The Northend Church of God in Christ was founded in 1946 by the late Elder Archie Gray, with the assistance and support of his wife, Sister Louise Gray. The church at 234 Custer St. began over 75 years ago, born out of fasting and noonday prayer meeting. The name ‘Northend’ was suggested by Sister Gray, based on the church’s geographical location within the city of Detroit, MI. The inaugural service opened with five members, a piano and donated theater chairs. With Elder Gray functioning as pastor, preacher and pianist while Sister Gray prayed, organized and supervised numbers increased, membership grew and Northend flourished.
In 1955 Elder Gray was called to his heavenly home to be with the Lord, leaving Sister Gray a widow. In his stead a young revivalist named Elder Wallace M. Cryor, who’d previously run revivals at Northend was sent to console the grieving congregation. Having just lost his wife one week prior to Elder Gray’s passing, Elder Wallace Cryor was able to offer condolences and encouragement born from his own experiences. It wasn’t long thereafter that Elder Cryor knew that he was going to marry Sister Gray and after receiving confirmation from the Lord, Elder Cryor and Sister Gray were married within six months after both became widowed.
Elder Cryor was appointed pastor of the Northend Church of God in Christ in 1957 by Bishop John Seth Bailey and joined with Sister Louise Cryor in continuing the vision of the church’s founder. Sister Cryor often referred to Northend as ‘The Saving Station’, a place where many would join, receive salvation and then continue on the journey that God had planned for their lives. Pastor and Mother Cryor labored together for 45 years, until the Lord called Elder Cryor home for his heavenly reward on May 1, 2002.
The congregation was truly shaken by Elder Cryor’s passing and being sensitive to that, Bishop Earl Je- rome Wright, Sr. moved cautiously and slowly before appointing the next pastor. Bishop Wright served rdas the interim pastor of Northend for eighteen months before appointing Northend’s 3 pastor, Elder Willie B. Toone on September 21, 2003. Prior to this appointment Elder Toone served as Assistant Pastor of Miller Memorial COGIC for 25 years, Bishop Wright’s right-hand man.
During his tenure as pastor of Northend, Elder Willie B. Toone, along with his wife, Lady Roberta Toone, worked tirelessly to continue the vision of his predecessors – to build and increase God’s army right at 234 Custer St. His vision for Northend Church of God in Christ was to “Empower people spiritually, academically, economically, socially and physically to meet the ongoing challenges of the world. In November, 2018 Elder Toone was elevated to the office of Auxiliary Bishop within the Michigan Southwest Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ, then on September 20, 2021 he received the ultimate elevation to his eternal home in heaven.
Upon Bishop Toone’s passing, it became the responsibility of Bishop James L. Whitehead, Jr. to appoint the next pastor of Northend Church of God in Christ. Bishop Whitehead’s decision was made March 6, 2022 when he appointed Elder Dion Walls as the 4 pastor of Northend. Elder Walls and his wife, Sister Donnietra Walls, come from a long and strong legacy within the Church of God in Christ, including mis- sionaries, preachers, evangelists and bishops all the way back four generations. Pastor and Lady Walls bring with them their family consisting of Devin, Deian and Dean. In 2022, the Northend Church of God in Christ entered into its 76 year of existence and is still stands at its original location. From humble beginnings, the Lord’s church was built and after nearly 80 years the Northend COGIC is still standing strong as a beacon of salvation and holiness at 234 Custer Street.
Northend Church has a long exciting history of hard work, legacy, and effective ministry.