In 1943, the Lord led Rev. I.H. Terry and his wife to Bakersfield. They arrived on March 5th. After much opposition, they rented what would become the first church building at 611 E. 18th Street. They were happy, even though their living conditions were not the most convenient. They lived behind a temporary wall, which had been erected to provide an auditorium for services. There was no hot water or bath facilities, only a restroom outside.
The first church service was on Saturday night, November 13, 1943. Among those present was the Erman Alspaw family, the Fred Cox family, and Sister Nancy Byerly and her children. The first pulpit consisted of two orange boxes, and the pews consisted of a few chairs and a long board extending from a chair to a washtub to provide additional seating. The altar was Sister Terry’s mother’s wash bench.
Sister Terry typed the songs -there were no song books- and helped lead the song services. There was no music. The financial picture was not very good; it was necessary for the Terry’s to sell their car to provide rent money and material to construct some pews and purchase the pedestal, which served as a pulpit. On Sunday, November 21, the first Sunday school was conducted with nine present. Brother and Sister Terry, Sister Terry’s mother, Brother William “Dutchie” Clayton, and Sister Nancy Byerly and her children attended the evening service.
The church went through several moves until finding a somewhat permanent residence at 36th and O street. At this location, the foundation (church family, ministries, and “soul” purpose) was built through many years of hard work and revival. A motto was established, “the best place to go is 36th and O !”, which later changed when the church moved to its new location.
Bishop Leon Frost & Pastor Kevin Bradford
November 1983 was Bro. I.H. Terry’s 40th year as pastor of First Pentecostal Church. He decided to retire on our 40th anniversary, leaving Bro. Leon Frost in charge of the church, debt free. Brother Frost was raised in the church with Bro.Terry as his pastor. Under the leadership of pastor Frost, the church moved from 36th & O to the current address of 1418 W. Columbus.
November of 2013 was a momentous occasion for Greater Bakersfield First Pentecostal Church, marking its 70th anniversary, Bishop Frost’s 30th anniversary, and Pastor Bradford’s 3rd anniversary. Rev. I. H. Terry built the solid foundation of this church upon the rock and chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, for 40 years. He passed the torch to Bro. Leon Frost who continued to build upon the foundation, upholding the truth, for the past 30 years. In November of 2010, Kevin Bradford took over the duty of Pastor and has exemplified a true servant with the desire to uphold our rich heritage without compromise. GBFPC has been blessed for 75 years by these great men of God.