Sherman S. Howard's Biography

The Dreamer, the Visionary still lives in the hearts and minds of the People of God -
Oh, What a Leader!

Some men are born great; some achieve greatness; and some have greatness thrust upon them.  Bishop Sherman Scott Howard has certainly achieved his greatness.
Bishop Sherman S. Howard was born to the late Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Howard in Roanoke, Virginia. He had six siblings namely, Edgar, Leo, Arlene, Josephine, Lucia and Lewis.

Elder Howard was a man of complexity and he wore many hats during his lifetime. Soon after the untimely death of his own father, Elder Howard became like a father to his sister (Josephine), brother (Lewis), and later he assumed the same role for his niece and nephew upon the death of their mother (Arlene).  When one of his early church mothers (Mother Harriet E. Session) died suddenly, he adopted her daughter (Norma F. Brailsford) and that daughter later became the District Missionary of the number four district in which Elder Howard served as Superintendent until he was elevated to the office of Bishop. As a dutiful son he took care of his mother when she became ill and nursed her until her death

Bishop Howard spiritual birth took place in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia.  Upon embracing his newly found relationship with Christ,  he became an active and devoted member of the Church of God in Christ Number Two which was pastured by the late Elder I. F. Coles. While under the leadership of Elder Coles,  Brother Howard accompanied his pastor on numerous evangelical crusades. It was during these services that his great passion for music came to the forefront and he often enhanced the services and thereby distinguished himself as he joyfully played the piano during those highly spirited services.

Brother Howard upon the conclusion of several successful evangelical campaigns relocated to and settled in the nation’s capital – Washington, DC. This was a move that would change his life forever.  In 1946 he joined the Temple Church of God in Christ which was then pastured by Bishop Samuel (“Little Boy How Old Are You”) Kelsey, who was the jurisdictional prelate of Washington DC. He worked well with Bishop Kelsey as an associate minister and was given the responsible of directing and playing for the Temple Radio Choir. Many times, Elder Howard would talk about the days when he would leave the radio station rushing to be at the piano the moment when the Temple Radio Choir would come on the air singing, “I’m so Glad That Jesus Lifted Me.”  Elder Howard constantly reminded the congregation the importance of being faithful to God and the work of the Lord, even through the hard struggles of life.  With a  low paying job,  he would pay his tithes, pay his rent, and then send money home to his Mom.  Very seldom did he have enough funds to purchase proper clothing.  So, in the absence of a shirt, he asked, the manager of the store where he worked (Lucky 7 Men’s Clothing Store) for one of the “dickies” used on the window manikins.  He would pin the “dickie” down to his undershirt and close his jacket.  His faithfulness to God and Bishop Kelsey was something that he always cherished.

Soon thereafter, he received and answered his call to the gospel ministry. He preached his initial sermon entitled “Sell Out” at a service which was held in Baltimore, Maryland. His dedication  coupled with his keen spiritual insight took him to the next level and in 1948, he was ordained an Elder by the “laying on hands” by the late Bishop Kelsey.

Elder Howard was also the first African-American male gospel radio announcer in Washington, DC.  In his early communication career,  he was a radio personality on stations WEAM and WUST.  As a well known Gospel Disc Jockey, he was often called upon to emcee many gospel programs throughout the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area.  Due to his popularity and continuing demands from his supporter, he organized the most outstanding Gospel Hour Program at #25 H Street and later incorporated the Gospel Hour in New Bethel’s  Sunday evening programming.  Each program attendance was overwhelming.  Because of this, his overwhelming popularity among those inside and outside of the COGIC grew.   Even so, he remained faithful to his church and to his pastor.

Elder Howard took his leave from the Temple Church of God in Christ and stepped out on faith and in October, 1955 organized the New Bethel Church of God in Christ which he faithfully pastured for forty-nine years.

