The vision of Apostolic Faith Temple (AFT) came to fruition in April of 1974 under the leadership of Elder AZ Jones Sr. (now Suffragan Bishop Emeritus). Pastor Jones stepped out by faith with purpose and vision starting a work in the family room of his home located at 1112 Cumberland in St. Paul.
The newly formed congregation consisted of 2 adults and 5 children. The congregation grew rapidly and by August of 1974 the membership had grown to 35 members. In September of that same year the Lord open the door for Pastor Jones to purchase the old Goodrich Presbyterian church (seating capacity for 175 people) located at 305 Goodrich in St. Paul. The very first Sunday service was a festive and joyous one; as AFT was blessed by a surprise visit from the late Mother Mattie Smith and the Shiloh Temple congregation. Apostolic Faith Temple’s very first pulpit was donated as a gift from Mother Mattie Smith.
The neighborhood was then predominately White and was not very welcoming to a church with a predominately Black congregation. Despite the trials and tribulations encountered (break-ins, vandalism, and racially motivated taunts) Pastor Jones remained steadfast in the work (teaching, preaching, and praying for the sick) that God had called him to do. The church has continued to grow surviving internal splits, highs and lows of membership, and economic challenges.
Bishop Jones Sr. has been the Shepherd of AFT for thirty-five years and his deliverance and healing ministry has touched hundreds of families. He has also been privileged to administer and/or witness the sacred rite of baptism for more than six-hundred (600) plus individuals. The church currently has an membership of 275, of which many have come from the margins of society and triumphed over various addictions, cycles of generation poverty, criminal histories, low self-esteem and expectations, and have become productive members of society. Many of them have earned certificates, and under graduate and/or graduate degrees. Lives have been changed by the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Minds and bodies have been healed through informational and spiritual deliverance ministry of Bishop AZ Jones Senior.
In more recent years (in addition to the spiritual deliverance and healing) the ministry has actively focused its in-reach and outreach efforts on education, health and wellness, financial literacy, parent education, family enrichment, and civic engagement. Free meals have been provided every third Friday of the month, and food baskets have been distributed to the neediest in the congregation at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. However, the most successful in-reach and outreach to date has been the Four Corners of Financial Literacy and home buyer’s credit repair workshops. It was through these trainings that the AFT leadership learned that a number of families in the congregation had been caught up in the web of pay day loans.
Over the years AFT has touched the lives of many people but there has always been an undercurrent of complaint concerning the physical limitations and accommodations of the facility (in spite of the many updates). Class room space is extremely limited (one) and on any given Sunday there has been a five to fifteen minute wait in line to use the one stall ladies rest room. Many who appreciate and value the ministry have selected alternative places to worship based upon the lack of space for children’s programming and restroom accommodations. The facility is not accessible to the handicapped and certainly too small for the membership. However, there has never failed to be a faithful core of hard workers and worshipers at AFT, and the Spirit of the Lord has always moved marvelously in the Temple
Over the years Bishop Jones Sr. had been a faithful steward over the financial resources of Apostolic Faith Temple. His faithfulness provided the seed or earnest money for the purchase of 2.47 acres plot of land in the Frog town area of St. Paul. It had long been the vision of Pastor AZ Jones Jr. (now Sr. Pastor) to build a new worship facility, and purchasing the land was half of the battle. The membership prayed and fasted on Tuesdays from November of 2004 through January of 2005. In February of 2005 membership dug deep and gave miraculously and unselfishly raising the necessary funds to close on the property at 733 Pierce Butler Route, in St. Paul. However, shortly after purchasing the land AFT faced the threat of the City of St. Paul exercising eminent domain against the church. However, by the help of the Lord, excellent legal representation, and the efforts of some good folks in city and county government the issue was resolved in 2006.
In April of 2011, Apostolic Faith Temple officially changed its name to Piercing Faith Church. A solid foundation has been laid through the Vision of Emeritus Suffragan Bishop AZ Jones Sr. (and First Lady Susanna), and the Piercing Faith Church family is grateful for their labor of love and commitment to serving families over the past 35 years. We praise God for the increase He has given, and we know that what was sown over 35 years ago is now being reaped. It has been through purpose and vision that Piercing Faith Church has come to be what it is today.
Piercing Faith Church now has the preliminary site plans and facility drawing for a 20,000 square foot worship facility (inclusive of education space & computer lab), with a 500 seat sanctuary (plus overflow area), and 194 stalls of off street parking. We are energized by the vision that God has given to our new Senior Pastor Suffragan Bishop AZ Jones, Jr., and we have great expectations of the continued favor of God upon our fellowship, as we press forward with the construction of a new worship facility for Piercing Faith Church: “A Community Where Hope Lives”.