Morning Star United Holy Church: Celebrating 50 years, 1943-1993
Morning Star United Holy Church History
Morning Star United Holy Church: Celebrating 50 years, 1943-1993 Taken from the commemorative booklet, courtesy Lynda Herring Gales
What is now known as Morning Star United Holy Church, Massillon, Ohio evolved from a humble beginning and the sacrifice of a few dedicated people. In July of 1943, Rev. J.R. Matthews, Rev. Enoch Sherrell, Sister Lena Sherrell and a few others met in the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Herring Sr. for worship service. This particular service marked the initial stage of the establishment of the Morning Star Church.
Subsequently service for several months was held at the home of Brother and Sister Allen Dodson, later this group of dedicated and courageous Saints embarked on the idea of securing a specific place for the purpose of establishing a Mission for a place of worship. This idea matured when the mission opened at 347 First Street S.W. The first service was at 7:30 p.m. Elder Effie McDonald of Los Angeles, California delivered the message at this service, Sister Ruby Mays led the opening song, along with those people previously mentioned, Sister Mattie Poole and Sister Ethel Wesley (who are deceased), Mrs. Parrlee of Graham, Alabama and Sister Elizabeth Davis of this city, Elder Effie McDonald played an important role as did the others in helping to establish the Mission.
When Elder McDonald moved out of the area, Elder J.R, Matthews and Rev. Enoch Sherrell of Dover, Ohio served as Co-Pastors and served in this capacity until Elder John Walker of New Castle, Pa. was called to pastor the Mission for three years. If was under his Pastorage that the Mission was named Morning Star United Holy Church.
Elder William Cousar from Columbus, Ohio succeeded Elder Walker in 1948 and served for fifteen years (1963). In 1948, under the leadership of Elder Cousar, the construction of the basement began at the present site. This property was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Willie Myricks of the city. For twelve years, service was held in the basement.
Following Rev. Cousar's resignation, Rev. Cleavon Beasley was appointed Pastor and served for three years. Rev. Beasley's goal in addition to soul-winning was to build a House for God. During his three years of service, through hard work, fasting and praying, the main sanctuary was built.
The Trustee's Brother Willie Kelly, Brother Rufus Williams, Brother Thomas Russell, Brother Henry Miller and Rev. Oscar Gardin played a big part toward building the church. Rev. Beasley was able to secure help of friends and fellow Saints who labored with him until the completion of the church. Bishop H. O. Latta conducted the dedication service and his choir provided the music. After Rev. Beasley resigned, Rev. Clarence Parks was appointed as Pastor and served from 1965 until July 1979.
Rev. Parks was often called Father Parks because of his kindness. The young people loved him. There was nothing you couldn't talk to Rev. Parks about. He was well-known all over Massillon. Years after his retirement, young people would come and ask about him. The life that he lived spoke for him.
Elder John Jones was appointed Pastor in 1979. Under his leadership we have moved forward. Many things have been added to the church. As you can see, the sanctuary has been renovated and we now have a paved parking lot. Elder Jones and his wife Cassandra and son Eric are assets to the church. During the term of service of each pastor, souls have been saved and added to the membership. While still a Mission and since attaining full church status, Morning Star has served as a saving station by the side of the road for mankind.
The scope of this church is not only local, but sons and daughters saved in this church have gone out and helped to establish other churches furthering the cause of Christ in various parts of the country. Those who conducted revivals at Morning Star are: Sister Ada McCoye Matthews, Sister Ella Withrone, Elder Effie McDonald, Rev. Luther Blackwell, Jr., Rev. William Cooley, Rev. Lafayette Carthon, Rev. Mary Wheat, Rev. Virginia Gee, Elder Samuel Silas, Rev. Elizabeth Miller, Evangelist Ruby Mays, Sister Jean Jackson, Rev. Mary Williams, Missionary Annie Brown, Rev. Raymond Johnson of Lineria, Africa, and Elder Clarence Grant.
Many of the older Saints have gone on to be with the Lord. Among them are Brother and Sister Clinton Mazes, Sister Ethel Wesely, Sister Mildred Humphries, Sister Annie Sneed, Brother and Sister Clyde Gordon, Sister Emma Rogers, Evangelist Ruby Mays and Brother Thomas Russell, Sister Ora Wren, Sister Martha Lewis, Brother and Sister Allen Dodson, Rev. Enoch Sherrell, Elder JR. Matthews, Missionary Annie Brown, and Sister Mary Kate Robinson. Through the years, God has blessed the church to acquire a membership of various age groups, including a promising group of young people.
Among the chartered members who are still blessed to be worshiping with us is Mother Mary Russell (Senior Mother of the Church) and Sister Sarah Herring (Junior Mother of the Church).
This history of Morning Star Church is a saga, for it indeed tells of the heroic struggle of a people whose work is interactive of faith in action.