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Our church history

The New Community Church of God in Christ was founded in 1949 after Mother Clara Palmer, a seasoned missionary, went through the Sugar Hill section of Portsmouth, Virginia teaching the Word of God. Through her evangelistic endeavors, many souls were saved. Eventually, Mother Palmer requested that Bishop Love, then Prelate of Virginia, send a pastor to start a church in the Twin Pines (now Merrifields) section of Portsmouth, Virginia. Elder Junius L. Clifton, father of Elect Lady Thomas, was sent in response to Mother Palmer’s appeal and led the people to a church. Our first service was held in the Lodge Hall. The charter members were, Elder J. L Clifton, his wife, Sister Virginia Cypress Clifton, their children (Charletta, Jean, Susie, Esther, Charles, Robert and Tommy), Brother Norman Branch, Sister Ophelia Branch, Sister Carrie Smith, and Sister Hattie Bremby. Following a week of services, God saved Mother Irene Pearson, Sister Frances Elliot, Brother Nathan Thomas, and Brother Leslie Thomas–who is now Superintendent of the Central District (VA #1) and Pastor of Greater Emmanuel COGIC, Hampton, VA.

God added to our church daily and entire families joined New Community within the first year. God blessed us to build our first church in 1954 where we worshipped until fire destroyed our building in 1963. A new sanctuary was built in 1965 at 3801, now 3615, Tyre Neck Road under the leadership of our founding pastor, Elder J. L. Clifton.

In 1967, Elder Clifton relocated to Salisbury, Maryland. Our current pastor, Bishop Ted Thomas, Sr., was appointed to lead us. Under Elder Thomas’ leadership, God continued to bless us and our membership grew necessitating the construction of an additional wing to our facility.

Following the appointment of our pastor to the bishopric in 1984, and the designation of New Community COGIC as our Jurisdictional Headquarters, we added another wing to the sanctuary. Our Jurisdiction started growing immediately and a third wing had to be added to our facility. By 2002, our Jurisdiction of 18 churches became a Jurisdiction of 51 churches. The Jurisdiction had long outgrown the New Community sanctuary, and, as recourse, we held our Holy Convocations in one of the nearby public school auditoriums.

In 2002, God gave our Pastor and Jurisdictional Prelate a vision in which he told him to build a new Temple and Christian Center. This seed planted in our leader’s mind became the New Community Temple COGIC and Christian Center. We built the Christian Center first, tore down the original church facility, and finally built our new Temple.

God has blessed us, through our leader, to amass 7 new parcels of land for parking and for our Printing and Publishing facility. We are now able to hold any and all state meetings at our headquarters church. We thank God for a Pastor who is led by God and who strives to always find himself in the “perfect will of God.” He has led the remodeling and renovation of four other churches in our Jurisdiction. Bishop Thomas is respectfully known as a “builder” in Virginia church circles.

The congregation of New Community Temple and the rest of Virginia, Jurisdiction One love and respect Bishop Thomas for his achievements and the ability to deal with corporate executives, government officials, and other high officials and yet remember
the needs of the common people.

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