did what she knew how to do, she began to pray. She cried and prayed, but it didn’t seem like God would give her an answer. She stated that she didn’t feel “a touch of his power”. When she stood up after praying, God spoke and said, “Go to Pickettville.” She didn’t know of such a place. She called her good friend, Sister Julia Kilgore, and asked her if she had heard of such a place. Sister Kilgore, who lived with Sister Thomas at the time, had a sister that lived in Pickettville. She then called Sister Thomas and explained things to her, and Sister Thomas decided to take her out there to see what they could find. Pastor Hicks was driving an old Dodge in those days. They went to Pickettville and met a man plowing. They asked him if he knew of any land for sale. He told them to drive up the highway about two miles, and they would run into a colored settlement. They made their first turn off US1 onto Redpoll Ave. She inquired about a large lot on the street, but a woman told her that the property was heirs’ property, so she directed her down by the railroad and around the corner to four lots with two small houses on the property, because she heard the land was for sale. When she got there, the Lord did not speak, but she was pleased with what she had seen. She climbed through the window, looked around, pumped some water out the well and pulled down the for sale sign and carried it home, even though she was broke.
It hadn’t been long since she had asked her loan company, City Loan, for a loan. She prayed, and she went back to them for another loan. She was told that the binder would be $100.00, so she asked the loan manager for $100.00. He told her that he was not supposed to loan her any more money until she paid some of the other money back. The Lord touched his heart and he said, “But I am going to do it.” She left there with $100.00, and she headed to Broad Street to the real estate office. She explained to the agent that she found a place, and she wanted to get it, but she wouldn’t have a down payment until the highway paid off. She then asked him about the price of the place, and he told her that it was $3,000.00, as is, nothing more and nothing less. She asked him how much was the down payment, and he told her $500.00. “How much is the binder?” “The binder is $100.00.” She asked him if she could pay $50.00, so she could buy items that she so desperately needed. In one sentence, he said, “I am not supposed to take a $50.00 binder, but I am going to take it.”
The highway took an extremely long time to pay off, so she went to her lawyer, Waldo Stockton. The people she worked for recommended him to her, and he began to fight on her behalf with the city highway department. He succeeded in getting her portion of the money. She and Mr. Stockton went to the real estate office to meet with Mr. Brown about the property, now that she had the $500.00 down payment. A family was there at the same time inquiring about the same property, only to hear the word, “SOLD.” The payments were $35.00 per month and her lawyer, Mr. Stockton, wouldn’t rest until she had the title insurance papers in her hand, because he knew he couldn’t get her money back if something arose. He told Mr. Brown, the agent, that he did not want her to wait until it was completely paid off, but he wanted her to have the papers in hand as she was making the payments. Mr. Brown released the title insurance papers to Lawyer Stockton. After securing the home, she began repairing and fixing needed items. Then comes the call to build a little church on the north side of the house.
She didn’t have any money, as she was doing Day’s Work during this time. So, she told her Pastor to do it; she agreed, but never did it, so the Lord spoke to her again. She didn’t say anything to anyone, but she still knew that she didn’t have any money. She started with $.75, purchasing second hand stones for $.15 apiece. She purchased five stones and began laying them on top of one another. After laying the foundation, she purchased fence posts for cills. They cost $.50 apiece during that time. When she got it all laid out, she floored it in using second hand boards that cost $5.00 a piece from lumberyard. She built the walls and had a few strong men to stand them up for her. She had several children from the neighborhood to put the top on the building that was shelled in at this time. It was 12X20 in size. Sister Mozell Simpson and Sister Mary Murray were the first to be saved in this building. At that time, a lot of children were on the altar seeking for the Holy Ghost.
After a space of time, God spoke again, and said, “Build a church.” “I cleaned off the lot where the church is now. I built a long narrow building. I anchored the cills down with five-gallon buckets filled with cement.” God continued to speak, simply saying, “Build a church.” She continued to work and purchase second hand stones and sheet rock. This is the building Brother and Sister Bryant were saved in and married in during that time. They were in the church many years, even during the flower picking times, according to Pastor Hicks. When Bishop Grimes was yet alive, she asked for the council. Votes were favorable, so they got the council, but then came Hurricane Dora. It pulled one third of the roof off and threw it in the field. A neighbor came over and asked her about the upcoming meeting in October. She sent her son and got some other boys to put the top back on the church for Pastor Hicks and the Saints. She kept the sun out, but not the rain. She was glad when the council ended, because of the rain, but she stated that they had a good time. Her next step was to weatherboard the outside and put a top on it. God continued to say, “Build a church.” I said, “I am building the church.” Somehow, someway, God gave her a vision of a heavy stone building, so her mind rested on that. It came to her mind that there would always be bad weather and what she was building would not stand. She said to God, “You know better than that; I cannot build a church like that, because I don’t have any money, and I don’t have any strength.” Immediately, her mind left the wooden building, and she had a vision of a big stone church. The wooden building was in place, so she began laying blocks around the shell of the church. As she was laying the blocks, she widen the building and made it a little longer. When they raised a little money, they began purchasing more and more blocks. She only put five to ten blocks in the old Dodge, because the old car wasn’t much. She said what they called church money was so little that she and Sister Simpson had to chip in money to purchase $1.25 to purchase bags of cement. The foundation under the auditorium was two feet deep, filled with old iron bed railings, water pipes, children’s swings, bricks, toilets, basins and anything else she could put her hands on from the city dumps. She and Brother Bryant began laying blocks, which neither of them knew how to lay, so they ended up working a whole evening tying to lay four blocks. She said, “God gave Brother Bryant the know-how, and he was soon on his way.” The lord directed her to a place where she found blocks for $.10 apiece, and he then sent her two of Sister Simpson’s son-in-laws, for they were brick masons. “The first layer was the most important,” she said, “and you had to have experience,” which she and Brother Bryant did not have. God gave her a lot, a very lot of free laborers through those two brick masons. Pastor Hicks had many sayings, but one of her main sayings was, “Young preachers, don’t itch for nothing, if you don’t want to scratch for it,” and “Don’t let nobody tell you that the way is easy, unless you got money.”
From the beginning, the Lord has led us until now. And we continue to trust God and follow on to know the Lord. There are other Victory Reports, Healings and Deliverances, but the time will not allow me to tell it all. I will leave you with this, if it had not been for the Lord who was on our side, Bridegroom, none of this would be possible.