88th Street Temple
Church of God in Christ

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In the spring of 1966, during the Biafran Revolution in Nigeria West Africa, Brother S.A. Udo Akpan and his group of ministers, sent Bishop Benbow a letter as a Macedonian call ("come over and help us".) The letter read, "Dear Brother Benbow, I and a group of ministers began seeking the Lord in HIs fullness according to the Holy Bible. We began receiving much criticism and persecution from our religious constituents. We started asking the Lord what shall we do and while asleep one night, your name and location appeared to me in a dream. So we are following through; we are sending you a Macedonia call, please come help us and receive us into your faith."

 In 1967, after much prayer, Bishop Benbow, along with his wife Rachel L. Benbow, answered the call and journeyed to Nigeria West Africa where they received into the Church of God in Christ, seventeen churches. After returning home from this mission, Bishop Benbow was appointed Bishop of Nigeria West Africa by the late Bishop O.T. Jones Sr. who at the time was Senior Bishop of the Church of God in Christ. Mother Rachel L. Benbow was appointed Supervisor of Women for Nigeria by the late Mother Annie L. Bailey. The Nigerian work expanded rapidly with missions, churches, an elementary school and the Bennie Roberts Benbow Bible College. Each quarter of the year, Sunday School literature for the church was sent to Nigeria to aide in their growth study and growth.

In 1970, Bishop Benbow received his Doctor of Divinity Degree from Trinity Hall College and Seminary in Springfield Illinois. In 1972, he recieved his LL.D from Trinity Hall and was elected Board and Council Member. He received commendations from the Mayors of Santa Monica and Los Angeles CA. In 1970, he received the second highest Special Achievement Award from the Religious Workers Guild for Distinguished Services for mission work in West Africa.

The list of Bishop Benbow's accomplishments in the work of the Lord and in community service is extensive. In 1980, he was appointed Jurisdictional Prelate of California Southwest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction by the late Presiding Bishop J.O. Patterson and the General Board of the Church of God in Christ. In 1982, Bishop Benbow along with his wife and the New Light congregation purchased the property at 8825 S. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles CA and began a new work in a community plagued with crime. This property consists of eight (8) lots that are owned by the 88th Street Temple Church where programs such as Feeding the Homeless and Needy are established and over 65,000 bags of groceries have been distributed. Each bag fed a family of five (5). During the food program, hundreds of babies were blessed and hundreds of souls were won for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For nearly 20 years, he has reached thousands through his Radio Ministry. God has blessed Bishop Benbow with this testimony...."for over forty (40) years there were no deaths under the age of twenty (25) that were members of this church and were blessed by Bishop B.R. Benbow."

Bishop Benbow is listed in the 1981-1982 "Who's who in California" and was presented a plaque and gold key from the members of the New Light Church of God in Christ for his outstanding leadership. In 1991, the Mayor of Los Angeles CA, Tom Bradley, gave Bishop Benbow a day of his own and January 16th is now known as "Bishop B.R. Benbow Day" in Los Angeles. During the 1991 Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ in Memphis TN, Bishop Benbow was presented with the highest award within the confines of the denomination, the C.H. Mason Award. On January 18, 1997, Bishop B.R. Benbow was the only African-American minister who received a proclamation from the Honorable Thomas S. Levyn, Mayor of Beverly Hills CA. Bishop is the author of two (2) books, "The Doctrine of Tithing" and "Because of God". Bishop Benbow pastored the 88th Street Temple Church of God in Christ in conjunction with the New Light Church of God in Christ that was merged into 88th Street Temple for over fifty (50) years until he formerly retired from pastoring and appointed his grandson, Pastor Anthony L. Williams 2009. Bishop Benbow remained the Jurisdictional Prelate of the Southwest Jurisdiction and maintained active oversight of all administrative affairs.

A most important part of his life was his wife, Mother Rachel L. Benbow, who was not only an inspiration, but was also a loving and devoted wife for over 49 years. Short of three (3) months, he and Mother Benbow would have been married for fifty (50) years when Mother was called to her eternal reward in August of 1998. She worked diligently and untiringly at his side and was a pillar of strength for the ministry. Her works shall never be forgotten. God has truly blessed Bishops ministry with many spiritual sons and daughters throughout the brotherhood.

Early on the morning of October 4, 2012, Bishop B.R. Benbow was called home to be with the Lord at the age of ninety-five (95), after fifty (50) years of pastoring and thirty-two (32) years as Jurisdictional Bishop. A race well run, a battle well fought and now he rests. Long live the memory and works of Bishop B.R. Benbow.


Our Beloved Founder
Bishop B.R. Benbow
Over 50 years of dedicated service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A Disciple, Evangelist, Apostle, Pastor, Teacher and Humanitarian.

Our founder Bishop Bennie Roberts Benbow, was born January 14, 1917 to Elder and Mother E.C. Benbow in St. Louis MO. He was the third of twelve children and the grandson of the late Mother Bennie Benbow Roberts. She labored with her pastor, the late Bishop C.H. Mason in his early ministry. To her credit, she built the first pulpit for our founder, Bishop C.H. Mason. Bishop B.R. Benbow was a true pioneer for the Lord and the son of pioneers in this grand old Church of God in Christ. 

In his early years, Bishop attended public school in st. Louis and accepted the Lord at an early age. He later entered the military and received his basic training at the U.S. Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. His advance training was taken at the U.S. Naval School of Navigation at the Hampton Institute in Hampton Virginia. He was later stationed at Pearl Harbor. After being honorably discharged, he began to pursue his work as a National Evangelist having received his Ministerial License in 1943 from the late Bishop D. Bostic of St. Louis Missouri.

Bishop continued to evangelize and later moved to Los Angeles, California where he labored with such great leaders as the late Bishop E.B. Stewart, Bishop L.C. Page and Bishop S.M. Crouch. While laboring with the late Bishop E.B. Stewart, he received appointments as Youth Pastor, Sunday School Superintendent and Evangelism leader. While laboring with the late Bishop L.C. Page, he served as his Assistant Pastor. Bishop S.M. Crouch at that time was National President of the Home and Foreign Mission and Jurisdictional Bishop of Southern California 1st Jurisdiction and he appointed the young Elder Benbow as Superintendent of the Santa Monica District. Bishop Benbow was also asked to organize what is presently known as the Santa Barbara Region.

In 1952, Bishop Benbow pastored the Philadelphia Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles CA, during which time he attended Life Bible College. He also received diplomas from Glendale Bible College and in Advanced Studies in Prophecies - Daniel and Revelations. Being led by the spirit of God to "go west", Bishop Benbow and his wife Rachel L. Benbow, heeded the call in 1959 and organized the New Light Church of God in Christ at 2905 Main Street, Santa Monica CA. Bishop C.H. Mason preached his last message at the New Light Church of God in Christ. In 1962, still reaching out for others, the congregation relocated and purchased the property at 3102 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica CA and 2 years later, the congregation burned the mortgage. In 1975, a remodeling program to the main sanctuary was initiated and completed and the property value was estimated at over 2 million dollars.