The Late Apostle Smallwood Edmond Williams

Williams_SmallwoodBishop Smallwood Williams was born on October 17, 1907 in Lynchburg, Virginia. A few months prior to his birth, his father died, leaving his mother (Mary) widowed, and with child. Mary was a dynamic spiritual and educational influence on young Smallwood. At the early age of fourteen, he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Columbus, Ohio where he and his mother had moved. Columbus is the place where Smallwood spent most of his early life.

Not long after graduating from high school in Columbus, this young boy preacher was licensed at the age of sixteen, and at the age of eighteen, he became ordained, the youngest so honored in the Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Smallwood progressed into young manhood, the late Bishop Lawson talked with him about going to Washington, D.C., to organize a church. In presenting this great challenge to Elder Williams, Bishop Lawson did not paint a rosy picture, but instead he told Smallwood that Washington was a “preachers graveyard, and a mission wreck shop”. What a challenge! Although he could have refused, he humbly accepted.

In 1927 Elder Smallwood Williams was sent to Washington, D.C. by Bishop Lawson. From this appointment came the powerful organization known as the Bible Way Churches. At the age of twenty, Smallwood left the comfort of his home in Columbus, Ohio and arrived at Union Station in Washington, with only $5.00 in his pocket. He often related how those two angels met him at Union Station, “Goodness and Mercy,” and how they continued with him until the end of his life.

In 1941 the Bible Way Church began broadcasting over radio station WINX on Saturday nights. This brought the church great recognition and attention with many more citizens in the Washington, D.C. area. Elder Williams would frequently announce very catchy subjects to preach, and people would come out to see its usual scriptural basis, and how the sermons would be developed.

The Bible tells us that it is not good for man to dwell alone. Elder Williams went to Washington alone, and single. However, he had been in courtship with a very fine young lady, sister Verna Lucille Rapley of New York City. Verna was serving as pianist and director for the Refuge Temple choir. She was loved and cherished by the New York congregation for her loving personality and talent. She was a jewel to the church, but now she had become engaged to a well-known young man in Washington, D.C., by the name of Smallwood E. Williams.

It was out of a National Pentecostal Ministerial Conference, September 25-29, 1957 that the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World-Wide was born. This conference was held at the Bible Way Church, 1130 New Jersey Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. The authenticity and orthodoxy of the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide can be attested as to its validity; Historically, Experimentally, and Doctrinally.

Bishop Williams was a civic leader and Civil Rights advocate. He fought for justice ad racial equality. On June 28, 1991 at the age of 84, Bishop Smallwood E. Williams went home to be with the Lord.


Published on June 11, 2009 at 1:38 am  Comments (12)  

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  1. Apostle Smallwood E. Williams have been a great help in my walk with Jesus up until now and I’m on my way to heaven and in joying the trip.
    Bishop Francis

    • One of the greatest generals, and fathers of the faith of all time.

  2. I am A spiritual Son of Bible Way born in 1954, Bapitised in Jesus Name and Filled with The Holy Ghost when Bishop was in His Prime, He is truly an Apostolic Pioneer, Fellowshiped with The Best back in The Day! .. Bishops Hancock, Golder, Mcmurray, Johnson, Saunders, Holley, Grimes, Brooks and many others

  3. My mother joined the Bibleway family around 1966. I was baptized there in 1970 at the age of 9. She was eulogized there in 1998. We still have a generation there and always will. What I witnessed and lived in Bibleway is a part of my soul that I will cherish forever. Hearing and seeing the greatest men and women of God speak, heal, and deliver souls was truly a journey that makes me the woman I am today. PamELaHdQueenOfPeace

  4. I was baptized there as a child. My grandmother, grandfather and mom were baptized there.

    • Bishop Williams was truly a general and a father in the gospel. A great legend in the Apostolic faith. Growing up in the Way of the Cross Church under the late Bishop H.C. Brooks, we had many great services with Bishop Williams and the Bible Way Church family.

  5. At the age of 13, I joined the BibleWay Church, I was baptisized byElder John Milans and I becoming a member of the 10-16 Club under the leadership of the late Missionary Viola Moore. I was taught the Word of God by the late Bishop S. E. Willaims. At the age of 25 Bishop Williams performed my wedding ceremony. Bishop Williams was my first pastor and Bishop and a great leader to me.

  6. At the age of 20 I came from North Carolina and joined one of the Bibleway churches in Baltimore Md. Bishop Smallwood Williams was our Presiding Bishop at that time. Under His Ministry I was ordained a Elder. Bishop Williams was humble, weil versed in the Scriptures,and a good example of what a Preacher should be toward his family. In my 27 years under his Ministry I witness some of the greatest miracles and was a part of some of the greatest Worship Services. I attended His awesome Home Going Celebration. Bishop Williams was one of the most Dynamic Preacher of our time.

  7. Apostle William he as my first pastor and was little when God called him home I really really miss him

  8. I thank god for Apostle Smallwood William he was a outstanding work from god. through his mission god saved my life. i mss him. I was ordained Elder by Bishop B.F. Peterson in Phila Pa.

  9. I was baptized there (I was about 5 )we lived in the apartment next door by the church. I remember the watermelons the church would serve,the tables lined up with fresh cut watermelons starting from our apartment building to the other end of New Jersey Avenue.Rest in peace Bishop Smallwood my condolence to the family remember the name ‘Hoppy’

  10. I grew up in COOLJC and was in Greater Refuge 1957 when Bishop Williams left COOLJC. There was much controversy surrounding his leaving but Thank God he stepped out to form the great Bibleway Churches Worldwide.
    Men must obey a God. Sometimes they leave the nest because their time has come to produce their own family.
    I attended the Homegoing survive and it was outstanding. What a great man.
    I will always remember Bishop not only for his charisma, preaching, and ability to draw thousands to God, but I will always remember the sharp clean Bishop for those sharp white suits and panama straw hats.
    He was one of Gods greatest in the 20th century.


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