The History of Destiny Church
Birth - First Service
On Thursday night, June 7, 2007, at the close of the 119th Session of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference (WNCC) of the Second Episcopal District (SED) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), convening at the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center, Research Triangle Park, Durham, North Carolina, Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr., was left without a pastoral appointment to start the 2007-2008 Second Episcopal District AME Church conference year.
While driving back to Charlotte, NC from Durham, NC, the Howard family – Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr., Rev. Steven L. Howard, Mrs. Marion C. Howard, Mrs. Sharrell L. Howard, William E. Howard and Michael E. Howard - stopped to eat at a restaurant on I-40W just outside Durham, NC. While at the restaurant, a prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, asking the Lord to lead the family as they were still committed to following Him and doing that for which He had called them to do. After the prayer, the question was raised, “What do we do about worshipping on Sunday?” Some discussion followed and Rev. Dr. Howard said to the family that they should be prepared to come together in praise, worship and fellowship on Sunday as they had always done. Since Rev. Howard had no pulpit from which to pastor, it was suggested that consideration be given to securing a place for the family to fellowship and worship together. Everyone present enthusiastically agreed with that suggestion. On Friday afternoon, June 8, 2007, after researching the situation, Minister Sharrrell N. Howard called Rev. Dr. Walter Howard to say that she had found a place and it was available for his consideration.
On Saturday morning, June 9, 2007, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Walter V. Howard, Jr., and Rev. and Mrs. Steven L. Howard, visited the facility (Creative Ej) in Charlotte, NC. It was a very accommodating, technologically advanced, state of the art, production studio, with stadium seating. It was perfect for a Sunday morning worship service. They agreed that the site would be sufficient for their needs.
The site was secured for Sunday, June 10, 2007 and worship services were held at 11:00 am. A fellowship was formed. Those present at that first worship service were Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr., Sis. Marion C. Howard, Rev. Steven L. Howard, Minister Sharrell L. Howard, Bro. William E. Howard, Bro. Michael E. Howard, Bro. David Garnett Phoso, Sis. Jane K. Phoso, Bro. Raukwon J. Baker, Sis. Tangella M. Stephens, and Sis. Pamela D. Stephens.
The first organizational meeting of the fellowship was held at the home of Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr., at 100 Long Creek Parkway, Charlotte, NC, on June 11, 2007. The fellowship elected its first officers. Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr., President; Deacon Steven L. Howard, Vice-President; Marion C. Howard, Financial Secretary/Treasurer; Minister Sharrell N. Howard, Secretary; William E. Howard, Chaplain, and Michael E. Howard, Parliamentarian. The Howard International Fellowship was formed. The Fellowship filed and was granted incorporation in the state of North Carolina, county of Mecklenburg, as a non-denominational, non-profit, 501c (3) ministry.
Alona Elaine Kennedy
Raukwon Julius Baker
Tangella Moore Stephens
Pamela Denise Stephens
Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr.
Rev. Steven Lamont Howard
Minister Sharrell Louise Norman Howard
Marion Denese Cotton Howard
William Emery Howard
Michael Edward Howard
Jane Cotton Kennedy Phoso
David Garnett Phoso
At Creative Ej
While worshipping at Creative Ej Studio, Bro. Robert Bland accepted his call into the ordained ministry.
Because of our legal obligation with Creative Ej and the timing of the paperwork filed with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, we had no facility in which to worship on Sunday, September 2, 2007. Rev. and Mrs. Walter Howard opened their home to the congregation for Sunday morning Worship Service and Holy Communion. It was a Holy Spirit filled worship service and fellowship.
Move to Hornet’s Nest Elementary School
On Wednesday, September 5, 2007 Destiny Church made its first move to Hornets Nest Elementary School holding Bible Study that evening at 6:00 PM. Initially, we used the Media Center for Sunday School and Worship Service but we found that we needed more space. After a few Sundays, we applied for and received permission from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to use the Gymnasium for Sunday School and Worship Service.
During Sunday morning worship service on September 9, 2007 Sis. Marion Howard announced that she had received the call to preach.
