House of Prayer #2 Apostolic Church of God was founded on March 6, 1976 in Fischbach, West Germany. Our founder is Elder Henry William Seemore of Chicago, Illinois. Why the name? The name was derived from House of Prayer Apostolic Church of God of Kankakee, Illinois, which is House of Prayer #1. It was there that Elder Seemore heard the gospel and received his salvation under the shepherding of Pastor Ella Mae Davis.
One night, Elder Seemore had a dream about a small place in Germany where he would pastor. In December 1975, he was sent to Germany on military orders to a small isolated army depot. After arriving, he attended the local chapel service where Chaplain Smith was the depot chaplain. Three months later, after seeing the spiritual condition of the souls on this small depot, God inspired Elder Seemore to start a “real” service for the people. This was our beginning. After much fasting and praying, the first service was held in the chapel on March 6, 1976. As a result of that fasting and praying, the service was a true success with 42 persons in attendance.
Subsequently, Elder Seemore opened up his home in a little village called Schernau where he began to teach the word of the lord. Many souls were filled with the Holy Ghost in his living room. A local lake was used to baptize these souls in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins. The congregation grew rapidly. Under elder Seemore’s leadership, the church had an active board of directors, deacon board, missionary board, senior usher board, junior usher board, hospitality committee, yearbook committee, Sunday school, pastor’s aide, and children’s church, nurse’s guild and a recreation committee, senior choir, male chorus and sunshine choir. The church became well known in the Fischbach, Pirmasens, and Muenchweiler communities. Many souls came and heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, obeyed the gospel, and were baptized in the local lake (Sabacherhammer). Much was done to further the gospel and extend the kingdom of God. We had musicals, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day services, Christmas programs, banquets and fashion shows; other services rendered included infant dedications and weddings.
Elder Seemore continued with the vision he had and the prophetic word received from Pastor Ella Mae Davis who told him before he ever left going to Germany saying, “son, God’s going to use you to pastor” and to sister Seemore, “you must be strong because God is going to use your husband…” all that took place in Germany was a fulfillment of a vision and prophecy. Many things were accomplished by the church; a strong impact was made in the surrounding German communities as well. Many of us remember the Sundays that the Germans would come and stand on the banks of the Sabacherhammer lake to observe souls being baptized in Jesus’ name. We also had tent revivals, which were almost unheard of there. The accomplishments were so many that Elder Seemore, was recognized by the United States Army European Chief of Chaplain’s office with a volunteer award for selfless dedication and commitment in ministry. We remember the word being the most important of all because we understood that it is the word that would surely keep us. We also remember such dynamic messages as “I’d rather fight than switch”, “Who slapped him?” And “His hand is stretched out still”, just to name a few. Through Elder Seemore’s preaching and teaching, many souls were saved, delivered and set free from the bondage of sin. Elder Wise and Sister Wise were two of those souls who heard the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and were saved.
On December 25, 1978, Minister Ricky Alan Wise of Attalla, Alabama was installed as assistant pastor where he served faithfully until June 1979. In 1979, Elder Seemore was to return to the United States (Boston), his orders being cut by Uncle Sam but nonetheless, ordered by God. Preceding Elder Seemore’s departure from Germany, the mantle was passed from him to his assistant pastor, Minister Wise. As Elijah passed on his mantle to his faithful servant Elisha, likewise did Elder Seemore and Minister Wise was installed as pastor of House of Prayer #2 Apostolic Church of God on June 6, 1979. God continued to bless the ministry of the church where the needs of the people were met. In August 1980, Minister Wise became a licensed Elder with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Incorporated. The P.A.W., as it is known, is headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Elder Wise remained as pastor of House of Prayer #2 until he was directed to Boston, Massachusetts on November 12, 1981. Elder Seemore was there and there is where Elder wise joined his pastor in his vision for the start of House of Prayer #5, Apostolic Church of God.
Elder Wise was again the assistant pastor to Elder Seemore at House of Prayer #5 until December 23, 1985 where by divine providence, Elder Wise returned to Germany with a vision and a mission to labor in Europe for the Lord. However, this time instead of a small out-of-the-way army depot, Elder Wise was strategically placed in the multi-cultured, European gateway city of Frankfurt. The work of the Lord began in Frankfurt with home bible studies, street witnessing, and home visitations – all in order to let those who dared know that the word of truth was here. The first worship service in the gateway city was held on April 19, 1987 with 29 persons in attendance. The work continued to grow and souls continued to be saved. Elder Wise remained pastor until June 1989, when he again departed Germany for Boston, Massachusetts by divine appointment. The mantle was then passed to Elder Jesse Jenkins, Jr. of Columbus, Indiana who continued to do a great work despite being stricken with a life-threatening disease called Myasthenia Gravis, enduring much suffering to the glory of God. God, who is always so faithful, brought him through a refining process. The bible says in Isaiah 48:10, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Elder Jenkins was refined. As Paul wrote to the Philippians (Phil. 3:10), “That I may know him in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering.” This same Paul was given assurance by the Lord that, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” God continued to bless and keep Elder Jenkins until he called him to his final rest.
