The official birth of The National Sunday School Association (NSSA) is 1926 apparently on the recommendation of the P.A.W. By-Laws Committee. In 1927, the minutes of the National Sunday School Association meeting in Indianapolis as part of the P.A.W. Convention shows business of an organizational nature.
The original roster of officers is listed in thehistory recorded by Bishop Morris E. Golder as:
Brother Edward F. King (Indianapolis) Chairman
Brother R.M. Davis (Baltimore) Vice-Chairman
Sister Willa B. Howard (Indianapolis) Secretary
Sister Mary Johnson (New York) Asst. Secretary
Sister Anna Curtis (Hazelwood, PA) Treasurer
Terms of office were not recorded, and the exact date when the title of the NSSA leader was changed is not known. One of the organization’s yearbooks shows the roster as:
Elder Samuel Clemons (Chicago) Superintendent
Brot her James Gibson (Kansas City) Assistant Superintendent
Sister Geraldine Jackson (San Antonio) Secretary
Sister Elizabeth Golder (Indianapolis) Assistant Secretary
Sister Elva Grove (Columbus, OH) Treasurer
The roster of presidents for the NSSA, later changed to the International Christian Education Association (ICEA) includes the following people, many of whom were later elevated in ministerial ranks:
Brother Edward King (Indianapolis) 1926 to 1936
Brother William Webb (Indianapolis) 1936-1957
Elder Samuel Clemons (Chicago) 1957 to 1970
Elder Edward R. Sofer from 1970-1974
District Elder Cross (Los Angeles) 1974-1978
Elder Edward Sofer 1978-1982
Elder Harold Sawyer (Indianapolis) 1989-1995
Dr. Jerome Sheppard (Cleveland, OH) 1995-2001
Dr. Rosa Sailes (Chicago) 2001 to 2007
Sister Henrietta Bowers-Jackson (Conn) 2007-Present
There are a number of other elected officers who rendered service during the history of the National Sunday School Association. These have included:
Elder Jackson (Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer)
Brother Alfred Ector (Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer)
Sister Yvonne Ector (Asst. Secty, Secty, 2nd and 1st V.P.)
Sister Sarah Maggot (Asst. Secty, Secty, 2nd and 1st V.P.)
Sister Anna Bowers (Asst. Secty, Secty, 2nd and 1st V.P.)
Evangelist Francis Echols (Chicago) Secty
Pastor Aida Ford (New York) 2nd Vice President
Sister Hazel King Owens (Indianapolis) Secty 1945-1955
S/Bishop Edward R. Sofer served two terms as ICEA President, 1978-1995
National Sunday School Association Officers
Elder Edward R. Sofer, Chairman
Elder Andrew Cross, 1st vice Chairman
Elder Benjamin Day, 2nd Vice Chairman
Sister Sarah Maggott, Secretary
Sister Lucy Newman, Assistant Secretary
Elder Harold E. Sawyer, Treasurer
Brother Alfred Ector, Assistant Treasurer
Evangelist Lorene T. Gordon, Coordinator of Christian Education
Bishop Morris E. Golder, Auxiliary Bishop
Source: 1974 Minute Book and By-Laws National Sunday School Association of the PAW
International Sunday School Auxiliary Officers in 1985:
Elder Edward R. Sofer, President
Elder Harold Sawyer, 1st Vice President
Sister Sarah Maggot, 2nd Vice president
Sister Yvonne Ector, Secretary
Sister Anna Bowers, Assistant Secretary
Elder Woodward Jackson, Treasurer
Sister Johnnie M. Brown, Director of Cristian Education
Bishop Frank H. Branscumb, Auxiliary Director
Source: ISSA Yearbook. 1985 The Apostolic Light Press Stroy (In Part)
In 1969 the NSSA under the leadership of Bishop James Johnson as Director and Elder Samuel Clemons as President advocated for, and started publication of the Apostolic Light, the P.A.W. Sunday Literature. Serving on the committee to design the publication were Elder Morris Golder, District Elder F.L. Frances, Elder Henry Perry, Elder Benjamin Day, Sister Georgiana Stewart, Sister Winifred Lee, and Sister Alva A. Grove. Later, Elder Edward R. Sofer (Alabama) joined the ranks of those who physically labored so that Sunday School material could be written and published by the P.A.W.