As a great visionary and with  great support from his parishioners, he was able to lead this church congregation from it’s initial beginning at 12th and S. Streets, N. W. an  air conditioned storefront church.  While at this location, New Bethel became known for its fervent prayer ministry and the long standing trademark live radio broadcast services. New Bethel later moved  to 5714 Georgia Avenue, N. W. and in 1972, New Bethel moved to it’s current location at 6440 Piney Branch Road, N. W., a million dollar church edifice.   Elder Howard was one of  the catalyst for Pentecostal Leaders to take this daring faith step in God.  What a giant faith stepper, he was.  Each  church locations is in the nation’s capitol – Washington, D. C.   

As an awesome orator,  gospel preacher and faith believer, he always stood flat footed and declared the unadulterated Word of God which was underscored and emphasized with a powerful soul saving deliverance ministry. He soon embarked upon a no compromise and deliverance style of ministry through which many dynamic displays of the supernatural presence of God were manifest.  Parishioners never knew what was going to happen in a service on any given day or evening.  All we knew was that God was in the midst of His people.

As an affectionate,  kind, concerned  and caring pastor, to all of his members and well wishers, and as a father,  he stressed  family unity throughout the church.  So, he included in the church agenda many activities year round,  such as and not limited to, the annual picnic,  the family dinner celebrations , holiday specials and the  end of the year, Christmas celebration.  At New Bethel the Saints were very active and involved in ministry building.  Dad Howard  was determined to keep the family together.  He would often say to the congregation on several occasions; “Keep the family together” and Keep the Praise of God ringing out in Bethel – don’t let nothing and/or anyone stop you from praising God.”

Elder Howard seized upon the medium of radio and burst upon the air waves and New Bethel’s  weekly Sunday evening back home hour broadcast on WOOK, WYCB, WOL out of Baltimore, Md. brought the gospel community to a standstill when the program was on the air. In 1980’s , he included a fiery TV ministry (Soul Outreach Crusade) into the church programming over station WCDA-20.  People came from all walks of life just to be in the services. Many who came as “on lookers” soon embraced a hope in Christ and joined the New Bethel family.    Others were drawn to the ministry because of the Elder Howard’s warm, personal often humorous but no nonsense style of ministry.  Elder Howard had a keen knack for recognizing talent and thereby exposed his parishioners to the best in the gospel industry. Many notable singers,  preachers and evangelists (Dr. Mattie Moss Clarke and the Clarke sisters, the Hawkins singers, Bishop Charles Hayes, Rev Milton Brunson etc) preachers and evangelists (Bishop F D Washington, Madame Emily Bram Bibby, Evangelist Maria Gardner,  Elder S E Mitchell, Elder Curtis Blake, Elder Earl Carter, Apostle Richard Henton, Bishop Richard “Mr. Clean White, Bishops J.O .and Gilbert Earl Patterson etc)found their way to the New Bethel pulpit and the people of God were greatly blessed by the talents of those anointed men and women of God.  

The cordial ties which Elder Howard developed within the church community were legendary and earned him the affectionate name of “Mr. Hospitality” among this august group of religious luminaries.  To the members of the General Board of Bishops in the COGIC , he was affectionately known as “Scotty”.

Elder was an extremely caring individual who did many kind deeds. On numerous occasions his generosity went unnoticed by the general public or even by his own congregation. He wanted it that way! He looked out for the widowed in his congregation and made sure that those who were in need did not go lacking. He saw to it that those who were in need did not go lacking even if it meant that he had to take money out of his own pocket to see that their individual needs were met. He lent money to those who were in need, paid rent and house mortgages for those who fell behind in their payments. He took care of the sainted old mothers who had no families and made sure that they were secure in their homes and he even made sure that those who needed admission to a nursing facility had the money to go without losing their dignity. He felt a close tie to these ladies because many of them loved their pastor and many had served in the kitchens and helped to make the wonderful dinners that the church was known for in its early years. He made sure that these mothers realized that their labor was duly appreciated. Many in their golden years who were beset by the problems which accompany old age found that Bishop took the time to make sure that their last moments were spent in comfortable and clean surroundings and on occasion he took it upon himself to personally pay for their funeral expenses when their families were unable to do so.