With the drawdown of military troops in Germany, many of the saints had moved back to the United States. Now, House of Prayer #2 has its place on the continent of North America. A change of venue does not mean a change of conviction. The prophet Daniel along with the three Jewish young men, Hannah, Meshiel and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego as we know them) all had a change of venue but never changed their conviction nor their love and commitment to God. Elder Seemore was the vessel that God used for the foundation. After the foundation was laid, God needed a vessel to continue the work. The Bible says, “…the foundation of God standeth sure…” this work has continued because Jesus declared, “that upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Not that the work is built on a man but on the rock (Jesus – the rock of ages). Further, the bible says, “…except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that buildeth, except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Elder Wise and Elder Jenkins built on the foundation that was laid.
Elder Wise understood that God never started any work that He didn’t finish. While serving as assistant pastor to Elder Seemore (now serving as District Elder) he began to seek the Lord concerning where he should go and what he should do. In December 1993, Elder Wise retired from the Army only to come to Georgia. Elder Wise recalls, “I was once stationed in Georgia (which they once called the state of adversity because at that time, ‘I was without God and without hope in the world’. I said, “if I ever get out of Georgia I wont’ be back.” After arriving in Georgia again a number of years later, Elder Wise said, “I knew that this was the place God wanted me to be.” Elder Wise knowing what God had put in his heart to do in Marietta, Ga. also understood that it is one thing to be called, but an entirely different thing to be sent. With that understanding, he led his family to worship with Elder J.D. Guthrie (now Bishop) at First Apostolic Church until God would give the order to start the work that he had put in his heart. Elder Wise also recalls, “I was in service one day at First Apostolic Church and the Lord reminded me what I had said many years ago; I know you said that if you ever got out of Georgia, you wouldn’t be back, but where are you?” Elder Wise said, “I know that God has ordained that I should be here ‘… for such a time as this.’”
In July 1998, Elder Wise went to District Elder Guthrie (now Bishop) and told him that the Lord has given him the green light to go ahead with the work of the Lord in Marietta, Ga. Elder Wise also spoke with his pastor, District Elder Seemore (now Suffragan Bishop) concerning what God had given unto him to do and the use of the name House of Prayer #2 Apostolic Church of God. On July 19, 1998 the House of Prayer #2 Apostolic Church of God had its first service at Elder Wise’s residence in Marietta with just his family. Bible studies and home visits had already begun and yet there was so much work still to be done. Our pastor tells the story occasionally where he would drive around the city only to see that houses of worship were dark and shut up tight and with no worship on nights that saints were most accustomed to being in service. Elder and Sister Wise continued to pray and believed by faith that since God gave the vision, He would also give provision. Many things began to take place in support of the vision and family and friends offered prayers and lent financial support toward the work of the Lord. The Lord began to add to the church. The first soul was saved in the house after hearing the message by Elder Wise, “And the just shall live by His faith.”
Elder Wise told of one evening while driving home, the Lord spoke to him to turn in to this shopping center that he would pass by each day for a number of months where he noticed butcher paper covering the windows to inquire about the space. He met the owner of the plaza who allowed him to look inside at an area that was approximately 4,650 square feet with a bare concrete floor. As the two began to discuss a possible lease agreement, Elder Wise recalls, “I just began to pray while he was talking and my mind just seem to run at warp speed and I was able to see what could potentially be done with the space.”
After a period of time had gone by, the wheels were in motion and God was at work on the behalf of His people. Approximately one (1) year later, Pastor Wise was driving home on his usual route and he heard the Lord say, “turn in.” He went in the store and the owner was there and asked him did he find a place, and Pastor Wise told him not yet. The owner took him to see the space again. By this time, many of the ideas and thoughts that Pastor Wise had were already in place. Pastor Wise said, “it became very clear to me why the lord had us on ‘divine delay.” That was his way of providing many things for us before occupying the place he had given to us a year before.” Isn’t God good? The place was always for us, but it just wasn’t the right time to occupy it. Much work had taken place, physically and spiritually. God blessed us to be able to go out into the community and witness in the shopping centers, visit the elderly, help the homeless and others needing assistance and at the same time never forgetting what Jesus said, “I came to seek and to save that which was lost.” It has been one uphill climb after another, but God has been good to us and because He is oh so faithful, a number of souls have come in and been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins and filled with the Holy Ghost.
Having therefore obtained help from God, we continue unto this day knowing that if we would continue on and be faithful, the Lord will continue the great work that he has begun in us. We are bound and determined to continue in this work and to do that which Saint Paul succinctly said, “…press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” for “…we truly have come this far by faith.”