Welcome to the First United Pentecostal Family Church. Our Pastor, Rev. Dewaun Ashley refers to it as “the lighthouse that sits on a hill”. We hope that you will enjoy the trip as we travel back through time to celebrate what God has done. This beautiful facility we enjoy has not come about simply. It is the result of men and women that had a burden and a mind to work, and of course, the almighty hand of God.
Let’s look back to the early 1920’s when a few people that were hungry for God assembled in their homes and began to pray. In answer to their prayers God sent Rev. E.L. Stafford to become their Pastor. They met in a little white building on the corner of Trinity and Mansfield Road on the east side of Cleburne. They continued there until 1936 when Rev. Stafford moved on to do God’s work elsewhere.. Though they had no shepherd this little flock continued to meet for prayer. The birth of a church is never easy.
In 1945, Rev. J.E. Osborne became the pastor of the First Pentecostal Church at 321 Mansfield Road. The building which was 30 ft. by 40 ft. was turned around to face the east. In 1946, with great expectations Rev. Osborne affiliated the congregation with the United Pentecostal church (U.P.C.) in 1946. The first revival was held in July of that year. Thirty nine people received the Holy Ghost!
In 1949 Rev. L.W. Shaw from Louisiana (not pictured) came to Cleburne to pastor this beautiful work. Under his able leadership the church parsonage was erected. After 3 years his burden called him elsewhere.
On May 4, 1952 Rev. Donald Berry was elected pastor. On September 2, 1953 the old church was moved to the back of the lot and on Labor Day 1953 several men poured the foundation for a new sanctuary. On February 25, 1955 a building dedication service was held with Rev. V.A. Guidroz officiating. During the first revival held by Rev. Marvin Treece and Rev. Aubrey Jackson 21 people received the Holy Ghost and 10 were baptized. They started with 49 in Sunday School in May 1952. By September they had climbed to 131. Praise God! The Berry’s served Cleburne for almost 13 years.
In 1964 Rev. B. E. Moore and family came here from Port LaVaca, TX. They came with a mighty vision, a vision to move the church yet again. Thus the congregation had an opportunity to purchase 7 acres on the west side of town. It was located just the other side of the little bridge on Woodard Street. At that time the road turned into two ruts that led up to the property, which was a pasture. The present N. Ridgeway Dr. was initiated later as a gravel access from Woodard to Henderson. Only a man with a vision and a word from God could have been brave enough for such an endeavor. As usual, it took a miracle. They were racing against the clock to meet a deadline at the bank to pay on the land. After prayer, Rev. Moore visited a local grocery store. The owner asked about the church and Rev. Moore shared their need with him. The store owner immediately took Rev. Moore to his office and became God’s tool to meet the need. Rev. Moore rushed to the bank and the land was secured.
The first service was held in the new building at 1000 Woodard Dr. on May10,1970. What a mighty work God had wrought! In 1976 Rev and Mrs. Moore relocated to Austin TX. And our present Bishop, Rev. and Mrs. Ashley, Tonya and DeWaun arrived in October. At that time the congregation purchased l.5 additional acres of land adjoining the original property. New developments began close by. Schools were built as well as many major businesses along N. Ridgeway Drive.
In October 1985 a groundbreaking was held for a new fellowship hall. Before it could be finished in April of 1987 a tragedy struck, a horrible fire erupted in the church. Services were temporarily held at the Civic Center and eventually to a building downtown. Services were later held at the new fellowship hall upon its completion.
This present sanctuary that we have today will seat approximately 300 or more. We have a vision to fill every pew. This building has since gone through renovation of the halls, fellowship hall, the sanctuary, new window’s in the education department, new concrete parking lots and lights on both east and west side of the church. In 2008 a Sunday school annex building was added just behind the church.
Many beautiful saints have passed thru the Cleburne church since 1920. It has been their prayers, dedication and hard work that has made the First United Pentecostal Church of Cleburne what it is today. God honors his faithful.
In 2010 Rev. Dewaun Ashley was installed as the pastor of the First United Pentecostal Family Church and his father F.L. Ashley taking on the office of Bishop giving us the pastoral vision and leadership that comes from thirty six years of ministry in Cleburne, TX. This church has been blessed by the ministry of the Ashley family and we feel privileged to be a part of it. Only God knows what the future holds but our goal is to steadfastly stay the course and let God continue to use us to fulfill his plan.