The early history of Glad Tidings Assembly of God had two threads of ministry led by two pioneers of the Pentecostal faith in Houston. Mother Luster Hayes began her ministry as a credentialed “Home Missionary” (women were not initially allowed to be called Pastors) with her vision for the city in 1916 when the newly formed Assemblies of God was only two years old. Her son, George O. Hayes, eventually assisted his mother in the early days being converted from being a professional boxer and having a powerful evangelistic ministry.
Her church eventually was named Studewood Assembly of God, and she was followed as pastor by Rev. E. J. Robison for a brief time until Rev. Willie Houston Summerall became the pastor.
In 1934, Rev. William Law at the invitation of Otto and Louise Schuenemann (parents of Evelyn McLamore) became the first pastor of Brooksmith Assembly of God. Upon his departure to pastor in South Houston, Rev. Willie Houston Summerall led a merger of the two congregations in 1942, and pastored the newly named Glad Tidings Assembly of God until 1948. Rev. Lester Summers then pastored for a brief time before Rev. Grady Q. Manley was elected in 1948.
Rev. G. Q. Manley pastored for 23 years until his death in 1970. During his pastorate the church purchased the current property and built the initial building known as “Manley Chapel.” The church saw significant growth during a series of powerful revivals in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Following his pastorate the church called Rev. Laurell Akers to serve the congregation from 1970 until his retirement in 1990. During his tenure the church grew numerically and successfully completed two building projects including the Life Center and current Sanctuary and Educational Building.
Longtime Associate David Schultz was elected as the eighth pastor in 1990 and served the church until early 1997. Rev. & Mrs. Schultz are deeply appreciated by the congregation for their years of ministry both as Associate and Senior Pastor of Glad Tidings.
On July 27, 1997, the congregation elected Pastor Calvin & Beverly Durham as the ninth pastors of Glad Tidings. Under their 17 years of service the church obtained the adjacent properties through a series of purchases, and in November 2013 led the congregation to complete the pay-off of the debt on the property. In the ensuing years the property was enhanced with the development of a new entrance and state of the art sign. During the past three years the church has given the greatest missions contributions in church history with total ministry credit exceeding a hundred thousand dollars annually.
During the Durham’s pastorate the church has also been served by several faithful Associates – Rev. James Roger, Rev. Clyde Turner, Rev. Jon Nichols, and Rev. John Durham. Each of these men made significant contributions to the ministry outreach to the youth of Northwestern Houston. The church has also been served for over a decade by Music Ministers Gregory and Rebecca Caylor.
After a tragic 2009 paralyzing auto accident to Associate James Rogers, and a similarly difficult time in the life of Rev. John Durham with the sudden passing of his wife Laura due to an acute illness, Pastor John Durham joined the staff with his two sons in early 2010 as Associate Pastor. In the summer of 2011 he was married to former missionary Melissa Darnell. In December 2013 they were elected to become the tenth pastors of Glad Tidings upon the retirement of his father on April 6, 2014.
In 2015 Pastor John was diagnosed with a rare neurological genetic mutation. He continued to pastor Glad Tidings as faithfully as he was able. He adopted the phrase, "But God," knowing that despite all difficulty and heartache, God was still God and He was still in control. Glad Tidings stood faithfully by their pastor despite the growing challenges of the illness, and miraculously, the church continued to grow in strength, leadership and numbers.
September 1st, 2018 Pastor John received his ultimate healing when he passed into the arms of his savior with a smile on his face. The church remained steadfast to the Lord and served the Durham family faithfully as they all grieved their loss.
On March 17, 2019 Glad Tidings unanimously elected Pastor Samuel and Briana Reynolds and their four children from San Angelo, TX.
The future is challenging, bright, and strong for a church that is determined to reach its community for Christ with the power of the Pentecostal message that is true to our founding. The membership of Glad Tidings Church has always carried and felt a keen burden for those who need to receive the message of Christ’s grace and love through redemption.
If you would like to know more about the history of the Assemblies of God,