Peoples Church was founded in 1906 by a small group of believers who met at Fourth and John Street to seek God’s face. The church was first called Christian Catholic Apostolic Church. Their passion exploded in 1907 as member, Nancy Starret, brought back to the church the Pentecostal power from the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, California. As the teaching and experience of the Holy Spirit’s fullness found acceptance, the church officially renamed itself “Christian Assembly.” In 1933, the church joined the Assemblies of God fellowship and adopted the name First Christian Assembly of God (FCA).
The 1970’s ignited a new passion in the church through the Charismatic renewal as the doors of FCA were opened to a new generation. Healing and salvation took place in the lives of many as barriers of class and race were being removed. In 1973, lead pastor Clyde Miller had an important decision to make about the church's future. Would he move the church to the suburbs like many growing churches or keep it in the heart of the city? God’s answer was clear. FCA was to remain in the heart of the city. Seeing a future that many churches could not see, Pastor Miller led the congregation and board to remain at 220 William Howard Taft Rd. This decision has led to significant kingdom impact in the core of Cincinnati.
In the mid 90’s, associate pastor Chris Beard felt God calling him to develop relationships with key African American pastors and pastors from other denominations. The goal was to work towards unity in our city for future kingdom impact. This experience led him to realize just how divided the churches in our city really were, especially black and white.
In 2001, Chris Beard became FCA’s lead pastor. Rocked by an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer titled, “A City Divided by Race,” and convicted by the Holy Spirit that God’s will is for churches to look like heaven, Chris and the church staff began to pray for their first staff pastor of color. The very next day, Pastor Ezra Maize, an African American Pastor spontaneously called Chris and said, “Are you ready for your first assistant pastor of color.” God was answering prayer and Ezra joined the staff of the church as a teaching pastor at a critical time in our city. Racial tensions flared and riots broke out because of the death of an unarmed young man. Ezra’s first connection with the deacon board of FCA had to be postponed due to the curfew that was in place because of the civil unrest. His passionate preaching style was life-giving to a congregation stunned by the black/white divide in Cincinnati.
In 2004 the church adopted a clear vision, “To be a racially reconciling, generationally rich, life-giving church thriving in the heart of the city.”
God has used this vision to plant seeds of racial reconciliation in many churches in our city, state, and nation. The church grew from a 98% white commuter church, into a church that is approximately 25% African American and 25% international. The staff, board, and leadership teams are racially diverse and we are continuing to grow and learn what it means to be a reconciling church.
In 2012 the church voted and decided on the new name, Peoples Church, a name given by God to reflect His heart for all people! We are home to over 30 nationalities worshipping and working as an increasingly dynamic mosaic of God’s Kingdom. We also celebrate the incredible age diversity of Peoples Church. Throughout our history, the church has been comprised of all generations working together to share the love of Christ.
Everyone plays a part, everyone has a role in making Peoples Church who it is today, and who it will be in the future. Everything we do, and all that we are, is moving us toward a greater understanding of God’s purpose; to be one reconciled church, a church that worships and prays together, a church which is racially and generational rich, a church who loves God and all people wholeheartedly, and passionately contributes to the growing of His Kingdom.