The pastor and congregation of The Church of God of Prophecy, located at 43 Gilmore St. in Elkins, will celebrate 60 years of ministry on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
In November 2007, the church hosted "Founders Day" and that event was well attended.
The pioneers and founders of the local body were E.J. Blizzard and his wife, Nellie. In 1948, the Blizzards, who were living in Gas City, Indiana, became active members with the Tomlinson Church of God, now know as the Church of God of Prophecy of Cleveland, Tennessee. The COGOP is a worldwide Wesley Holiness-Pentecostal body in nearly 140 nations. In 1951, Endres and Nellie Blizzard returned to their native Elkins and began prayer meetings that year in hopes of establishing a local church.
Dr. Fred and Judy Lawson
The original church structure, a one-room school house, still stands near Ward Road. In 1961, Blizzard, a carpenter by trade, began work on a new church building in Highland Park. Soon, the local body became known as Leadsville Holiness Church, which organized with COGOP on Jan. 19, 1963, just two years after a heart attack claimed the earthly life of Pastor Blizzard. From that time until early 1997, the congregation continued to worship in the Highland Park basement structure location. Nellie Blizzard passed away in 1999 after several years of faithful service.
The current brick church property at 43 Gilmore St. was purchased in 1997. This location was secured while under the 24-year tenure of Pastor Emeritus Vernard Tasker. Tasker, now semi-retired, resides in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland. His wife, Lillian, went home to be with the Lord earlier this year.
Now in his fifth year, Pastor Stephen W. Pyle and his wife, Sallie J. Pyle, lead the congregation. Pyle has previously pastured in Hagerstown and Frederick, Maryland, and Short Gap. Pyle is an ordained licensed minister with COGOP, a graduate of Columbia School of Broadcasting, First Term Bible Training Institute of Cleveland, Tennessee, including additional courses in foundations, accountability, mentoring and has nearly 10 years of radio and other broadcasting experience in several positions. The Pyles have been in various ministry for more than 40 years.
The keynote speaker of this commemorative gathering will be COGOP Ohio/West Virginia-Mountaineer/Buckeye Regional Presiding Bishop Dr. Fred A. Lawson. Lawson and his wife, Judy, have faithfully served this region since the fall of 2008.
Following the 11 a.m. service, a covered-dish dinner will be served at 12:30 p.m. The 60th commemorative service will begin at 2:30 p.m. with special recognition of VIPs, pastors and others. There will be a video clip of vocalist Stephanie Pyle presented from her July concert tour performance at the Ohio/West Virginia Regional Conference.
The Pyles will offer special music, with 9/11 national and historical observances.
A healing service will be offered for those seeking special prayer.
For more information, call Pyle at 304-637-0073 or 304-704-2190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.