It all began with a revelation from God to our great leader; a man of vision, inspiration and full of the spirit of God –Pastor David Perry. The Lord led him to introduce the concept of cell churches and house groups in the Kennington Assembly. In early June 1983, he approached me to start and lead the Walthamstow Cell Church as the first Leading Elder.
The first meeting took place in our family living room on Friday 17th June , 1983, with a core membership of: • My wife and I • the late Pastor Kenny Ogunji, Apostle in charge of the Luton area and his twin brother Sammy Ogunji, who later moved to Milton Keynes • Ola Epemolu, who became an Elder in Hackbridge and later moved to Glasgow where he was ordained as a pastor • Fred and Olivia Lamptey, who were later ordained as Elder and Deaconess in Kennington Assembly, and Fred ordained as a pastor at the Luton Assembly • Sis Silvia –Olivia Lamptey`s sister, (now of late) • Sis Genvieve, who is now Deaconess Quarcoopome in the Hackbridge Assembly • Daniel Fashe • Iyabo Olowoofoyeku who is now a deaconess in the Maidstone Assembly • Pastor Elijah Adedokun and his family who has relocated to Nigeria • Pastor Oyedeji & family, who has also moved to Nigeria • Mr & Mrs Eluyinka, now in Nigeria as an Overseer in his assembly. • Mr & Mrs Bakare now in another fellowship • Sis Grace Odunlami, who joined us in 1990 and is now a Deaconess • Sis Hannah Oluwayomi and her husband who joined us in 1987 and were later ordained as Deacon and Deaconess
We experienced such tremendous growth and expansion, both numerically and spiritually, that we no sooner we started, than we had to look for a bigger accommodation. Pastor Birkett Bennett who was ordained in Kennington as Evangelist, and later transferred to Ilford would occasionally visit Walthamstow Cell Church whenever he was in Ilford. Elder Sam Akinrinwa joined in 1988, and was recognised as a prophet. He was ordained on 15th July 1990.
PROGRESS AND CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP
After the recognition and ordination of Elder Sam Akinrinwa as a prophet, Pastor Weeks asked him to take over from me as the Leading Elder for Walthamstow. I am glad to say that we continue to work together and Walthamstow has in later years become a training school or centre. On two occasions, 27th April 1988 and 5th July 1988, the Lord spoke through prophecy and promised to turn the Walthamstow cell church to a fully-fledged assembly. The Lord said that we should all pledge to make ourselves ready and available. The third prophecy that came included the words, “…other people will soon join you.”
Brother Jimi Adeleye and family also joined us in 1988 and was later ordained as Elder and Evangelist. He went on to be ordained as Pastor for the Romford Assembly. Brother Eric Kari-Kari long with his wife and family joined us and he was later ordained as Elder and she a Deaconess. He is now a Pastor in the Kennington Assembly. Nelson and his late wife Regina, along with family joined us in 1989 and were later ordained as Elder and deaconess.
The Walthamstow Cell Church would meet on Friday evenings, which allowed members to come straight from work. People were happy and encouraged, illustrated in their regular attendance. My wife would provide refreshments at every meeting. The Lord moved greatly among us; the Cell church was growing and God was answering our prayers.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER GROUP
Our ladies have been a wonderful source of inspiration towards the growth and expansion of Walthamstow Cell Church, under the leadership of Deaconess Rhoda Akinde. Through our women’s group, the Thursday Intercessory Prayer Group grew and expanded, with the fire spreading to the other London Assemblies, including Kennington. Today the prayer group is populated by both men and women.
When our living room became too small, we moved to the Club Room under the tower block, and from there we moved to the Community Centre beside the tower block. We continued to experience the move and anointing of God in our meetings. On Friday 7th October 1988 we started Friday meetings at Kelmscott School and on Sunday 14th May 1989, we started our first evening service in Kelmscott School.
Pastor G Weeks was instrumental in bringing together the Ilford Cell Church and Walthamstow Cell Church. Pastor John Langford had started to attend Walthamstow Cell Church on Fridays and Elder Prophet Vic Atkins also started to attend our evening service and preach in Walthamstow. He later transferred from Ilford as full time Pastor in Bournemouth Assembly.
Sister Joyce and Tina Kari-Kari, also joined us from Ilford to became part of Walthamstow Cell Church. Sis Joyce was later ordained a Deaconess in Ilford Assembly. Many other people joined us in Kelmscott School, and there we started Bible studies in the classroom, led by Prophet Sam Akinrinwa. Those who joined then include Doris (now Mrs Ochei), Julius Famakinwa who is now an Elder, Lara Yusuff who is now a deaconess and Alex Edward, who is now a Pastor in Ghana.
The vision to start The Apostolic Church in Walthamstow would not have been a reality but for the sincere support, co-operation and dynamic leadership of our hardworking and enthusiastic Pastor Ian Meldrum. He is a wonderful encourager and an energetic man of vision and action. Behind a successful man or leader is a woman, and so I must mention our dear sister, Silvia Meldrum; may the Lord bless her.
When we were given the go ahead to become a full time church, Pastor Bennett, was ordained to be in charge of Walthamstow Assembly. On the 2nd February 1997, a full service started in Walthamstow at Willowfield School. Pastor Bennett, was inducted as the Pastor for Walthamstow Assembly .
During our stay in Willowfield School, we enjoyed a good time of fellowship and progress, until we faced contention with the neighbours, who raised concerns about the volume of our services, leading to the school requesting that we move out.
We then moved out to George Mitchell School and finally to the Salvation Army Worship Hall, at 434 Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4PY, where we are still are until now. Thank God after many years of concerted efforts of the saints, fasting and praying and with the cooperation of many other well-wishers, the Lord has now provided us with a permanent place of worship, a building of our own in Leyton! We have now purchased as a freehold property at 71 Vicarage Road, Leyton, E10 5EF. The building is now currently renovation and reconstruction or modernisation. This is the work of God, and it is marvellous in our eyes. To God be the glory. Pastor Ben and Deaconess Rhoda Akinde