Death is inevitable. When a family found itself grieving at the loss of a loved one the membership could count on Elder Howard being at the funeral. If the funeral was held at Bethel he would officiate, but it the services were held in another section of the country, he would board a train or plane, and much to the surprise of the bereaved, Elder would be there to greet the family at the door of the church.

He loved those whom God had given to him to pastor and he was godly protective to a fault. No minister could go out to preach unless you ran the proposed speaking engagement by him prior to accepting the date. He wanted to make sure that no one took advantage of those who were placed under his charge. You could not randomly visit other congregations because he was concerned about the content of the “spiritual diet” which would be served during those services. You could always hear him say “that you can’t sit or eat at everyone’s table”. This tacit ensured him that those who went out did not bring home any strange doctrines which he would later have to correct. This practice did not sit well with everyone, but in hindsight, we became better men and woman of God because of his tireless convictions. He made his people strive for the “faith that was once delivered to the saints”. We had a standard to live up to and he made sure that no one who went out would be accused of bringing a reproach on the ministry because of compromising behavioral patterns.

Those who accepted their “call to ministry” were put through many tests by the pastor to make sure that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you had truly y called of God to minister. On many occasions, he would call you up in the early evening or late at night and tell you he was stopping by and he would pick you up, take you for a snack, lunch or dinner and during those candid sessions  Elder would lay various “pearls of wisdom” on the heart of the listener. Those who listened with intent went on to greater dimensions in Christ. He knew the value and the importance of mentoring those who were placed under his charge. 

Elder Howard‘s accomplishments and special achievements were legion. Like others, he too recognized the need to advance in the field of religious studies and matriculated at Howard University and later went on to receive a Doctorate of Divinity degree from Trinity Hall College and Seminary.

Some of his outstanding achievements included:

Who’s Who in America and Religion
Founder and Director of Howard’s Preschool
Founder of the New Bethel  Book and Record Store
Man of the Year Award – COGIC Religious Worker’s Guild
Special Achievement Award – COGIC Religious Worker’s Guild
Bicentennial Edition of Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans
Men of Achievement-International Bio Centre in Cambridge, England
Howard University Seymour House Humanitarian Award
Shaw Community Center Food Committee
Radio Station WYCB Minister of the Week
Board Member-Council of Churches of Greater Washington
Member of the COGIC Housing Committee and National Adjutant
National Radio Broadcasting Promoting Access and Excellence Award
Certificate of Appointment to Apostolic Delegate to United States Capitol
Certificate of Meritorious Service-U. S. Air Force Chief of Chaplains

He was very proud of the invitation which was extended to him by Delegate Walter Fountroy, (the DC Non voting Delegate to Congress)to be the Guest Chaplain – United States Congress, U. S. House of Representative.  Elder Howard gave the opening prayer at a joint session of Congress. He accepted and kept a printed copy of the prayer in his office as a reminder of the high honor that had been  afforded him. On several occasions, Elder Howard was also called upon to accompany the Chief Apostle of the Church of God in Christ, the late Bishop James Oglethorpe Patterson to the White House.  One of the invitation was for a State Dinner for the Brazilian President.  During the administration of the late Chief Apostle Ford, he represented the COGIC at the White House while under President Bill Clinton’s administration. Thereafter, he received a certificate from the White House for his involvement on the National Day of Prayer program. During the Chief Apostle Gilbert Earl Patterson, he experienced his last visit to the White House as a representative for the COGIC.

The Jurisdiction and National arm of the Church of God in Christ recognized his many talents and they rewarded him by appointing him to become the Jurisdictional Youth President, Vice National Director  of the COGIC Youth Congress Chorus and  Superintendent of the Number 4 District within the District of Columbia.

Under Bishop Warren Crudup, he rose to the rank of First Administrative Assistant to the Bishop.  After the demise of Bishop Crudup,  on February 10, 1998 he was uncontested and unanimously chosen by his peers to be elected to the Sacred Office of Bishop and on May 23 1998, he was installed as the Jurisdictional Prelate for the Washington, DC Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction with all of its pomp and circumstance by the Chief Apostle Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, the Rt. Rev. Chandler D. Owens.

