Rev. Willie Gilstrap
In the fall of 1984, I conducted a revival for the late Elder W.S. Harvey and the Dorcas C OGIC. The revival was a success and many souls were saved. At the time Elder Harvey offered me the church because he was unable to pastor it. I discussed it with my wife and we began to seek the Lord in prayer whether this was the direction the was leading our family. After many weeks in prayer, the Lord revealed to me his direction. I was praying on a Tuesday morning at work when I went up to pray on my break, the presence of God’s spirit was so great until I could only say “Yes Lord, Yes Lord”. The more I said “Yes” to God the more I knew he was assigning me to Bonham. It was at that time , the Lord revealed to me his direction. In Nov. 1984, we began worshipping at the Dorcas COGIC. While preaching one Sunday night, I said there would be a building in Bonham, where we worship with the name New Life COGIC. So, the church went on a hunt for another building to worship. After spending many hours one day looking, Loretta and I started home that day. My wife asked if I would get a Bonham paper to read. About five miles out of town, my wife found a church building for sale.
We purchased the building from the Emmanuel Fellowship Members in 1985. The early membership consisted of: Gilstraps, Edna Wilson, Donnie Gray, Moores, Pattersons, Eddie White, Ella Mason, Lucille Harvey, Robinsons, Palmers, Geneva White, Pam White, Ruth Ransom, Adlou Gentry, Mother Martha Lewis, Ragsale, Richard Elliott, Wanda Lee Shaw, and Daniel Rayford Family. Many others became members after June 1985.
Associates Ministers were Edward Owens, Tony Ross.
Mother of Church were Marilyn Owens, Geneva White, Ruth Ransom, Adlou Gentry,Lois- - ., Mother Gentry , Tatum, Earl & Peggie Mason, Contrina Wilson, Margie Brooks, Billy Wlalker, Joy Henson, Vonnie & Ruthie Mayberry, Pete & Joycelyn Mitchell, Carl Calhoun, Hosea Brooks, Ricky & Patricia, Reggie & Pamela Smedley, Pam Austin and Angela Duey.