History of The Refuge Temple
Under the leadership of Pastor Derrick H. Smith, the Refuge Temple of Jesus Christ Apostolic, as a small store-front assembly on Church Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, was founded with three members
The membership increased and quickly outgrew the small store-front building. A new building located at 1607 Nostrand Avenue was purchased. The Lord added to the church daily such as to be saved, and through the efforts of Pastor and saints, the mortgage for this building was paid off in a short period of time.
The Refuge Temple (Bronx) was added as an outreach station and Elder Donovan Mitchell was installed as Pastor of the first church within the Refuge Temple Ministries.
The congregation outgrew the 1607 Nostrand Avenue location, and it was time again to find a larger place of worship. A suitable building at 679 Remsen Avenue was purchased and the saints relocated to what is now the headquarters for the Refuge Temple Ministries.
The church became fully incorporated under Article 10 of the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York, and the church’s governing board of trustees voted to make it a Certified Corporation.
The Refuge Temple Ministry established affiliation with the Churches of God in Christ Jesus Apostolic (COGICJA), headquartered in Baltimore Maryland. The Apostolic Worship Center, formerly Apostolic Refuge Temple, located in Bridgeport, CT, where Bishop-Elect, Harris Howell is Pastor, came under the fellowship of the Refuge Temple Ministries.
A new extension of the Refuge Temple began at the Genesis Housing Complex located at 475 Riverdale Avenue in East New York, where for over three years Elder Michael Sappleton worked ardently to build a Sunday school ministry. Emerging from this Sunday school ministry was the Refuge Temple Genesis, and on June 8th installed as the Pastor. The church grew to become a most welcome lighthouse to the Riverdale community. The assembly was later re-folded into the headquarters with the relocation of the Pastor and his family to the southern region of the country.
Bishop Derrick H. Smith launched the foreign mission in Myersville, St. Elizabeth Jamaica W.I.; the very parish that gave birth to him more than six decades ago. The church was known as Mt. Zion Refuge Temple.
After two years of hard work in building a sanctuary with the help of the Lord and great support from the congregants, the Refuge Temple Ministries (formally known as Mt. Zion) was dedicated in July 2000.
In September of 2001, The Refuge Temple Learning Academy was established in Myersville, St. Elizabeth Jamaica W.I as an adjunct facility where classes are offered free of cost and enrollment is open to all who want to advance their education.
In May of 2005, as an offspring of the Refuge Temple’s first out-station in the Bronx NY, Deliverance Refuge Temple where the pastor is Elder Kirt Prentice and located in Queens, NY was founded.