The United House of Prayer for All People, Church on the Rock of the Apostolic Faith, was incorporated in 1927 by Charles M. “Sweet Daddy” Grace (1881-1960). Originally from the Cape Verde Islands, Grace was one of several Washington religious leaders, including Elder Lightfoot Michaux, offering worshipers an expressive alternative to traditional Protestantism.
Starting with a small mission in Massachusetts, Grace was able to amass a large following. In 1926, Grace chose Washington, DC, as the headquarters for his church and moved to the city a year later. One of the first United House of Prayer churches opened in 1929 at 601 M Street, NW. It joined a number of storefront churches born during the Great Depression (1929-1939). Grace's theology was based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Old Testament, as well as the power of the Holy Ghost. Grace was a charismatic leader who amassed a great fortune. Many of his followers joined the church while experiencing one of the many revivals and baptisms that Grace offered throughout the country. He was known for his flamboyant style, evidenced by his green and purple coats with gold trimmings, his long fingernails painted red, white, and blue, and his flowing hair. During the 1950s, he lived at 11 Logan Circle, NW.
Bishop Walter McCullough succeeded Grace. Under his leadership, the church built low-rent housing projects throughout the city, including McCullough Canaanland Apartments, Paradise Gardens, and McCullough Haven for senior citizens, all in the Shaw neighborhood. After McCullough's death in 1991, Bishop S.C. Madison was elected to succeed him.
David Freund and Marya McQuirter, Biographical Supplement and Index. Young Oxford History of African Americans Series (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
Molly Rath, “A House Divided,” Washington City Paper, June 9, 1995.
Paul K. Williams, The Neighborhoods of Logan, Scott, and Thomas Circles. Images of America Series (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2001).
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