Bro. Robert Bland preached his initial sermon entitled “Is It In You?” on November 11, 2007 at 3:00 PM at Hornets Nest Elementary School.
We celebrated Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard’s 25 Years in Ministry Anniversary on Saturday, December 15, 2007 at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. It was a wonderful gathering of family and friends followed by a banquet in the fellowship hall of the church.
On Sunday, December 16, 2007 at Hornets Nest Elementary School, Sis. Marion Howard preached her initial Sermon entitled “It’s All Good.” Another milestone occurred on April 20, 2008. We arrived at Hornets Nest Elementary School for our regular Worship Service to find that the gymnasium where our services were normally held was completely filled with bicycles. We just gathered our equipment and set-up outside of the school in the parking lot and continued with the worship service. The Lord’s name be praised!
This year was filled with joy and sadness. Joy in that the Lord had blessed us to be able to form a new church and continue the ministry, but sadness in that we lost one of our charter members, Bro. Timothy Jones. Bro. Jones was such a faithful member and supporter of Destiny Church from its founding until his health began to fail. He supported the church in every way both spiritually and financially. His faithfulness and dedication to Destiny Church, in its infancy, will never be forgotten. Because of his support, Destiny Church was able to stand in the early days of the ministry. His home going celebration was held on January 8, 2008. We praise God for his life and for his service to Destiny Church.
1st Church Anniversary
June 6-8, 2008 we celebrated our 1st Church Anniversary. The anniversary activities started with our first Ordination Service on June 6, 2008 in the Chapel of Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place, Charlotte, NC. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr., founder and Sr. Pastor of Destiny Church ordained the following ministers as Elders in Destiny Church: Rev. Steven L. Howard, Rev. Sharrell N. Howard, Rev. Robert M. Bland and Rev. Marion C. Howard. On Saturday, following the ordination service, we held our first Annual Family Fun Fest at Phillip O’Berry Recreation Center. The highlight of the Family Fun Fest was the Basketball Game between the Destiny Kings and The Power 98 All Stars (Radio Personality-“No Limit Larry” of Power 98’s basketball team). The First Anniversary celebration concluded with Worship on Sunday Morning, with Pastor Walter Howard preaching. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
The year ended with another of our members being called from labor to reward. Bro. Charles T. Nelson, Jr., father of Rev. Marion C. Howard transitioned on June 6, 2008. His Memorial service was held on Saturday, June 22, 2008 at Hornets Nest Elementary School. We praise God for his service and support of Destiny Church.
Move to Bruns Avenue Elementary School
On the First Sunday in August, 2008 (8-3-08), we moved to Bruns Ave. Elementary School to hold our Sunday School and Worship Services. On June 27-28, 2009 we celebrated our Pastor’s 1st Appreciation Service. On Saturday, June 27, 2009 the members of Destiny Church treated the Pastor to the Catawba Queen Riverboat Cruise, which is a luncheon and sightseeing cruise on Lake Norman. It was a beautiful fellowship in recognition of our Pastor’s 1st anniversary. On Sunday we had a Worship Service in Honor of our Pastor and afterward we all went to dinner at a local Chinese Restaurant. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
2nd Church Anniversary
In October, 2009 we celebrated our 2nd Church Anniversary. The 2nd Annual Family Fun Fest was held on Saturday October 3, 2009 at the Phillip O’Berry Recreation Center. The highlight of the Family Fun Fest was an appearance by a Christian Superhero “Captain Salvation.” The Church Anniversary Worship Service was a historic one. We held the First Destiny Church Baptismal Service on October 4, 2009 where 8 people were baptized: Rodney Hall Sr., Rodney Hall Jr., Alexis Harris, Bianca Merriman, Tywanna Byers, Shannon Merriman, Destini Dixon and Tony Pauling.
