The Life, The Legacy, The Love
Bishop James Lathan Drewry
Founder and Former Presider
True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith
SUNRISE Our Bishop was born June 5, 1919 to the late Robert Drewry and Ophelia Mason and raised in Adams Grove, Virginia.
GROWING UP I received only a 5th grade education. He worked at the bakery for many years and later continued as a painter.
FIRST CALLING… (MATRIMONY) He was married to Annie Williams on February 25, 1939 and they together had seven daughters and six sons. He had an additional daughter by Irene Harris.
SERVICE DUTY AND HONOR He was drafted in the Army February 7, 1945 and was honorably discharged January 29, 1946.
BORN AGAIN Bishop James Lathan Drewry was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins by the late Apostolic Pioneer Bishop R.C. Lawson in 1953 at the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ located at 124th Street and 7th Ave in New York City, NY. He received the Gift of the Holy Ghost one year later on January 31, 1954.
STEWARDSHIP as a new convert, He served under Bishop R.C. Lawson and was called to the ministry while He served faithfully supporting the church. In 1957, He continued his walk under the leadership of Bishop S.C. Johnson and was with him from 1957 to 1963 in New York. When the Lord called Bishop S.C. Johnson to rest in August 1961, He began working with Elder Randolph Goodwin and served faithfully for 3 1/2 years until he went to work under Bishop Assar Foster as assistant Pastor and was ordained Elder and consecrated to the office of Bishop while under Bishop, Assar Foster in Bronx, NY. He had a love for the people of God and a calling upon his life.
SECOND CALLING (Forming of True Vine Church) The Lord in his wise providence lead Bishop to begin the ministry known at that time as the True Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith in Brooklyn, New York, where he pastored until 1972. In 1972, he founded the ministry under the new charter and name, True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where it remained until 1990. Soon after he and the saints moved to 310 North DuPont Street in Wilmington, Delaware. In 2000, the church moved again to the current location of 2702 West 4th Street, Wilmington, Delaware. The membership consisted of only10 members and the Lord began to bless the church and added more souls. The membership increased to about 40 faithful members. Bishop began a radio broadcast on WFHI in Delaware, where he Preached the True Word of God from 1990 to 2011. He and the church went through difficult times in 2011 when he was in the hospital and thought by many never to return. Bishop founded True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith in Milwaukee, WI and traveled faithfully 40 years. Bishop reached souls throughout Milwaukee, WI by means of broadcasting, teaching and preaching the True Word of God. He later ordained Elder Bennie Joyner and installed him as pastor.
THIRD CALLING… (MATRIMONY) He was married to Elizabeth Jordan on October 18, 2008, who stayed faithfully by my side up until time of death.
PASTORALSHIP and DEDICATION After his car accident and sickness, the enemies attempted to supplant and eradicate the church. Despite prophecies of doom and condemnation from man, the Lord continued building True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. The Lord Restored Bishop back to the position of power and influence within the apostolic movement. In 2012, he attended “The Repairers of the Breach Apostolic Alliance”, Youth Conference. After the youth conference he reached out to then, Elder Warren R. Palmer, Sr. and made known his desire to be a part of the fellowship with the brethren and also communicated his need and desire to receive support for the church in Delaware. The board of ministers acknowledged his soundness in the doctrine. Elder Warren R. Palmer, Sr., Senior Pastor and General Overseer of the True Vine Holiness Church of Jesus Christ of the Apostles’ Faith Inc. located in Rocky Mount, NC and Visionary/Establishmentarian of the Repairers of the Breach Apostolic Alliance, spoke with the board along with Elder Warren L. Tyler, the First Honorary Chairman & Advisor. To his great pleasure, he was recommended to hold the position of Second Honorary Chairman & Advisor, due to his time in the gospel and steadfastness in the doctrine. Without any hesitation all members welcomed the recommendation. Bishop was honored and felt a sense of spiritual renewal and sincere love through the gesture and action of what he recognized as his new sons in the gospel.
BRANCHING OUT… Bishop officially accepted the position of Honorary Chairman & Advisor during “The Repairers of the Breach Apostolic Alliance” fellowship in Wilmington, Delaware on April 28, 2013. He also hosted the services for that weekend. We along with the Saints of True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith ask for the continued prayers, from the body of Christ, as we desire to glorify God and continue the Apostolic Legacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. To Elder Jeffrey Brown, Elder Warren Tyler, Elder Donnell Lee, Sr., Elder Jeffrey Robinson and Bishop Warren R. Palmer, Sr., as Bishop Drewry has said in public, we brethren truly showed him what love is and how action speaks louder than words. He has also stated publicly and privately that he was touched like no other time in his ministry, seeing how collectively we brethren assured that Mother Drewry and he didn’t need anything during our time of hardship when their home was destroyed by fire.
