Jun 7 2013
Reverends Robert and Gloria Jones have had a long distinguished career with Christ Gospel Churches. They were both natives of Florida, but moved to Jeffersonville to study at the Christ Gospel Church Bible Institute in the 1960s.
After completing their studies, they became ordained ministers in 1969. They began pastoring in Beaumont, Texas, where they served until 1983. When they first arrived at Beaumont, the membership consisted of less than twenty people. Membership grew fast under their tenure, and it reached 350 people by the time they left. The church’s rapid growth also required the construction of an entirely new building, which the Joneses had completely paid off before departing.
In January of 1984, they moved to the St. Petersburg area of Florida. At first, they rented space from other places and held services in other churches. However, as African-American pastors, they still found it difficult to purchase a building in certain areas of Florida, which were still “all white” at that time, and many people were still resistant to allowing African-Americans into the neighborhood – even if it were merely to preach the Word of God.
Rev. B. R. Hicks, affectionately described as Sister Hicks, came to St. Petersburg, along with her daughter Beverly, who was a real estate agent, to assist them in getting property. Sister Hicks, who never tolerated segregation in her church, led the effort to secure the property for Christ Gospel Church of Pinellas Park, and the Joneses have been pastoring there ever since.