Upon being elevated to the rank of Bishop, the newly consecrated Bishop Howard  lead the jurisdiction to take the yearly jurisdiction convocations to another level.  The Official Day Ceremonies were held in the newly constructed DC Convention Center. Churches were added to the fellowship.  As the chief administrator of the jurisdiction he was able to form a very prayerful and supportive cabinet (Superintendents)  and  dedicated departmental leadership team.  With a very cooperative, loyal and highly respectful team worker; Women’s Department  Supervisor-Dr. Evelyn B. Spears, he was able to move this jurisdiction to an awesome and outstanding post in the brotherhood.    

Bishop Howard, was one of the first jurisdictional  prelates to  appoint a female jurisdictional administrator (Evangelist Diane Crocker McBrayer) to the Office of the Jurisdictional Secretary. 

He also initiated, with the cooperation of each pastor, an updated tithing system for sustaining a solvent financial support to the work.  Above all, he was able to accomplish each goals for the benefit of the jurisdiction due to a very active and supportive Pastor’s Council and the Great Saints and well-wishers of the Washington, D. C. Ecclesiastic Jurisdiction.

Bishop Howard was blessed with a most humble nature and an indescribable love for God's house and for God's people.  He was a remarkable leader who, even after becoming bishop, he still possessed a servant’s heart.  Because of this unique spirit, he will always be remembered throughout the COGIC brotherhood.

There is an old Russian proverb which asks the question “how long will a person live” and the response comes back “for as long as they are remembered”.

Bishop Sherman Scott Howard lived and will long be remembered by those whom he touched. We are blessed because a giant walked among us and we were able to be touched by him.

On December 11, 2004, an angel came during the early morning hours and ushered Bishop Howard from labor to reward.  He fell asleep on this terrestrial ball we call earth, but awoke on the distant shores of heaven.  Oh, what a leader God had given us!



October 1955
Found and organized the New Bethel Church of God in Christ, 1123 S. Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

May 1963
Acquired and relocated to larger church worship facilities at 5714 Georgia Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C.

May 1972
Acquired and relocated to present church edifice at 6440 Piney Branch Road, N.W., Washington, D.C.

June 1972
Established Howard’s Pre-School.

October 1974
Received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Trinity Hall College and Seminary, Springfield, Illinois.

October 1975
Received “Man of the Year Award” (Citation of Special Commendation) from Religious Workers’ Guild, Church of God in Christ, International.

May 1976
Received Special Achievement Award from Religious Workers’ Guild, Church of God in Christ, International. Listed in Picture Guild to Black America, Washington, D.C.

1976 - 1977
Selected to appear in the 1976-77 Bicentennial Memorial Edition of Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans.

April 1977
Opened New Bethel’s Book and Record Store, 6440 Piney Branch Road, Northwest, Washington, D.C.

March 1979
Recognized in Men of Achievement 1979 -International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.

January 1980
Received the Humanitarian Award from Seymour House at Howard University, Washington, D.C. Listed in Who’s Who in Religion, Second Edition in Marquis Who’s Who Publication Board.

October 1980
Recognized for valuable contributions and services to Shaw Community Center Food Committee, Washington, D.C.

November 1980
Received a Certificate of Achievement Award, WYCB, Washington, D.C. - Selected as Minister of the Week.

April 1981
Cliff Richards, a noted gospel singer from London, England, appeared on a live telecast of our Sunday evening broadcast. This program will be viewed at a later date over TV Station BBC in London, England.

May 1981
Served as guest chaplain for the U. S. House of Representatives for the 97th Congress. Offered the prayer before the full session of the House.

Radio Personality:
1946 - 1950, WOOK
1950 - 1952, WUST
1952 - 1958, WEAM
(First Male Religious Announcer)

Council of Churches of Greater Washington
Board Member of the Council - representing the Church Of God In Christ.

May 23, 1998
Consecrated to the Sacred Office of Bishop and installed as Jurisdictional Prelate of the Washington, DC Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction .