Past and Present
It was the 1940s and fast-paced change was sweeping the country. An energetic visionary by the name of Mendenhall accepted the challenge and erected a Pentecostal church in Dayton, Ohio. After construction was completed, Brother Mendenhall moved, and Reverend A. K. Miller became pastor. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the congregation lost access to the new building, and Brother Miller began holding services in his home.
Meanwhile, Reverend L. E. Riber, pastor of Apostolic Tabernacle Church in Dayton, called Brother Miller and asked him if he would be interested in merging the two churches. Pastor Riber was in ill health, and it was his desire that Brother Miller pastor the combined congregations.
The Apostolic Tabernacle was located across the street from a tavern. Its members were being regularly harassed, and the church was threatened with burning. Once again the people faced unfortunate circumstances. After two unsuccessful attempts, the church was burned to the ground. The charred remains disheartened the pastor, and he soon resigned.
In December of 1950, Reverend Carlos Grant was asked by the Ohio District Board of the United Pentecostal Church International to assume the pastorate of the church. In January of 1951, Carlos and Catherine Grant moved to Dayton. Brother Grant acquired two lots on Mertland Avenue and erected a new church building. (Brother Grant is the great uncle of the present pastor’s wife, Tiffany Watkins Smith.)
The congregation changed the name of the church to Apostolic Lighthouse Church. Brother Grant remained as pastor for several years, until he answered God’s call to the Philippines.
In 1957, Reverend Leroy Ragon, a talented artist who was well known for his chalk talks, followed Brother Grant as pastor. Brother Ragon served as pastor of Apostolic Lighthouse Church for twelve years before retiring.
Reverend Robert L. Mitchell, a resident of Houston, Texas, and a convert of pioneer preacher, C. L. Dees, was elected pastor in 1969. (Brother Mitchell’s first convert was sixteen-year-old Penny Dewitz, mother of Tiffany Watkins Smith.)
As the congregation began to outgrow the church on Mertland Avenue, the need for a new building became evident. In 1973 property was purchased on Harshman Road and construction of a new building began. The church was completed in 1974. Before the year’s end, Brother Mitchell resigned and Reverend Huss Shearer of Texarkana, Texas, was elected as pastor.
Through his twenty-eight year pastorate, Brother Shearer and his wife Carol accomplished many things for the Lord. As church attendance grew, additional property was purchased, and the construction of a new sanctuary and administrative offices began. Pastor Shearer established a strong revival church built upon the foundation of the Apostolic message.
In the late 1990s Brother Shearer suffered a heart attack. His son Charles became pastor. Providentially, Elder Shearer’s improving health permitted him to remain active in the church as senior pastor. Charles Shearer served as pastor until May 2000. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife, Judy, relocated to Saraland, AL, to assume the senior pastorate of The Pentecostals of Saraland.
In July 2000 Reverend Bradley and Tiffany Smith moved to Dayton to assist Elder Shearer in the various ministries of ALC. They served faithfully together two years, until Reverend Huss Shearer was called home to be with the Lord.
In May 2002 Reverend Bradley Smith became pastor of Apostolic Lighthouse Church. Brother Smith is the eldest son of missionary evangelists, Reverend David and Donna Smith. His wife, Tiffany Smith, is the daughter of the late Reverend Carlton Watkins (formerly of Daingerfield, Texas) and his wife Penny, who now resides in Dayton.