OUR CHURCH HISTORY
How we became Greater House Of Prayer
Honoring our Patriarch – The Late Bishop Jessie M. Dickens
April 28, 1916 - August 1, 2014
Bishop Jessie Dickens was born April 28, 1916, in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi to Elder and Mrs. Parnell Dickens. Jessie was the fifth child in a family of eleven children. His father Elder Parnell Dickens prepared his children to live a life of holy living as members of a faith filled family. His parents may never have dreamed however, that this son, Jessie, would be used to bring light into the lives of so many in darkness. Bishop Dickens was born in an area that he fondly referred to as “behind the sun” and would be a Pastor, a Leader of Pastors, a guide to Superintendents, Elders, and Ministers. He was blessed to sit with dignitaries and had the opportunity to meet the President of the United States of America (William Jefferson Clinton).
While attending school in Spanish Lake, Louisiana, Jessie Dickens and Elzer Jackson met. They were married on September 11, 1934. Two years later in 1936, Bishop Dickens became saved; He began his preaching in Alexandria, Louisiana. Bishop Jessie Dickson came to California on Christmas Day 1942. His wife followed in 1943 along with their three children.
On March 14, 1934, he was blessed to have enjoyed a charming marriage to Mother Elzer Dickens. They were married for 59 years. She preceded him in death in 1993. To this union six children were born, five sons and one daughter. Titus, Samuel, and Booker T preceded him in death. He leaves to mourn David, Nathaniel and Addie Jean. Their life was a commitment to God, family, their church family, and faith in God.
God gave Bishop Jessie Dickens a special ministry of the Second Coming which he brought to people by ways of a radio broadcast, seminars and other avenues, including writing a book.
Over the years, House of Prayer has had many homes. At times services were held at the home of Bishop Dickens and his wife until new facilities could be found. Bishop loved church so much that he had worship service at his local church Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. He also held 6:00 am Prayer Tuesday-Friday. In 1982 due to his radio broadcast ministry, a local missionary asked him to be the pastor of “Rescue Prayer Mission”.
Two young people were members of the House of Prayer and would fast for five days and five nights. He realized that these young people were doing more than he was doing and God told him 30 days. After the 30 days of eating one meal a day, it got so good to him that he went six years. After going on a consecration of much fasting and praying, Bishop Jessie Dickens was excited about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit more than he had been his entire saved life. The Lord delivered him from himself, thepeople and gave him insight of the Second Coming of Christ. God also gave him the understanding of how to rightly divide the word of God. He was called the “End Time Preacher” and the “Praying Man”. God gave him Devine love for the people. Bishop would say, “God is good to me” and that we should always give thanks. Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Ephesians 5:20 “Give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
His main objective was to be in “Unity” to be “One in the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:4-6 “there is one body in one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 50ne Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, 60ne God in Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all”) with Greater House of Prayer and the California Western Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
In 1988, Pastor Dickens was asked to become the president of the California Western Fellowship Church of God in Christ. In 1989, he was asked to become a member on the Executive Committee for the National Council and a member of the Executive Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ.
On April 3, 1993 in Memphis, Tennessee, Pastor Jessie Dickens was consecrated to the office of Bishop and assigned as Prelate of California Western Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. Later that year, on June 19, 1993 Bishop Dickens lost his beloved wife, who went home to be with the Lord.
Bishop Dickens has served in many capacities in the Jurisdiction. He has served as Chairman of the Superintendent’s Board, Chairman of the Speaker’s Committee, Chairman of the Grievance Committee, Member of the Bishop’s Advisory Board, Member of the Program Committee, and Sectional Superintendent. He served for over five years as the Bishop Designate to California Western Fellowship, yet he remained humble before the Lord and frequently referred to himself as “Brother Dirt”.
In October of 1994, Greater House of Prayer and California Western Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction bought the building at 5863 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA and made major renovations.