History of Tupelo Church of God
Tupelo Church of God was organized on June 4, 1967 with 7 members in Carpenters Union Hall on North Spring Street in downtown Tupelo. It all began from the vision of Pastor Jack Ezell. State Overseer T. L. Forrester presided over setting forth the new church. The charter members were: Bro. Jack Ezell, Sis. Bobbie Ezell, Fannie Moore, Jimmy Morgan, Darrell Kendrick, Martha Kendrick, and Elizabeth Henderson.
On February 23, 1969, the 22-member church voted to buy 2 acres of land on Highway 6, and in April, construction for a new sanctuary which would seat 100 began. The first service was held November 9, 1969 with a membership of 35. God was giving the increase. In July 1970, this building was dedicated by Reverend Cecil Guiles, Assistant National Sunday School and Youth Director.
In June of 1972, Bro. Ezell was ordained as a minister in the Church of God. Ordination is the highest rank of licensure in the denomination.
The vision of Pastor Ezell was taking form when in March of 1975, the new sanctuary annex to seat approximately 250 was completed, a visionary undertaking since the church had a membership of only 69. State Youth and C.E. Director, Rev. Billy J. O’Neal lead the dedication service on April 6, 1975, “And the glory of the Lord filled the House.”
The block building sanctuary was converted to more Sunday School rooms. The basement became a multi-purpose space for the fellowship hall, kitchen, children’s church and 3 more Sunday school rooms.
The next decade proved to be very fruitful, and in 1989, with a membership of over 200, more Sunday School rooms were needed. So the basement under the sanctuary was constructed which added 6 more Sunday School rooms. When the basement project was completed, the sanctuary was enlarged to seat 300. Another phase of the vision had become reality.
In 1993, a need for a larger fellowship area and more Christian education facilities developed. Construction on the Knox Family Life Center began, providing a kitchen, hospitality room, and gym. The new center was dedicated by State Overseer Rev. Carl Allen. “To God Be the Glory!”
In 1996, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of a new sanctuary on a newly-acquired 17-acre campus. The charter members, pastor’s council, trustees, and congregation gathered for the launching of yet another phase in the vision of Pastor Ezell. The new edifice was spectacular and the membership of the church had grown to over 400! God was doing an awesome thing.
In 2001 a ballfield to encourage and promote fellowship among members was erected.
In 2002, construction began to add onto the front of the new sanctuary. More Sunday School classrooms, offices, and a larger nursery were added to the complex. This project was completed in 2003.
In 2004, the original “block building” experienced yet another conversion with new paint, lights, and projection equipment to adequately house a worship center for the Children’s Church ministry.
By now the youth department needed a worship center of their own. The second sanctuary was transformed into an updated youth center of praise. Under the leadership of Youth Pastor, Lindsay Brett, the teens worked hard to create a place where young people would want to come and meet God. On August 28, 2005, Bro. Mike Stigile, State Youth and Christian Education Director, held the dedication service along with Youth Pastor Brett and Senior Pastor Ezell.
As the church moves forward into the 21st century, the vision continues to move forward. Pastor Ezell retired in August 2013 and Pastor Judd Vowell was put in place as Lead Pastor in September 2013. Tupelo Church of God will no doubt continue to increase and flourish with new ministries and new members, as well as the faithful ones who are always prayerful.