3rd Church Anniversary
The Third Church Anniversary began with a “6 Weeks of Faithfulness Campaign” beginning May 23, 2010 - June 27, 2010. The campaign was birthed to encourage the membership to attend Worship Services faithfully. Twenty Members received Certificates of Faithfulness. The 3rd Annual Fun Fest was held June 26, 2010 at the Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center formerly known as the Philip O’Berry Recreation Center. The highlight of the Family Fun Fest was a 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. A great time was had by all who attended. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
The Move to McDaniel Lane
On Wednesday, December 27, 2010, our beloved Bro. Richard Brown, custodian for Bruns Ave. Elementary School, passed away. We were, again, in need of a place to worship. Once again, our own Rev. Sharrell Howard was instrumental in securing a new location for us to worship in. It was a warehouse located at 6010 McDaniel Lane, Suite B & C. Charlotte, NC 28208. The congregation worked very hard to renovate the warehouse so it would be a comfortable place to worship. In just 4 days, with the help of the Lord, we held our watch night service on December 31, 2010 as we brought in the new year at our new location. Our 1st worship service of 2011 was held at 6010 McDaniel Lane Suite B & C. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
4th Church Anniversary
The 4th church anniversary was held on June 16-18, 2011 on the grounds of the new facility at 6010 McDaniel Lane, Charlotte, NC 28208. The Lord’s blessings were upon us and we were able to host all of our activities at one place. We had a family barbecue cook-out, face-painting, games and entertainment for the kids. It was a wonderful fellowship. This year was the introduction of our summer youth “Hallelujah Night Celebration!” What a time, what a time, what a time! The Hallelujah Night signaled the end of summer and the beginning of the kick off of our “Six Months of Faithfulness campaign.” The highlight of the campaign was the “Tree of the Faithful” In this campaign, the members of Destiny Church embarked upon a journey wherein each member pledged to be faithful to God and commit to learning the basic tenents of our faith through our New Members Institute (NMI). We concluded the Six Months of Faithfulness Campaign with a recognition banquet in March, 2012. 22 members were recognized for various levels of faithfulness such as perfect attendance, stewardship, learning the required scriptural assignments and/or the Lord’s Prayer and the Worship Covenant. The Six Months of Faithfulness Campaign will be remembered as one of the crowning moments in the history of Destiny Church.
Our Family Fun Fest was held on June 17, 2011. The highlight of the fun fest was the Youth Explosion on Friday night and the Fish Fry on Saturday. We closed the church anniversary activities with our worship service on Sunday morning. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
On July 17, 2011, one of our very faithful members, Sis. Yvette Harris, was called from labor to reward. She loved and supported her church and demonstrated her love for Christ through her service to mankind. Destiny Church will forever remember the dedicated and committed service of our dear Sis. Yvette Harris.
The Move to Rozzelles Ferry Road
In November, 2011, we were approached with an opportunity to lease/purchase a building in the Northwest quadrant of Charlotte, NC. This was a single use facility which would allow for the growth and additional ministries of Destiny Church. The congregation met and agreed to take advantage of the opportunity to lease/purchase the building at 5312 Rozzelles Ferry Road. At that meeting, “Vision 2012” was birthed. The congregation agreed to work together to raise the funds necessary to purchase the facility under the lease/purchase option presented to us by Mr. Jerry W. Neal, the owner of the building. Our final service at McDaniel Lane was held on Sunday, November 27, 2011. We held our first worship service in the new facility at 5312 Rozzelles Ferry Road on Sunday December 4, 2011. One of the highlights of this year was the announcement by our own Bro. Tony Pauling that he had accepted his call into the Christian ministry. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
In June, 2012, we celebrated our 5th Anniversary. Special T-shirts were designed by our own Brian Rowan (the son of Tina Brown) using the theme “All in God’s Hands.” We celebrated with a week of activities starting with our anniversary kick-off on Sunday June 10th, followed by our Wednesday service on June 13th, our Youth Explosion on Friday, June 15th, our Saturday Family Fun Fest on June 16th and culminating with our Sunday, June 17th Father’s Day breakfast hosted by the Women of Destiny. We closed our 5th anniversary with our morning worship service. We praised God for allowing us to celebrate 5 years of fellowship and service. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
Our 6th anniversary activities started with a pre-anniversary clean-up at the church. It was followed by our 1st evangelistic outreach Saturday which was followed by a surprise pizza party! The anniversary worship services were followed by a fellowship dinner at the church.