The Apostolic Light Press was first known as Aenon Bookstore. The official birth date as a company was December 1, 1969. The first home of the press was in the basement of the home of the Elder E.W. Lewis family at 1073 W. Liberty Street in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sister Elva Grove and Elder Phillip Smith came down to help get the operation started. Bro. and Sis. Sofer and their three daughters, Sherrie, Regina, and Valli and Brother Thomas Phelps and a few others were the first of the voluntary staff. The first paid employee hired was Sister Marie Lewis. She was paid $17.50 a week for 20 hours of work, this sometimes became 25 to 30 hours a week but the pay remained at $17.50. The first publication was the adult department edited by Elder Henry I. Perry. It was the spring Quarter of 1970. The first lesson published was based on the second book of Acts (PRAISE THE LORD). The first exposition was written by Elder Morris E. Golder and 4,500 copies were produced. About six weeks after Aenon Bookstore was officially started, the demands of the operation made it necessary for Bro. Sofer to give his full time attention to the operation. He resigned from his job at the Post Office after being there over thirteen years. It would be almost a year before he received any pay working at the Apostolic Light Press but the Lord graciously provided for him, his wife, Sis. Sofer and three daughters, Sherri, Regina and Valli. Suffragan Bishop Larry Hunt succeeded Suffragan Bishop Sofer as editor in chief followed by former ICEA President , Dr. Rosa Sailes, as Editor in Chief.
This is by no means the entire Apostolic Light Story and by no means does it end here. The Apostolic Light philosophy will continually be engraved in our hearts and echo in our ears.
Source of above information taken from Article written by Elder Edward R. Sofer in the International Sunday School Yearbook Volume XIII , 1976.
The Birth of the Regions
The notion of regions and regional directors is evident in early yearbooks where the word “Council” appears to be synonymous with the term “Region.” Later the regional concept wasdeveloped in an effort to take the Convention to those who might not have been able to attend the annual summer event. An International Director of Christian Education was named and six Regions were identified, each comprised of at least six councils. Regional Directors of Christian Education were assigned to each. Annually, regions plan a local conference which uses the ICEA theme and many local presenters to replicate the energy and knowledge of the summer conference.
Name Change For Coordinators of Christian Education:
The International Director of Christian Education (formerly called Coordinator of Christian Education and Educational Director) have included:
Sister Lorene T. Gordon (Kansas City, KS)
Sister Elva Grove
Sister Johnnie Brown (Detroit)
Dr. Georgiana Steward (Jamestown, NY)
Sister Betty Thomas (NC)
Past Regional Directors of Christian Education have included:
Sister Bernice LeBlanc (Region 6)
Sister Dorothy Jackson (Region 5)
Pastor Merthell Sanders (Region 4)
Dr. Jack Foree (Region 5)
Dr. Ruth Aaron (Region 6)
Evangelist Connie Wint (Region 3)
Dr. Dolorus Nevels (Region 5)
Evangelist Barbara Payne (Region 5)
Elder Kim Johnson (Region 1)
District Elder Doris Taylor (Region 1)
Under the guidance of the P.A.W. each auxiliary is assigned an Auxiliary Director from among the roster of Bishops. ICEA Directors have been:
Bishop James Johnson
Bishop Morris Golder
Bishop Harry Herman
Bishop Marion Shaw
Bishop Theodore L. Brooks
Bishop Alfonso Madden
In the late 1980’s the name of the organization was changed from National Sunday School Association to National Christian Education Association to be more inclusive of the issues and
concerns of educational ministries. Also during that period, Elder Richard Owens (Indianapolis) created the Model Sunday School to replace the Bible class format that had been used as Sunday
School for many years. In the late 20th Century all P.A.W. auxiliaries were renamed to include the title International in an effort to reflect the worldwide nature of the P.A.W. mission.
Following the death of Pastor Aida Ford in 2003, the ICEA instituted the Aida Ford Scholar Award in her honor. This distinction is given to a P.A.W. member who has published a book that is of value to Christian Educational ministry.
Recipients of the Aida Ford Scholar Award have been:
Bishop Theodore L. Brooks (2004) Region II
Dr. Barbara Reid (2005) Region V
No Entries (2006)
Sister WaLillian Tyson (2007) Region II
Elder Richard Schofield (2008) Region V
Sister Jada Smith (2009) Region II
Minister Karlton Harris (2010) Region V
In 2002, the ICEA instituted the appointed position of Youth Director to seek and involve young people in the ministry activities in the annual convention. Since that time, teens and youths from across the country have been actively involved as participants and presenters in the ICEA Convention.
Youth Directors have been:
Elder Kim Johnson (Hickory, NC) 2001-2005
Evangelist Juliana Stratton (Chicago) 2005-Present
In 2005, the ICEA instituted the Distinguished Scholar Award for those who had served nobly in elected or appointed office. In 2006, the ICEA will institute the Circle of Honor Award to recognize the service of volunteers who were faithful workers at the national level.
