Burlington Assembly History
In June, 1952, two Assembly of God families moved to Burlington, NC from the state of Missouri and Kansas. Finding no Assemblies of God churches in Burlington, it became necessary for them to travel to Greensboro to worship at the Assembly there or to worship at other denominational churches in Burlington. At about the same time, a young minister of the Assemblies named William J. Swain received a call from God to open a pioneer work in North Carolina and, along with his wife Sarah, began holding services elsewhere in North Carolina. Upon hearing of the need in Burlington and the foundation for a church that already existed there, the Swains moved to Burlington early in 1955, contacted the Assembly of God families living there, and began services in an old store building on Logan Street. By the middle of 1955 another young minister named A. J. Fox felt the call of God to North Carolina and moved to Burlington with his wife Colletta to assist in building the fledgling work.
In a very few months the Logan street facility became crowded and the church moved to another store building on Webb Avenue. By 1957 the church was of such a size and strength that it became possible to “set the church in order” and to purchase property and initiate construction on a church building of their own. Thus the church was formally organized with a Constitution and By-laws, named Burlington Assembly of God and incorporated in the State of North Carolina with a formal set of Articles of Incorporation on November 26, 1957. Property was purchased at 821 Tucker Street and that address became the “original location” for the church even though services were still being held on Webb Avenue.
Because of limited resources the church building was constructed by-and-large by members of the congregation and progress was quite slow. However, around the middle of 1958 it became possible to hold services in the basement of the church building while the main floor and roof were being completed. So the church joyfully vacated the Webb Avenue location and began worshipping in their own facility. The church building was ultimately completed and was dedicated in April, 1959.
Then, as so frequently happens in church history, soon after the building was completed, the founding pastor received a call from God to move on. So a succession of four other pastors followed Rev. Swain in rather rapid succession. They were Revs. Aubrey Sara, Andrew J. Frank, Charles V. Elliott and Peter DeLeon. Then came Pastor Howard Thompson in the fall of 1967 who ministered at Burlington Assembly of God for 16 years.
In 1973 the church facility was becoming overcrowded and it became necessary to expand. So a new sanctuary was built along with an interconnecting building between it and the old church building. Also, the old building was covered with brick to make it match the architecture of the new building.
By the middle of 1983 Pastor Howard Thompson felt the call of God to move on and so he resigned effective the end of September. Then in November, 1983 Associate Pastor Gene Lepard was elected Pastor of Burlington Assembly of God. Pastor Lepard served until 1988. During his ministry here, a new office complex was added and the first building for Burlington Christian Academy was constructed.
In August 1988, Pastor Howard Thompson was asked to return as senior pastor and resumed his ministry here for 25 more years until his retirement in 2013. Since 1988 the church has extended its ministry to include a retirement center featuring 20 – one bedroom apartments, another building which houses a soup kitchen (with meals served Saturdays and Sundays), as well as a fellowship hall for the church. Two more school buildings have been added and a gymnasium which bears Pastor Thompson’s name.
In January 2014, Associate Pastor Bryan Rainbow, was called and formally elected by the congregation to serve as Senior Pastor. The present staff also includes Jim Reder as Administrative Assistant, Rob Harrison as Youth Pastor, Arnold McQueen as Music Director, and Michael Brown, who serves as Burlington Christian Academy Administrator. As Pastor Rainbow leads Burlington Assembly forward, the congregation retains a deep appreciation and honor for its past and looks forward with expectant faith, vision, and strategy to continue to reach and minister to others in Burlington, Alamance County, and the world.