Dr. James A. Watkins

Dr. Viola Addie Watkins
Deliverance Temple Church of God In Christ has been in existence for nearly forty years. Nestled in the hills of Kiehl Street in the city of Aliquippa, the church has become a beacon of light for those searching for a savior. In 1976, under the leadership of our founders Doctors James and Viola Watkins, the doors of Deliverance Temple were opened, just as Mother Vivian Harris, the overseer of what was then the Deliverance Temple Evangelistic Center, had prophesied. Elder and Sister Watkins were people of character, integrity, and wisdom. They were respected leaders, visionaries, friends, and mentors to many. Our founders stressed holy living while ministering to the whole man; spirit, soul, and body. Equipping the saints to serve was part of their mission. Dr. James A. Watkins was a great preacher. Multitudes were saved and healed under his ministry. He was a man of great faith and truly believed that “With God all things are possible.” Known as the “Mayor of Aliquippa”, he had a love for the common people, and his concern for the lost, least, and the little is what made his outreach ministry so effective. His many street meetings and tent services throughout Ohio, New Castle, Clairton and the community of Aliquippa, PA, were evident and life changing for many. He literally fulfilled the command of Jesus to go into the hedges and the highways and compel men to come. The radio broadcast, “Deliverance Time” with its theme, “I’m Looking for a Miracle”, proved to be a lifeline for those who were incarcerated, homebound, or just looking for some encouragement. Dr. Viola A. Watkins, affectionately called Sister Addie, played a very integral part of this ministry. She was an anointed, skilled teacher, astute in the Scriptures, and was eager for all to become stalwart disciples. Dr. Watkins was successful in organizing and teaching a four-year accredited Bible course corresponding with the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, through the Willa McKay School of the Bible in Pittsburgh, Pa. Both Elder and Sister Watkins received their Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the Trinity College and Seminary in Denver, Colorado on April 20, 1986. Throughout Sister Watkins’ teaching tenure, we have covered many topics: Salvation, Sanctification, The Holy Ghost. Other topics such as: All God’s Creatures, Marriage, Divorce, Training Children, Dysfunctional Families, and When Addiction Comes to Church, just to name a few. During these times of learning, everyone was given the opportunity to exercise and develop their gifts and talents. There have been many pastors, elders, ministers, and missionaries that were birthed through this ministry. Throughout these thirty-five years, the ministry has grown phenomenally. Beginning in 1976, four members of the church, Sister Manzella Cummings, Sister Annette Leverette, Sister Vernell Simth (all deceased), and Sister Winifred Lyles, formed a building fund. In September of 1977, Pastor Watkins, Minister Eric Potter, and Deacon Carley Thompson (deceased) flew to New Jersey to the Deliverance Temple Evangelistic Headquarters to purchase the building from Apostle A. Skinner. The marriage of Minister Eric and Sister Linda Johnson commenced the first remodeling of the church. The building, with its high ceilings, blue walls, and folding chairs began to take a new formation. Brother Henry Johnson, Deacon Hadley Harvey and Deacon Alfred Watkins (deceased) dropped the ceilings, changed the platform, put in new carpet, paneled walls, and put in a new furnace. Elder Jerome Dallas was instrumental in having the pews from the church of God in Christ in New Castle, Pa donated to the church. In 1978, the mortgage of the church was burned and the late Bishop Gordon E. Vaughn officiated. As the church began to grow, the Lord continued to add daily from those being saved. Mother Ann Dawkins became our Director of Education. The Choir was trained under the leadership of Minister Clarence Epps from Akron, Ohio with Sisters Roberta Watkins, Henrietta Worthy, and Barbara Taylor as directors, and Sister Dorothy Watkins-Gill was the organist. We had superb praise leaders and soloists such as Sister Eva Mae Fordham, Sister Vivian “Bip” Hines, Sister Valerie Stevenson, Sister Constance Gaskins and Minister Charles Washington, just to name a few. Sister Eleanor “Tiny” Kimbrough, Sister Josephine Saunders (deceased), Sister Marcella Ward and little Joshua Lay served as prayer warriors. There were many (too numerous to record) individuals that have played a vital part in the ministry. Deliverance Temple has literally become a place of deliverance. Some came and still remain, some chose to worship elsewhere, while others have gone on to receive their just reward. In 1994, while remodeling the church, heavy rains caused severe damage to the church building. We were blessed to network with Pastor Edith Washington and Rehoboth C.T. Tombs Church of God in Christ for one year while the church was being repaired. In 1995, after new walls, ceilings, and floors were installed, and new carpet placed on the floors, we returned to our beautiful place of worship. In 1996, Dr. Watkins’ health began to fail but the Lord kept the church together with very few, if any, parishioners leaving. For five years Elder Marvin Moreland, Dr. Addie Watkins, and Elder George Gaskins kept the church going. On Dec 16, 1996, Dr. Addie Watkins had a massive heart attack and on January 3, 1997, she went from labor to reward. Pastor James Watkins’ health continued to worsen and he went home to be with the Lord on August 27, 1998. Though we have faced many challenges throughout the years, we have truly come this far by faith. Deliverance Temple, with our rich history and heritage, will never forget the sacrifices of our founders and elders. Building on the holy and sacred foundation that they have laid, the church continues to strengthen the walls of the ministry that the enemy have tried so many times to destroy. Continuing the legacy of holiness is our current pastor, Elder Marvin Moreland and First Lady Charisse Moreland, who graciously accepted the torch of ministry on October 28, 1998. Pastor and Evangelist Moreland are great visionaries, wonderful preachers, and teachers, and highly anointed and focused. God has brought them into the kingdom for such a time as this and we are extremely grateful. Pastor Moreland endeavors to maintain consistency with the auxiliaries under his care as well as creating others. His love for God and his parishioners are evident even as he takes time to develop in our children, a creed of encouragement recited each Sunday. His outreach ministry is second to none, having committed himself to helping those that are incarcerated or in group homes. Deliverance Temple’s After-School Program has also been successful. Incorporated into these teaching components are, It’s All About Me girl’s group, and What About Me? Boy’s group and also, our ROOTS program, Reaching Over Obstacles To Succeed, under the direction of Selenna Moreland. R2R Daycare & Learning Center has been in operation since 2005, located at 468 Franklin Avenue. It has been a haven for children placed in its care. Pastor Moreland’s motto is “reaching the lost at any cost” and “reaching the Heart of Aliquippa and beyond”! Deliverance Temple seeks to be a biblical ministry of excellence designed to encourage life transformation through our fivefold ministry. We strive to be compassionate in our love, excellent in our service, holy in our living, and reverent in our worship.