Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ is a Pentecostal denomination headquartered in Porterdale, Georgia with churches in thirty-six states and in Liberia, West Africa. It was founded by former African Methodist Episcopal pastor Elias Dempsey Smith in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1902.
Smith claimed to have experienced a series of revalatory visions beginning with a crossing of the Mississippi River in 1897. Over the next few years Smith held meetings of "The Glorious and Righteous Church" under tents in Birmingham and other cities. He organized his new church, then called "Triumph Methodist Church" for Christ's "triumph" over death, on January 20, 1902 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Over the next two years, Smith's visions continued and he was inspired to proclaim "redemption without bloodshed" and to live the life of a "Second Adam". The new church joined with C. H. Mason's "Church of God in Christ" denomination in 1907, but Smith and Mason parted ways in 1912.
The denomination held its first National Conference in Birmingham in 1915, during which it adopted the name "Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ" and Smith was appointed as "Apostle, Priest, and King of the Church". This was followed by an International Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1919, with Marcus Garvey in attendance. Smith became involved in Garvey's "Back to Africa" movement, and visited the court of Empress Zewditu in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He died during that visit and was buried there. Leadership of the church was passed to a board of seven bishops.
The denomination split in 1944 when James Jones founded the Church of Universal Triumph, Dominion of God, in Detroit, Michigan.
Birmingham's former "Temple No. 7", at 2505 24th Street North in North Birmingham was targeted by a terrorist bomb on January 16, 1962. Current congregations include 1008 Avenue F in South Pratt and "Band No. 25", led by Christopher Ruffin at 1431 13th Avenue North in Bessemer.
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ also operates the Lions School of Prophets, part of its E. D. Smith National Schools of Prophets network of charter schools. Michael Pollard serves as Shepherd of the school, which is recommended for advancement in the church. The denomination's "Advanced Schools of Wisdom" (Sunday School), headed by Walta Sample, and its publications department, headed by Lynn Dye, are also located in Birmingham.