Year six found us embarked on the theme, “Walking by Faith – Let the Journey Begin” to raise funds for our building project. The Jones-Harris Memorial Building Fund was established in memory of two of our faithful members who contributed to the spiritual, numerical and financial growth of Destiny Church – Bro. Timothy Jones (a founding member) and Sis. Yvette Harris. Funds donated would be earmarked for the down payment on the purchase of the building at 5312 Rozzelles Ferry Road. In addition, Journey Teams were formed to raise money for the building fund. The Journey Teams/Leaders were as follows: Abraham’s Seed – Bro. Tony Pauling; House of Ruth – Rev. Sharrell Howard; Jacob’s Ladder – Sis. Rosa Alexander; Joshua’s Troop – Rev. Marion Howard; Martha’s Stewards; Mary’s Babies – Sis. Jane Phoso and Seal Team 8 – Rev. Steven Howard. Our fund raising efforts intensified. Each team worked diligently to contribute to the building fund.
We thank and praise God that we could celebrate another year and that our rank had not been broken. We experienced growth in numbers, but more importantly, the spiritual growth was exponential. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
The work of the Journey Teams continued. After a lot of prayer and hard work and fund raisers and more prayer and more hard work and donations and commitments and pledges and more prayer we raised the amount needed to provide the down payment on the property. On November 19, 2013, we closed on the property at 5312 Rozzelles Ferry Road! The Lord’s Name be Praised, Hallelujah!!!!
Our theme for this year truly says it all for, “We’ve Come This Far by Faith!” We’re still leaning on the Lord. While purchasing the building was a major blessing, there was so much work to be done. The building that we purchased had been previously occupied as a NAPA Auto Parts store when we bought it. It was a greasy mess! But we put our shoulders to the wheel and started working to make the house of God, that we had been blessed with, resemble a house of worship. It seemed like a monumental task, but we knew that what seemed impossible for man was possible with God. So the work continued. We used the fellowship hall as the worship center until we could renovate the area that would serve as our sanctuary. The work continued and continued and continued. In the meantime, the gospel was being preached and souls were being saved. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
Year eight found us continuing to serve the community by reaching out to those with specific needs. Our spiritual work took center stage as we partnered with the Leg Up Ministry to provide spiritual enrichment to those who had been marginalized by crime and drug addiction. One of our most rewarding experiences was when one of the members of the group received Christ and gave a Holy Spirit filled testimony of their conversion experience. The Lord blessed Destiny Church to be the vessel through which those who had been lost could find salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and endeavor to lead a victorious life. We celebrated our 8th Anniversary with a Worship Service and fellowship dinner. The Lord’s Name be Praised!
Destiny church celebrated another year by focusing on serving the community. An after-school enrichment program was initiated at the beginning of the school year. It was designed to assist students with their reading comprehension and end-of-grade test preparation. The program was very successful as each student increased their grade level achievement. As the year continued, the members of destiny showed their steadfast commitment to serving the needs of the community.
In addition, the Lord continued to bless our efforts by sending friends to help us in our building/renovation efforts. We celebrated our 9th year with a Worship Service and fellowship dinner in the fellowship hall of the church.
10th Year of Service
The year 2016 found us continuing to serve the Lord in ministry. Destiny church, after a decade of service, is still “Transforming Lives, Walking in Destiny.” The structural work continued as a handicapped ramp was constructed and a sound booth was built. The Women of Destiny took the lead in beautifying the church to include furnishing the entrance foyer, the formal vestibule area and the pastor’s office. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Destiny Church! We have been serving the Lord in this branch of His vineyard for a decade now and we are determined to press on!
One of the spiritual additions to Destiny Church was the formation of a male chorus lead by Brother Tim Price. The members are Brother Tony Pauling, Brother and Claude Overton. The chorus is accompanied by brother Joel Harper (Drums) and Brother Leslie (Bass Guitar).
