THE HISTORY of HODGE UPC
The Union Church in Hodge, Louisiana, was a building shared by all denominations in the year 1923. Sister Alice Bowman and Sister Faye Smith, residents of the Hodge community had received the Holy Ghost and invited Brother L.C. Hall to Hodge for revival services. In that revival, five more ladies received the Holy Ghost: Granda Belle Smith (who could read only her Bible), Gracie Smith, Allie Mae Smith (who played the pump organ), Leanna Massey, and Thelma Kelly. Thelma Kelly was only sixteen years old at the time. She recalled having lost friends and being criticized for “hanging around the old ladies.”
The pioneering ladies, having received the wonderful promise of the Holy Ghost, started meeting together for cottage prayer meetings, which were held every Thursday afternoon from 1923-1927. Each meeting reverberated with the sounds of prayer and praise, and included special requests of the Lord for a pastor.
In the winter of 1927-28, Brother S. L. Wise traveled to Hodge from Ansley, preaching services in the home of Gene Donaldson, Thelma Kelly’s father. Mr. Donaldson received the Holy Ghost during these meetings. In this revival Jim Kelly (Thelma’s husband), Arthur Sizemore, and Ode Alexandria were also added to the church. Shortly after a tent was pitched on Brother Donaldson’s property just outside the Hodge city limits and there many others heard the truth preacher under the pastorate of Bro. S. L. Wise.
Eventually, land was obtained and a sawdust floor tabernacle was erected. In a revival held by Brother and Sister Charles Hayes in the summer of 1930, eighty-three were baptized in Jesus Name and approximately sixty-five received the Holy Ghost. Following this surge of growth, a nice church building with a baptistery was erected on the same spot where the tabernacle had previously stood.
In 1932 a Camp Meeting was held in Hodge. These services were held in a tent pitched a short distance from the tabernacle building.
In 1937-38, the average attendance reported by the Hodge United Pentecostal Church was one hundred fourteen. In 1938, there was another great revival with Brother D. L. Welch and Brother W. E. Gamblin. Again, more than sixty people received the Holy Ghost.
In 1946, Brother S. L. Wise was elected District Superintendent and resigned the pastorate of the Hodge church. Brother J. T. Miller moved to Hodge and for over thirty years continued to serve as pastor of that congregation. Another strong influence on this congregation was the ministry of Sister Nettie Crout, a pioneer minister and evangelist. From 1945-1982, she attended the Hodge church when not involved in revival meetings.
Upon Brother Miller’s retirement in 1976, R. P. Bell was elected pastor. In 1980, upon Brother Bell’s resignation, O. C. Marler was elected pastor. Brother Marler served as pastor for six years, resigning in May of 1986. Mark L. Briggs was elected pastor and served until 1994. At that time, Bro. Jeff Stroud was elected pastor and continues to serve the church and community today.