Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“To evangelize the world for Jesus Christ; to equip every believer to become true Disciples of Christ; and to engage those social problems that challenge the communities we have been called to serve.”

Governance of the church includes the Chief Apostle, the Presiding Apostle, the Board of Apostles, the Board of Bishops, the Board of Presbyters, the Executive Secretary, and the General Council.

Major laity-driven auxiliaries are Women’s Council; Ministers’ and Deacons’ Wives’ Guild; the International Sunday School Association and the Armor Bearers’ Young People’s Union, which together make up the International Congress; and the International Music Department. Though women are not ordained, they are licenced as social, senior, and field Missionaries through the organization’s International Missionary Department. There is also a Deacon’s Union.

In 1998 the church had about 30,000 members in 450 churches in the United States. In 2008, there are now 582 churches worldwide, including congregations in West Africa, Mexico, Canada, the British West Indies, Dominican Republic, England, Haiti and the Philippines. Its U.S. membership is predominantly African-American. Headquartered at Greater Refuge Temple Church in Harlem, New York City, the church operates in Columbia, South Carolina and the Church of Christ Bible Institute in New York City.


Apostle Wesley M. & Mother Phyllis M. Taylor
Apostle Taylor pastors the Calvary Temple COOLJC in Petersburg, VA and is presently the overseer of Region IV of the Churches Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Mother Taylor is the Regional, Diocese and Local First Lady and Church Mother. Bishop and Mother Taylor are also the “Biological” parents of District Elder Irving S. Taylor, Pastor of Calvary Outreach. Calvary Temple is the “Mother Church” of CORC and without its existence, CORC would not be in existence today.  Calvary Temple is a progressive, spirit-filled, community based church that believes and stands firmly on the “WORD of GOD” as it is written. This church was founded by Bishop Taylor in July, 1965 and today, it has become one of the most recognized churches throughout Virginia and in many other states. We give glory and honor to God for allowing our “Spiritual Parents” to have such an impact in our lives and in the lives of others.  Through perseverance, prayer and supplication, Pastor and Mother Taylor and the Calvary Temple Church family have been blessed above measures and while God is still performing wondrous works in this ministry, CORC prays continuous blessings upon them and in all of their endeavors.  We LOVE YOU Bishop & Mother Taylor!


In 1914 Bishop Robert Clarence Lawson, founder of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, was called to the ministry and soon began evangelizing, mainly in the Mid-West, and pastoring in Columbus, Ohio. When he found himself at odds with the leadership of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), Lawson resigned from that organization in 1919 and moved to New York City. That year Lawson founded another church, Refuge Church of Christ, after the members of a prayer band in Harlem welcomed him and turned their meetings over to him. That small church grew and became known as Greater Refuge Temple. It was the hub of Lawson’s evangelistic efforts in the Northeastern United States. Lawson’s field work took him up and down the East Coast of the United States, throughout the West Indies, and as far as West Africa<, where Lawson appointed missionaries to carry on spiritual work.The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ has been very influential among African-American Pentecostal churches, and has given rise to several spin-off bodies. The first major break-away was in 1930, when Sherrod C. Johnson created a rival organization, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, through which he challenged Lawson’s stance on practical holiness. The most important fracture in the church’s history, though, was when, in 1957, Smallwood E. Williams led about 70 churches out of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith to form the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Other organizations that were birthed from or splintered from this church body include Progressive Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Refuge Temple Assembly of Yahweh, the Evangelistic Churches of Christ, a host of small organizations, and independent churches of varying sizes. Furthermore, there have been splits in many of the off-shoot churches; for example, the church founded by Sherrod C. Johnson (today known as the Whole Truth Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith) has splintered and re-emerged as the Holy Temple Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith; the Apostolic Ministries of America; and the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, all of which are actively evangelizing North America, the Caribbean, Europe, and West Africa. Thus, the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Mother church of a family of predominantly African-American Pentecostal Apostolic organizations.After Lawson’s death in 1961, a rising minister in the organization, William L. Bonner, proposed a change in the church’s governmental structure. Whereas Bishop Lawson, as founder, had been the sole governing prelate of the organization, Bonner suggested that there be a board of archbishops, or apostles, who would govern the churches. Two other groups, the Board of Bishops and the Board of Presbyters, both hold accountable and are held accountable by the Board of Apostles.In chronological order, the presiders of the organization have been: Robert C. Lawson, 1919-1961; Hubert J. Spencer, 1961-1973; William L. Bonner, 1973-1995; Gentle Groover, 1995-2001; James I. Clark, Jr., 2001-2007; Matthew Norwood, 2007-2013; and Robert Sanders, 2013-Present