Christian 03

Bishop A. A. Wells

September 29, 1938 ~ March 14, 2020 (age 81)




Bishop Adolph A. Wells, the Founding Pastor, shepherded the Emmanuel Temple Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Portland, Oregon, nearly 40 years.   He was also the Founder and Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Pentecostal Association, an organization that launched churches and led nearly 100 pastors and ministries.

Born and raised in the state of Mississippi, as a child Bishop often enjoyed cutting timber wood with his father.  In 1957, he left Mississippi to attend Seattle Central College and later Seattle University.  While in Seattle, he began working for the United States Postal Service.  After retiring, he pursued full-time ministry.   In 1963, he was ordained to the Ministry by Bishop E. F. Morris in Seattle, Washington.  In 1965, he founded Emmanuel Temple Church; in 1970, he founded the Full Gospel Pentecostal Association and in 1971, he was consummated to the Bishopric.  He is a graduate of the A.L. Hardy Academy of Theology, with earned Masters of Divinity (1988), Doctorate of Ministry (1995) and Doctorate of Theology (1995) degrees.  Additionally, in 1995, he received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from the George Fox Evangelical Seminary where he was also the  baccalaureate speaker 1987. 

Bishop Wells was a man of service, having served on various boards with social, political, academic, economic, and ecumenical focuses.  He served as President of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, for three consecutive terms and one additional term.  He served as Second Vice-President of One Church One Child of Oregon.  He served on the Boards of Regents, for George Fox Evangelical Seminary for more than fifteen years until he resigned in March of 2011. He taught Church Administration at North Portland Bible College. For many years, he served as Board Chair for Stay Clean, Inc., a substance recovery program.  Additionally, he served on the African American Police Advisory Committee and on the recent Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Profiling for the Portland Police Department. In 2005, he chaired the AMA Ad-hoc Investigation Sub-Committee for the Kendra James death and Police shooting. He subsequently testified as an expert witness in the US District Court dealing with police stops. His testimony served as key in the successful US Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit; with the Court referencing his testimony which was to the affect that, blacks are told their goal when stopped by the police in Portland is “to stay alive” and not add to what is often a volatile situation in attempting to articulate their otherwise constitutional rights.  

A well-respected community leader, Bishop Wells was known for his astute and unselfish leadership.  He received numerous awards including the Mayor’s “Spirit of Portland” Award, the “Drum Major for Justice” Award, which are reflective of his leadership as a visionary, educator, bridge-builder, strategist, facilitator, mediator, and a true “Man of God”.  Bishop Wells loved people and appreciated the diverse gifts of others.  His vision, with national focus, hails that God has called the Church Body to be a leader in every arena of life.

In 1984, Bishop Wells founded Emmanuel Community Services, Inc.  (E.C.S.),  a social-service agency that hosted eight different programs.  In 1996, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Bishop orchestrated the purchase of a 27,500 square foot grocery store, named “The Renaissance Market.”  In addition to providing a needed service in the community, the Market served as a beacon of hope promoting community revitalization, community growth, development, and a sense of ownership while instilling hope and fostering community pride.  The revitalization of community, represented by the name of the business, the “Renaissance” Market attests to what community and grassroots businesses and organizations can do when people are empowered; although in 2003 Portland Community took the property through “eminent domain.”  Bishop Wells’ personal commitment to help empower others is portrayed by one of his revelatory sayings “I MUST GROW THAT OTHERS MAY GROW.”  He consistently sought to involve others at all levels as he continued to tread new waters and explore new horizons – inspiring individuals to help build a future and leave a heritage for all of our children and grandchildren.

On June 10, 2004, the opening service was held in the brand new state-of-the-art 33,000 square foot church facility of Emmanuel Temple.  The overall property now covers three blocks and 90,000 square feet of other facilities and land. During 2001, the pastoral torch was passed to his son, Senior Pastor (now Bishop) C.T. Wells, who now shepherds the flock of Emmanuel Church.  In 2008, Bishop launched a new congregation, Vancouver Full Gospel, in downtown Vancouver, Washington.

Bishop Wells enjoyed traveling, reading, writing and pursuing opportunities where he could share his wisdom and insight on achieving economic and social freedoms.

Left to honor his legacy, are the four biological children he shared with Mother Mattie Wells: C. T. (DeAngeloa) Wells, Debora (Curtis) Kimbrough, Carol (Harvin) Davis, and Joel Wells.  Additionally, there are 18 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and countless spiritual children and individuals he mentored.    II Corinthians 5:1 (KJV)  "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."


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Services will be announced at a later date

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