One of the most fascinating women in the history of the Church of God by Faith is Mother Lucretia Scippio Steadman. The similarities between the Lydia in Acts 16: 14-15, 40 and Mother Lucretia (top left) are striking. Lydia was described as one who "worshiped God" and "whose heart the Lord opened" even before she heard Paul's message (vs. 14.) Read more about Lydia here. So it was with Mother Steadman.
She heeded the call of Christ in Valdosta, GA before the Church of God by Faith was established. Mother Steadman then witnessed to her household and extended family and many of them accepted Christ. Mother Lucretia had a conversation with Crawford Bright as they rode the train which led to a prayer meeting with John and Crawford Bright. Elder Bright’s wife Jessie also joined the group. From that prayer meeting, the COGBF was born. Elder John “Daddy” Bright went on to become one of the founders of the church.
When Lucretia’s sister, Nancy Matthews (top right) accepted Christ, she prayed for the salvation of her husband Aaron and he became another founder and first bishop of the church. Mother Delia Scippio witnessed to her son Nathaniel, and his wife Essie (bottom right) and they accepted Christ. Elder Scippio also became one of the four founders and the first national evangelist of the church.
Mother Lucretia also shared the Good News with her “then” husband Mr. Roundtree but he rejected her faith and abandoned her. After the divorce, she married Hubert Steadman who would later become the fourth founder and first executive secretary of the COGBF. Hence, Mother Lucretia was directly or indirectly responsible for spreading the Gospel to three of the four founding elders of this most magnificent Body.
Women led the idea of getting the youth involved in the church services in 1923 at the Yalaha, COGBF. Mother Nancy Matthews, (wife of Bishop Aaron) believed that the children were disinterested in the services and “only came because they had to.” Consequently, she and a few other sisters got together to approach the Council of Elders about their idea and it was approved. A while later, Mother Viola McKinney created the name, “Willing Workers Club.” She said: “All could work for Christ [and] the Club was for the saved as well as the unsaved young and old could work for Christ.”
The Sunday School Department was established by Ruling Elder Hubert Steadman. His wife Lucretia Steadman took over after his transition and many powerful women led the department for decades to come. The third superintendent was Mother Rosetta Tucker McKnight and the fourth was Sister Julia Caine Samms. She was followed by Sister Barbara Johnson who was replaced by the long-serving superintendent, Mother Dorothy McGriff.
Another great woman in COGBF history is Mother Willie Mae Slater Smith. She spoke to Ruling Elder Walter Rozier in 1957 about an important new idea. He was her pastor and superintendent of the Jacksonville District at the time. She indicated that God had shown her that her church should have a mission and she immediately got to work.
On November 30, 1958, her vision was approved and the Home Mission Department was born! She started slowly in her neighborhood and eventually added hospitals and nursing homes. Many souls were saved and healed through her missionary work.
Sister Dorothy Jordan was the first to start the national choirs and Mother Julia Cain Samms was the founder of the Board of Christian Education. Recently retired National First Lady Jessie McKnight was credited with establishing the Elders and Ministers Wives Choir as well as the Deaconess Choir. She was also the founder of the Pastor’s Wives Retreat with the support of Mother Cora Williams.
Even before the Church of God by Faith was established, women have been integrally involved in the establishment and growth of the church.
You can read more about the many accomplishments of Church of God by Faith women in greater detail here.