The Women of Destiny also accomplished a monumental task. They hosted their first, ever, Women’s Conference! The idea for the conference was given by Sis. Sharon Price who felt it would be a great way to raise funds for the church and serve the needs of the community at the same time by bringing women and families together to discuss and learn about issues affecting them. The theme was, “Fill My Cup, Let it Overflow With Love!” 1 Corinthians 13:13. The main topics of the conference and the guest speakers were: Domestic Violence-Sis. Carolyn Stinson Bego; Teens and Technology-Cyber Bullying-Minister Mary Towe; Single Parenting/Teen Pregnancy-Rev. Ladorsa Willis; and Spiritual Development-Rev. Lisa Marshall. A highlight of the conference was the appearance Destiny’s own Christian rap singers “The Wright Bros” trio of Bro. Michael Howard, Bro. Joel Harper and Bro. Will Fruga. They were awesome! There were great door prizes given to our guests and lunch was provided. The conference was an overwhelming success!!!! Hats off to the following Women of Destiny: Rev. Marion C. Howard, Ministry Leader; Rev. Sharrell Howard, Sis. Jane Phoso, Sis. Candice Howard, Sis. Sharon Price, Sis. Diane Harris, Sis. Shelby Luckey, Sis. Alona Kennedy, Sis. Rosa Alexander. The Women of Destiny were in rare form and the hand of the Lord truly blessed the conference.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Destiny Church! We have been serving the Lord in this branch of His vineyard for a decade now and we are determined to press on!
We would not have accomplished anything without the help of the Lord! We know that the Lord has been with us every step of the way. When we started this journey, we were encouraged by the words of the Lord to us as recorded in His word, “… For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Over these past 10 years, we have learned to lean and depend on Him, for we know that all of our help comes from the Lord!! We also recognize that the Lord works through His people to accomplish His will. We take this time to acknowledge all of the faithful members of Destiny Church who allowed God to use them in this ministry. We thank God for those of you who prayed, sacrificed, and worked tirelessly to make our church what it is today. You have ALL made meaningful contributions whether great or small. Your love of God is manifest in your faithfulness and commitment to God’s work.
In addition to our members, we acknowledge the following major contributors to the support and renovation of Destiny Church over these past 10 years:
Jerry and Pat Neal
James W. McLaughlin
Karen and Richard Parker
Rev. and Mrs. Cedrick Cotton
Rev. Edward Lockett
Presiding Elder and Mrs. E. Charles Cotton
Presiding Elder and Mrs. Conrad K. Pridgen
The Lord’s Name be Praised! Hallelujah!!!
Destiny Church celebrated another year of ministry to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We started the year off by securing a church sign so that Destiny Church could be a beacon of hope to those passing by 5312 Rozzelles Ferry Road, Charlotte, NC. To that end, the Lord added 11 new members to our church roll. To God Be The Glory!
We were blessed to receive donations of three 50-65 inch flat screen TV monitors that will serve to enhance our Sunday morning worship service and our “Live” TV ministry. In addition, we were blessed to receive a 5 gallon water dispenser and to purchase a 15 passenger van for our transportation ministry. To God Be The Glory!
Destiny Church went from “Transition to Transformation” with the retirement of our Founder and Senior Pastor, Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr. We celebrated his legacy with a Retirement Banquet on Friday, June 8, 2018 held at the Park Road Baptist Cultural center. It was a time of reflection; a time of recognition and a time of thanksgiving. It was a joyous time as we celebrated 36 years of dedicated, committed and faithful service of a true servant of God. To God Be The Glory!
Finally, God, in His infinite wisdom, has called and installed a new Pastor to serve the people of Destiny Church. The installation service of Rev. Steven L. Howard was held on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm at Destiny Church. The spirit of the Lord was truly in the building as we witnessed the passing of the torch from our founder and first pastor, Rev. Dr. Walter V. Howard, Jr. to our second pastor, Rev. Steven L. Howard. We look forward to the continued moving of the Holy Spirit as we go from “Transition to Transformation” under the leadership of our new Pastor, Rev. Steven Lamont Howard and First Family, Rev. Sharrell N. Howard, Samuel James Howard, Sydney Denise Howard and Silas Alexander Howard. To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Has Done!