Apostolic Life Cathedral
The Church of Apostolic Life Cathedral was established as an outreach to the Guyandotte community of Huntington. While Huntington is known for the amount of churches it has on each block, there are not many like Apostolic Life Cathedral. The church is Pentecostal, a denomination that believes in the necessary gifts of water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit in speaking of other tongues. They base their beliefs out of the Book of Acts and this church holds numerous events because of its size.
Backstory and Context
The church building is a combination of multiple structures that collectively houses about two thousand people. The church was formerly known as Guyandotte Apostolic. The main sanctuary where most of the services go on houses around sixteen hundred in itself. The whole church has around twenty-seven thousand square feet and was completely built by members of the congregation; construction was completed over the course of thirteen months. The impressive thing about this church is that the main sanctuary is only half of a steel building. The Bishop of the church is currently trying to buy the property that is across the road from them on Staunton Street to expand.
The church was first established in 1924 and has since seen three buildings and three pastors. These buildings are now called the Children’s Church, the Cedar Sanctuary, and Main Sanctuary. The three pastors that have governed the church have been Rev. Forbush from1924 to 1950; Rev. Greene Kitchen from 1950 to 1989.; and the current pastor, Bishop Edwin S. Harper.
Since his induction as the church's primary reverend Harper has put into action many types of community relief projects. He has in the past worked with the mayor of the neighboring city of Huntington. This led to the "Pray for Huntington" movement which was a plea by the major to ask all surrounding churches to pray in one accord. He also has worked with the recovery centers around the neighborhood of Guyandotte. This is to help those who are in addiction or need help to become more spiritual. The main event that the church holds in regards to helping the community is the weekly meal event. Every Friday there is a large dinner held for the unfortunate that the church runs independently. This attracts many visitors whom Harper can outreach to as well as give a good meal that they might not get during the rest of the week.
In a discussion with Bishop Harper he said that the church was built with a dream, “A dream to win souls." He also states there is not a bad seat in the house and that includes the balcony overlooking the main platform where the preaching takes place. He was a big part of the movement in the 1990s that saw an exponential revival take place. While Pentecostal or Apostolic faith is growing at a rate that is the fastest among all of Christianity, Harper says that, "the fastest growing religion is to be wicked."
The history of Apostolic Life cathedral is long, it just celebrated its 95th birthday not too long ago. Many stories come from a place that has been erected that long, stories of hope and triumph. The current pastor Edwin Harper is involved is a well-known figure in the Christian Apostolic faith and is also well known within the community. The significance of the place in general is the proof to some that over time with hard work, determination, and religion that you can start small and grow to an enormous size while keeping the ones you love most around. As the churches slogan is “You’ve come to the church with the…Warm Welcome."
Harper, Edwin S. Personal interview. 13 Oct. 2019.
Kuntzman, Stephen, and James Rowe. Life Cathedral. Accessed October 15, 2019. https://www.lifecathedral.com/
Kiprop, Koseph. "What are Pentecostal Beliefs ." World Atlas. Last modified September 25, 2017. Accessed December 9, 2019. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-pentecostal-beliefs.html.
Tuana Adams (iphone)
Apostolic Life Cathedral website