Bethlehem Temple reunion with founding pastor Loyd

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Bethlehem Temple Church held a reunion at the Waterfront Marriot Hotel in Homestead on Sept. 24.

On May 7, 1957, Bethlehem Temple Church began a ministry in Clairton that has endured for more than 50 years. Its founder Elder John Loyd, now 89 years old, followed Christ along with his wife, Evangelist Patty Loyd, and his children John, Gerald and Patricia. Sister Gussie Waddell and family became the church’s first members.

HeadTable
HEAD TABLE—From left: Virginia Haskell of Washington, D.C.; Evangelist Betty Loyd; District Elder John Loyd; Bishop Leonard Briddell; Sister Lois Briddell; and District Elder Leroy Robinson of Pittsburgh. (Photos by Rossano P. Stewart)

Soon after many other family members joined, including the Spence, Moore, Martin, Kearney and Mack families. Also joining were Sister Caroline Jackson and Sister Zula Baker, just to name a few. In May of 1962, Evangelist Patty Loyd passed on to glory. With the passing of Evangelist Loyd, Elder Loyd was called to broadcast the Word on radio. It was then heard by Evangelist Lillian Gaynor and she decided to assist the pastor at his church. Later she joined and brought with her a daughter, Lillian Moore, and family.

Because of his faithfulness to the call, the Lord began to add daily to the church. With the town of Duquesne, an hour away, several of the followers were transported, by station wagon, to and from the church. This soon led to the relocation of the ministry to the Duquesne area in the fall of 1964. The incursion of families expanded the congregation of the church. Vernice Jackson, Sister Lena Petty, Sister Janie Bradshaw, Evangelist Thelma Scott, and Sister Betty Martin are all original members who have made their transition onto glory. Additional families and individuals later joined the ministry and still have fond memories of the church and families like the Edwell family, which includes Tommy and Vurnie Hill and Valerie and Rene.

The ministry was listed as an entity under the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World organization and also a part of the Pennsylvania State Council, under the leadership of Bishop Freeman M. Thomas. Elder Loyd and his wife, Evangelist Betty Loyd, served diligently in the Duquesne church until 1975 when he accepted a new assignment in Bridgeport, Conn., where he currently resides and continues to maintain his leadership as Pastor of Fellowship Temple Church.

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