About Our Heritage
Christian Heritage Church was birthed out of the Azusa Street Revival. From it’s beginnings in the early part of the 1900’s, Christian Heritage Church has always been a place of healing and refuge for the people of Tallahassee.
The strength of our church, from the beginning, was founded on the truth of God’s Word and a continued flow of the compassion of our people and the power of the Holy Spirit. Over the last century Christian Heritage Church has continued a steady pace of growth and relevance.
In an inviting atmosphere where the presence of God has first place, the worship services at Christian Heritage Church are enjoyed by people from every possible background. Standing as a beacon of hope and light in the Northern Florida and Southern Georgia region, Christian Heritage Church brings Jesus Christ alive to hundreds of lives every week.
A Brief History of Christian Heritage Church
The early beginning of the Holiness movement in Tallahassee and a revival of Pentecost as described in Acts 2 culminated in the founding of the First Pentecostal Holiness Church of Tallahassee, now know as Christian Heritage Church.
Rev. C.M. “Clayton” and Mrs. Nellie Wheeler from Illinois came to Tallahassee around 1900. The Wheelers together with Rev. McManning, a Methodist pastor, brought the spirit of revival of Holiness, Sanctification and Pentecost into Tallahassee.
In early 1907, Rev. McManning and Rev. Wheeler received the infilling of the Holy Spirit which empowered them to spread this message of Pentecost to North Florida.
In January 1911, the first General Superintendent of the newly consolidated Pentecostal Holiness church denomination, Rev. Samuel D. Page came to north Florida including Tallahassee and preached Pentecost at the various churches. The results of preaching Pentecost lead to the organization of the Tallahassee First Pentecostal Holiness church by the National General Superintendent Sam Page. He was joined by Superintendent Rev. H.A. (Hogan) Smith. The church started in a tent meeting with eight members. Three church trustees were elected: J.W. Crowder, J.Z. Redd and D.W. Redd. By a deed dated May 3, 1912, the trustees bought two lots at 800 N. Bronough Street for $150. A church building and parsonage were later constructed on the Bronough Street property. The buildings are still standing today two blocks behind the Governor’s mansion.
Rev. Rhodes and his family moved from North Carolina to Tallahassee to pastor the church at the request of General Superintendent Page and pastored the church from 1914-1915. In late 1915 Rev. Rhodes and his family resigned from the church and went to South Africa as missionaries where they served over 30 years.
In 1943, Rev. Bert E. Parmer, came from Memphis, Tennessee to pastor. The congregation began to outgrow the Bronough street building by 1946. The congregation began looking for a new location. In 1946 they found and purchased the 901 Thomasville Road location for $7,500. The construction of the new building began in 1948 under the direct supervision of the pastor Rev. Sam Franklin. Rev. Virgil Gaither came to pastor the church in 1949 and completed building the sanctuary which was occupied in the summer of 1950.
In 1972, the church entered into a new era under the new pastor Rev. Don Wilkes. Rev. Wilkes was a forward looking pastor and under his leadership the church began to grow. The church embraced the charismatic movement and was involved with the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship. In Sunday afternoon rallies spirit-filled businessmen of various denominations spoke and ministered at the church. In addition, the church had a television program featuring the latest charismatic worship. The church became known for its music and special programs throughout the Tallahassee area. Numerous people from other denominations began to worship at and joined what was now Christian Heritage Church.
In 1975, the church changed its name to Christian Heritage Church and it soon outgrew the Thomasville Road location. The congregation began planning for the relocation to North Monroe Street. Property was purchased and plans were drawn for the sanctuary which was completed in early 1980. The congregation moved into the new facility in May 1980 with an attendance of 715 members under Rev. Don Wilkes.
In 1979 the church hired Dennis Worley as its full time music and TV director. Under Director Worley’s leadership music of the church moved up another level. In late 1980 after moving into the new sanctuary on North Monroe Street God sent Dr. Randy Guthrie to CHC as the choral and TV director. The choir and music department put on outstanding musical cantatas and concerts often using a classical orchestra made up in large part of faculty members and students from the music department at Florida State University.
In March of 1983 Rev. Robert Shelley became the senior pastor. Membership grew to 1,650 by 1989. As the congregation of the church grew, the musical program under the direction of John Spain and Errol Stafford flourished. After eighteen years as the senior pastor, Rev. Shelley retired with his last service on Easter Sunday 2001.
Following Rev. Shelley’s retirement Rev. Richard Ledford, II became the senior pastor in August 2001. Under his leadership, the church continued to grow. As the congregation grew the sanctuary at North Monroe Street became too small and the church purchased the Waccamaw shopping center on Sharer Road. The store was completely remodeled and a facility with a 2,000 seat auditorium with meeting space for all ages was constructed. The congregation of 3,000 people moved into this facility March 6, 2005. Rev. Richard Ledford pastored the church until 2009. Rev. Ron McCants pastored From 2010 to 2013. Rev. Steve Dow was elected as CHC Senior Pastor in January 2014 and has continued in that role until the present.
Christian Heritage Church is special. God has kept His hand on and sovereignly blessed and led this church in unique ways for over 100 years.