Samuel N. Hancock
Founder and Presiding Bishop
SAMUEL NATHANIEL HANCOCK (Nov 9, 1883 - Aug 18, 1963) was born in Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky, to John and Charlotte Wheat Hancock. He migrated with his family to Indianapolis, Indiana, at the age of five where they settled in Norwood on the city’s south side. As a young man, Hancock joined Penick Chapel AME Church. His search for a deeper knowledge of Christ led him to Apostolic Faith Assembly (Now Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Assembly) under the leadership of Bishop Garfield T. Haywood where he was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.
Bishop Hancock was married five times, outliving all but one of his wives. He was first married to Bertha Valentine Hancock with whom he had two children, Norlin Winifred and Emma Geraldine. A year after the birth of his second child, his wife passed away, leaving him a young widower with two small children. He was then married to Annie Williams Hancock (d. 1938); Ida Howard Haywood Hancock (d. 1954; widow of Bishop Haywood); Anna Bell Davis Douglas Hancock (d. circa 1960), and Bertha Plunkett Jackson Hancock whom he preceded in death.
Called to the ministry, he was ordained by the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), and became assistant pastor to Haywood at Christ Temple. In 1921, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, to assume the pastorate of a small church which would grow to become the renowned Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church with a membership of more than 3,000 parishioners. His promise to “Do a great thing in Detroit” included the building of a home for aged women, the 3-story Temple Rest home for girls, a neighborhood carpentry workshop for boys, a confectionary and supermarket to aid people during the Great Depression, and donating to philanthropic causes.
In 1957, Hancock founded the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith Association, where he served as its presiding bishop until his death at the age of 79 on August 18, 1963. He left behind thousands of people drawn to Christ through his works and ministry, a thriving organization with hundreds of churches, and a spiritual and humanitarian mark on the city of Detroit and the world.