2005 DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS
Dist. Elder Edward R. Sofer
Dist. Elder Harold Sawyer
Dr. Jerome Sheppard
Sister Yvonne Ector
Brother Alfred Ector
Sister Johnnie Brown
Dr. Georgiana Stewart
2006 DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS
Suffragan Bishop John Green
Sister Bernie LeBlanc
Dr. Dorothy Jackson
Pastor Merthell Sanders
Suffragan Bishop Alfonso Madden
2006 CIRCLE OF HONOR
Sister Barbara Whiting
Dr. Cynthia Green
Dr. Genevieve Sheppard
Brother John Gilmer
Sister Ruth McDonald
Suffragan Bishop George Burns
Elder Carnest Mitchell
Celebrating 85 Years of Service, the fire of the ICEA, visionaries continues.
Suffragan Bishop Harold Sawyer
served as ICEA President from 1989–1995
Evangelist Rosa Sailes First Vice President
Sister Yvonne Ector, Second Vice President
Sister Anna Bowers, Secretary
Sister Patricia Browning Assistant Secretary
Brother Alfred Ector , Treasurer
Suffragan Bishop John Green, Assistant Treasurer
Sister Johnnie Brown, IDCE
Deacon Jerome A. Sheppard, Director of Public Relations
Bishop F.L .Smith Auxiliary Director
- This administration focused on Foreign Missions
- They knew the importance of God’s Word and the urgency to spread to other parts of the world
- Looking to West Africa, there was a strong interest in Togo, West Africa
- President Sawyer was inspired to write an ICEA Operational Manual which was eventually translated into French for Togo.
- To support the translations project, $300 wasraised and paid to the University of Ghana to complete the translation
- In December, 1990, a small group of ICEA delegates, including President Sawyer and Dr. Charles Scott, traveled to Accra, Ghana to teach seminars
- Dr. Scott was able to take 1, 600 Bibles with him distributing to the pastors and members of the 42nd Episcopal District of West Africa where Bishop G.F. Austin, was the Diocesan.
- Turning to the Soviet Union, this administration undertook the Moscow Project and donated 1,300 New Testaments to Russia
- Mission Fund Raising Efforts: Under this administration, there were special efforts to raise money for the Missions.
- These efforts were headed by “Sawyer’s Soldier’s, Deacon Sheppard, Dr. Jack Foree and Bro. John Gilmer
- This administration also awarded scholarships for students attending AENON Bible College
- During the summer convention held in New Orleans in 1991, the ICEA awarded over $2,250.00 in scholarship funds to AENON Bible College students
- This administration is credited with producing and distributing THE ORACLE, an informative ICEA newsletter headed by Deacon Jerome A. Sheppard, Editor in Chief
Deacon Jerome A. Sheppard
Served as ICEA President from 1995–2001
Sister Yvonne Ector, First Vice President
Sister Anna Bowers, Second Vice President
Sister Doris Taylor, Secretary
Elder Craig Howard, Assistant Secretary
Brother Alfred Ector, Treasurer
Suffragan Bishop John Green, Assistant, Treasurer
Dr. Georgiana Stewart, Director of Christian Education
Dr. Jack Foree, Assistant Director of Christian Education
Special Assistants to the President,
Elder Arthur H. Coleman & Elder Alfonzo Madden
- Motto: T-E-A-M (Team, Together Everyone Achieves More)
- Created the “YES WE CAN” Program This program reached out to a charitable organization located in the city where the Convention was held. The ICEA held a grand march and gave cash, Baby items and canned goods to the local charity.
- The Mission Room was also established under this administration. The room was set up and maintained throughout the Convention. The room was furnished with artifacts gathered from countries visited by the PAW Missions group. The room was also staffed with a representative from the PAW Mission’s auxiliary who was available to answer questions about the artifacts and share the needs of the particular country on display.
- F-M-O ( For Men Only) This session was held at each Regional Convention and the session was taught by President Sheppard or his designee. The men looked forward to this session.
- Lest We Forget. This was a special Memorial Service held at each convention to remember those who had passed on since the last Convention. These persons had been faithful as Sunday School Teachers, Superintendents, Pastors and Christian workers.
- The ICEA and AENON Exchange Program: People who attended at least three consecutive Regional Conventions received credit towards their education at AENON.
- The Appointment of Male Regional Directors: This administration is credited with appointing the first males as Regional Directors. Prior to this administration, all Regional Directors were female.
- • The appointments included: Elder Kim Johnson, Elder Alonzo Madden and Dr. Jack Foree
Evangelist Rosa Sailes, Ed.D.