TRUE VINE CHURCHES Many started out with us but they have gone astray but we held on to God’s unchanging hand. Bishop expressed how he watched the dedication of his newest son in the gospel Elder Warren R. Palmer, Sr. and his determination to uphold the Apostles Doctrine. He felt in my heart that Elder Palmer was the man for the job of carrying the works on. He said publicly that was honored and relieved when he named Elder Palmer the Successor and Assistant Pastor of True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith of Wilmington, DE during the 47th Appreciation Service on Sunday, June 15th, 2014. He expressed even a greater since of honor when he in turn was honored, humbled and surprised when Elder Palmer asked him to accept the position of Presiding Bishop of True Vine Holiness Church of Jesus Christ of the Apostles’ Faith, Inc. In the Words of our Bishop Drewry; “Although, man said my ministry was over, I accepted and was consecrated as the Presiding Bishop by my son in the gospel”. He also watched, being full of joy, while great men were ordained and licensed to serve within the ministry during the church’s 6th Annual Holy Convocation. Minister Donnell Lee, Sr. was ordained to Elder and Assistant Pastor of True Vine Holiness Church of Jesus Christ of the Apostles’ Faith, Inc.
DEATH…CHEATED SUNSET… Our Bishop was called to rest in peace on May, 22, 2015.
MY SICKNESS He lived 95 long years without any real sickness to speak of aside from the accident in 2011. He was very surprised when the doctors gave me the diagnosis of my multiple health issues. When he was made aware of my sickness he immediately went before the church and communicated that he had lived a full and prosperous life, he requested that prayers for his healing would not be offered unto God. Bishop felt the weight of his sickness on the hearts of the brethren and the saints of God but he knew this sickness was unto death. He thanked Mother Elizabeth Drewry for staying right by his side. Sister Cheryl you were also right there with him. Candace, he sure did stay on you about your life’s choices but you stuck right by his side until she went to Florida and he sent word to her, “that it was time to come home”. She came home right away and stood by Bishops side and along with Mother Drewry, you both cared for him day in and day out. You went with him to his hospital visits and stayed in the room just across the hall almost every night. Bishops #1, which he called Delilah, has come a long way and he was so proud of her. He saw you seeking the Lord and it would make him so proud to know you were baptized during the 1st Dedication Service after his passing and have received the Holy ghost!
FINAL FARWELL Bishop was so very happy when Elder Jeffrey S. Robinson, Sr. and his family were extended the Right Hand of Fellowship with the True Vine Holiness Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith and the True Vine Holiness Church of Jesus Christ of the Apostles’ Faith, Inc. on Sunday, May 3, 2015 by his son in the gospel and Assistant Pastor, Elder Warren R. Palmer, Sr. His final desire was to assure that God’s house was in order, if anything should happen to him. When Elder Palmer had announced that Elder Robinson would be the Associate Elder working directly with him in Delaware, it brought Bishop a sense of calm. He meant what he said during the service, “I truly had the feeling everything was going to be alright”. The Lord has decided to take Bishop home. Elder Robinson, be steadfast as the Elder in Charge at True Vine Holiness Church in Delaware under the leadership of Elder Palmer, who he did look forward to consecrating to the office Bishop on May 23, 2015 and would have formally announce that he would be in charge of the True Vine Churches. The Lord himself decided to pass the mantle by taking Bishop the day before the service. As he stated just a few weeks ago, “With Elder Palmer at the Helm, God is blessing abundantly”. Bishop Drewry said, to my sons, Elder Warren R. Palmer, Sr., Elder Donnell M. Lee, Sr., Elder Jeffrey S. Robinson, Sr., Minister Alvin Moffitt, he has gone on to rest and expect that we all will uphold the Apostles’ Doctrine. To all his spiritual children of True Vine Holiness Churches, Bishop I expressed,” Stay with God”. Our former presider told Bishop Palmer as we all have seen through his actions that he has always had the people of God at heart. He told Elder Palmer publicly and privately, don’t forget my final request. Assure that my older and faithful members Mother Elizabeth Drewry, Sister Florence France and Sister Margie Goldman are looked after. Their dedication and loyalty over the years has solidified us together, when others walked away… they stayed and continued… right by his side.
HOST OF MANY CHURCHES FELLOWSHIPS and FRIENDS to all the Pastors, Elders, Ministers, host of fellowships and friends. Many have truly experienced God’s greatness and power throughout the years through Bishop Drewrys ministry. But, he reminded us that he came into this world alone and as it is proven that he took nothing out. He came to my last breath and now he’s resting from his labor. He is now waiting, 1st Thessalonians 4:16 which reads, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first”.