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Elzie W. Young

Presiding Bishop


ELZIE WILLIAM YOUNG (Oct 13, 1913 - Dec 27, 1989) was born in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, the son of Levi and Julia White Young Burton. He was educated in Kentucky at Ruddell Elementary School, Dunbar High School, and St. Mary's College. On March 28, 1932, Young married Ruby Edgerson and their union produced nine children: Billie Mae, Elzie, Ruth, Miriam, Thelma, Mark, Julia, Samuel, and Benjamin Young. After Ruby’s death in 1974, he married Dianna Gray with whom he had two sons, Everard and Ephrim. He was preceded in death by Billie Mae and Ephrim.


Before his call to the ministry, Young found employment as a racehorse jockey. The exciting career proved too difficult for his limited experience, however, and he turned toward his true calling – preaching the gospel of Christ. Young’s spiritual conversion took place at Christ Temple Church in Lexington, Kentucky, under the pastorate of Elder H.T. Moore. He acknowledged his call to the ministry and evangelized all over the country for a number of years before founding Greater Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1950. Starting with just four members, his church grew into a vibrant soul saving station with more than 800 members. 


In 1957, Young joined the newly formed Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith founded by Bishop Samuel N. Hancock. He was elevated to the bishopric at the first national convention in 1958. Upon the death of Bishop Hancock in 1963, he became the assistant presiding bishop and a year later, he became presiding bishop. Young's first years as presider were faced with a turbulent schism and battle for the leadership position that threatened the life of the organization. With just $5 in the treasury when he began, he successfully turned the PCAF into a million dollar institution by the time of his transition and was credited for providing strong leadership during the crisis.


Bishop Young died on December 27, 1989, at the age of 76. The Elzie W. Young Scholarship is named in his honor. Noted for a steady, faithful input into God’s work, he was the longest serving presiding bishop in the PCAFI with 25 years, having been chosen to serve a life term in that role.

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