Served two terms as ICEA President (2001–2007)
Executive Staff First Term Officers:
Sister Anna Bowers, 1st Vice-President
Pastor Aida Ford, 2nd Vice-President
Evangelist Frances Echols, Secretary
Sister Shari Patterson, Assistant Secretary
Sister Yvonne Ware, Treasurer
Dr. Sonya Taylor, Assistant Treasurer
Elder Kim Johnson, Youth Director
IDCE (No appointment)
Bishop Harry Herman, Auxiliary Director
Executive Staff Second Term Officers:
Dr. Sonya Taylor, 1st Vice-President
Elder John Hymon, 2nd Vice-President
Sister Dorothea Terry, Secretary
Sister Shari Patterson, Assistant Secretary
Sister Yvonne Ware, Treasurer
Elder Lee Wakefield, Assistant Treasurer
Evangelist Juliana Stratton, Youth Director
Sister Betty Thomas, IDCE
Bishop Theodore L. Brooks, Auxiliary Director
Region 1 – Elder Kim Johnson
Region 2 – Suffragan Bishop Arthur H. Coleman
Region 3 – Dr. Theresa Foster
Region 4 – District Elder James Rodges
Region 5 – Evangelist Barbara Payne
Region 6 – Elder Mervyn Lockwood
- • Developed an ICEA Youth Program and worked to merge all PAW youth programs into a cohesive partnership.
- Appointed Elder Kim Johnson as the first ICEA Youth Director and Evang. Juliana Stratton as the second ICEA Youth Director
- Revised the ICEA Constitution and Regional Guidelines Handbook so that all Regions followed the same rules, established goals and methods to evaluate progress and achievements within the Region.
- Instituted the ICEA President Address which always included updates on the annual ICEA
goals and programming
- During the 2008 Convention, “The Edward R. Sofer “Chair” was installed.
- A “chair” is an academic honor awarded to a scholar or teacher in recognition of past and potential original contributions to the individual’s academic discipline.
- Given the works of S/B Sofer, this is a fitting tribute and an opportunity to further his legacy and concerns for the success of the ICEA and PAW
- Introduced cutting-edge topics not previously dealt within the ICEA: Abuse, educational policy and brought in world class speakers to the conferences.
- Identified officers duties and requirements for running for office including membership and skill-set requirements
- Revised programming structure to include “STRANDs” that insured programming was balanced and covered major areas, such as administrative support, technology and legal issues/policies.
- Revised the election process to include Forums to introduce Candidates seeking office to the ICEA body.
Sister Henrietta Bowers-Jackson
serves as ICEA President (2007–Present)
Executive Staff and Regional Directors:
Sister Yvonne Ware, 1st Vice President
Evangelist Barbara Payne, 2nd Vice President
Sister Shari Patterson, Secretary
Sister Robin Shaw, Assistant Secretary
Elder Lee Wakefield, Treasurer
Elder Robert Grant, Assistant Treasurer
Sister Betty Thomas, International DCE
Sister Juliana Stratton, ICEA Youth Director
Bishop Theodore L. Brooks, Former Auxiliary Director (2007-2010)
Bishop Alfphonzo Madden, Current Auxiliary Director
Region 1 – Evangelist Linda Carson
Region 2 – Suffragan Bishop Arthur H. Coleman
Region 3 – Dr. Theresa Foster
Region 4 – Sister Diane Winfrey
Region 5 – Dr. Dolorus Nevels (served until 2009)
Region 5 – Dr. Jean Massey
Region 6 – Elder Mervyn Lockwood
God’s guidance has allowed this administration to achieve the following accomplishments from 2008 through 2010:
- Instituted the Post Summer Convention Roundtable Summit Conference.
- Established a process to identify the best an brightest facilitators from each Region so they can be acknowledged on the National level.
- Introduced cutting edge technology i.e. Smart board and WORDsearch8 for use in the Sunday School classroom.
- Expanded the ICEA Youth program to include an agenda for college students who attended the convention but had no structured activities.
- Carried out the mandate of the previous administration to host the first Edward R. Sofer “Chair” Seminar. The first chosen topic was THE PLIGHT OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE.
- Developed an open dialogue seminar for current issues affecting the family. Sis. Johnnie Brown, the second ICEA Director of Christian Education, chose the need for grandparents as
mentors for her topic.
- This administration has established a forum to discuss and educate ICEA members on cutting edge topics such as Autism. This forum can and will be used for all issues that have not been
previously addressed in other venues.
Through prayer and a persevering fortitude for God’s guidance in the future of the ICEA, this current administration will strive to implement superior educational advancements.