The Church of God Historical Commission wishes to observe that 120 years ago in June 1903, Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson, united with the Church of God through membership in the Holiness Church at Camp Creek, North Carolina, subsequently becoming pastor of that congregation.
By virtue of his office as pastor of the host church, Tomlinson moderated the first General Assembly on January 26-27, 1906, comprised of twenty-one delegates from three churches in Tennessee, one in Georgia, and the host church in North Carolina. That same year, he established North Cleveland Church of God, now considered the Mother Church of our movement. On January 9, 1909, at the age of 43, Tomlinson was chosen as general moderator (later renamed general overseer), where he served until 1923.
It was under the leadership of A. J. Tomlinson that the influence of the Church was taken outside its secluded Appalachian origins; the name was changed from The Holiness Church to Church of God; the Church of God Evangel, Lee University, and the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home were birthed; and the Church was established outside the United States. It is difficult to overstate the influence of Tomlinson on the earliest days of the Church of God and the Pentecostal Movement.
In commemorating this anniversary, we give thanks to God for the leadership and influence of our early Church of God leaders, and we pray God’s continued favor on our current leadership as well as that of the Church of God of Prophecy, over which Tomlinson also served as general overseer (1923-1943).
Submitted by the Church of God Historical Commission
James E. Cossey, Chairman
David G. Roebuck, Church Historian