Howard Legacy Foundation
Founded 2005

Dr. Howard's Bio

The History of New Bethel Church of God in Christ

For more information,
please contact:

PO BOX 8044
Silver Spring, MD 20907
(641) 715-3900 Ext. 60887


Michael Hunter CPA, CIA, CISA, NCRM

Dr. Herman Tolbert Jr. PHD, DABPS
Chairman of the Board of Directors

Elder Vannest G. E. Wilkins
Vice President and Founder

Celebrating the life and legacy
of Bishop Sherman S. Howard

This is a biography of a man who lived in an aged which was dominated by men of prominence and great stature. Giants walked among us and although short in stature, this great man systematically managed to cast a long shadow among his peers. Shakespeare once wrote that “some men are born great, some men achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them” It is within this context and against this backdrop that our biography begins.

Bishop Sherman Scott Howard lived and ministered during an era much like that of the times which the writer, Charles Dickens, described in his novel A Tale of Two Cities. It was an era of new beginnings and yet “it was the best of times and yet the worst of times.” It was an era of new beginnings in which America found its national consciousness profoundly changed by the upheaval of overt racism which was languished under a huge racial divide. Martin Luther King marched for freedom and equality; Rosa Parks decided to stay in her seat and not to surrender it to white commuter and her civil disobedient and defiant action was the catalyst which shook the heart of a nation; A Roman Catholic senator ,John Kennedy, was elected the 41st President of the United States and far too earl1y into his first term an assassin’s bullet wrenched the President out of the lives of his family, his friends and a grief stricken nation; His brother Robert, the senator from New York, and the new hope of the Democratic Party a few years later was also cut down in the prime of his life at the hand of an assassin; Malcolm X, the prince of the Nation of Islam, was gunned down by rival factors within the Islamic sect from which he was spawned; The Russians sent the first satellite into space and the US countered by launching the first man John Glenn into space and countered this feat by later sending Neal Armstrong to explore and to become the first man to walk on the surface of the moon; the Bay of Pigs fiasco alienated Cuba, the USSR (the Soviet Union) and the United States and brought the world to the brink of war: Vietnam tore at the very core of our national resolve to continue to fight in an unpopular war; Watergate, and Billygate dominated the headlines. The newscasts and the front pages of the newspapers of the world alerted us to the dangers which enveloped and threatened to annihilate all mankind. And then came the Internet with all of its ramifications Our community looked for heroes and found them to be few in number. Our children longed for and lamented the fact that there were few African American male heroes for them to emulate. It is within the confines of this background that God sent a boy who would become the man whom God would use to make a difference in the Washington Metropolitan community.

Bishop Sherman S. Howard was born to the late Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Howard in Roanoke, Virginia.

His spiritual new birth took place in his hometown of Roanoke Va. and 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 fore and he often enhanced the service and thereby distinguished himself as he joyfully played the piano during those spirited services.

Brother Howard upon the conclusion of several successful evangelical campaigns relocated to and settled in the nation’s capital – Washington, DC. 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 and was given the responsible of directing and playing for the Temple Radio Choir. 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 dedicated coupled with his keen spiritual insight took him to the next level and he was ordained an Elder by the late Bishop Kelsey.

Elder Howard took his leave from the Temple Church of God in Christ and stepped out on faith and organized the New Bethel Church of God in Christ which he faithfully pastured for more than forty-two years. He stood flat footed and declared the unadulterated Word of God which was underscored and emphasized with a powerful deliverance ministry. Elder Howard seized upon the medium of radio and became one of the first ministers to become a radio dj on radio station WUST AM. His church radio broadcast burst upon the airwaves and his weekly Sunday evening back home hour broadcast brought the gospel community to a standstill when the program came on the air. 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 Elder Howard’s warm, personal and humorous personality 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.

Elder Howard had a keen knack for recognizing talent and thereby exposed his parishioners to the best in the gospel industry and the family of the Church of God in Christ. Many notable singers (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, Supt. Derrick H. Hutchins, Elder S. E. Mitchell, Elder Curtis Blake, Bishop Charles E. Blake, Elder Earl Carter, Apostle Richard Hinton, Bishop Richard “Mr. Clean White, Bishops J.O. Patterson and Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson) and so many others 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 nickname of “Mr. Hospitality” almost this august group of religious luminaries. To the members of the General Board of Bishops he was affectionately known as “Scotty”.

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.

Elder Howard was a man of complexity and he wore many hats during his lifetime. Upon the death of his father, he became a father to his sister, Josephine and brother, Lewis. At the death of his sister, Arlene he became the father to his niece, Carolyn and nephew, Clinton. When one of his early church mothers died suddenly, he adopted her daughter, Norman F. Brailsford in whom he affectionately called “Norma Jean”. That daughter later became the District Missionary of the Samuel Kelsey District which was formerly named 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 also took care of his own biological mother when she became ill and personally nursed her until her death.

Elder 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 mortgage notes for those who unfortunately fell behind in their payments. He took care of the sainted old fathers and mothers who had no families and made sure that they were either secure in their homes and also 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 warriors because many of them served wholeheartedly without complaints in the ministry in many capacities. It was many of those warriors who worked untiringly in the kitchen which helped to make the wonderful dinners that the church was highly noted for in its early years. He made sure that those warriors realized that their labor was duly appreciated...

He was very proud of the invitation which was extended to him by Delegate Water Fountroy, (the DC Non voting Delegate to Congress) to give 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 be afforded him.

The Jurisdiction and International arm of the Church of God in Christ recognized his overwhelming ministry and the many outstanding talents and awesome administrative abilities that Bishop Samuel Kelsey rewarded him by appointing him to become the First Superintendent of the Number 4 District, later named Samuel Kelsely District. Under the Administration of Bishop Warren G. Crudup, Sr. he rose to the rank of First Administrative Assistant to the Bishop. At the death 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 Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, the Rt. Rev. Chandler D. Owens.

Upon being elevated to the rank of Jurisdictional Prelate, the newly consecrated Bishop Howard lead the jurisdiction to take the yearly state convocations to another level and the Official Day Ceremonies were held in the newly constructed DC Convention Center, named after the first mayor of Washington, D. C. and a friend of Bishop Howard.

Oh What A Leader!

From the Desk of
Overseer Joseph E. Jackson, Jr.