Bishop Adolph A. Wells died March 14, 2020, at his home surrounded by Mother Mattie Wells and his family. He was 81 years old.
Bishop Wells, a Founding Pastor, shepherded the Emmanuel Temple Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Portland, Oregon, for nearly 40 years. He was also the Founder and Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Pentecostal Association, an organization that launched and led nearly 100 churches and ministries.
Born and reared in the state of Mississippi, Bishop Wells attended Seattle Central College and Seattle University in 1957 and 1958. After retiring from the US Postal Service, he pursued the path of theology. He is a graduate of the A.L. Hardy Academy of Theology, with earned Masters of Divinity (1988), Doctorate of Ministry (1995) and Doctorate of Theology (1995) degrees. In addition, in 1995, he received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from the George Fox Evangelical Seminary where he was also the baccalaureate speaker 1987. In 1963, he was ordained to the Ministry by Bishop E.F. Morris in Seattle, Washington. In 1965, he founded the Emmanuel Temple Church; in 1970, he founded the Full Gospel Pentecostal Association and in 1971, he was consummated to the Bishopric.
Bishop Wells was a man of service, having chaired or served on various Boards with social, political, academic, economic, and ecumenical focuses. He served as President of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, for three consecutive terms and one additional term. He served as Second Vice-President of One Church Once Child of Oregon. He served on the Boards of Regents, for George Fox Evangelical Seminary for more than fifteen years until he resigned in March 7, 2011. He taught Church Administration at North Portland Bible College. For many years, he served as Board Chair for Stay Clean, Inc., a substance recovery program. Additionally, he served on the African American Police Advisory Committee and on the recent Blue Ribbon Commission on Racial Profiling for the Portland Police Department. In 2005, he chaired the AMA Ad-hoc Investigation Sub-Committee for the Kendra James death and Police shooting. He subsequently testified as an expert witness in the US District Court dealing with police stops. His testimony served as key in the successful US Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit; with the Court referencing his testimony which was to the affect that, Blacks are told their goal when stopped by the police in Portland is “to stay alive” and not add to what is often a volatile situation in attempting articulate their otherwise constitution rights. They should primarily wait for their day in court. He served on a myriad of boards and committees to help better our community and empower its people through personal growth, education, training, entrepreneurship, and economic development.
A well-respected community leader, Bishop Wells is known for his astute, Godly and unselfish leadership. He has received numerous awards including the Mayor’s “Spirit of Portland” award, the “Drum Major for Justice” award, and many other such awards, which reflect his leadership – leadership as a visionary, educator, bridge-builder, strategist, facilitator, mediator, and a true “Man of God”. Bishop Wells loved people and appreciated the diverse gifts of others. His vision, with national focus, hails that God has called the Church Body to be a leader in every arena of life.
Emmanuel Community Services, Inc. (E.C.S.), is a social-service agency comprised of eight different programs, of which Bishop Wells founded. In 1996, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Bishop orchestrated the purchase of a 27,500 square foot grocery store, named “The Renaissance Market.” In addition to providing a needed service in the community, the Market served as a beacon of hope promoting community revitalization, community growth, development, and a sense of ownership while instilling hope and fostering community pride. The revitalization of community, represented by the name of the business, the “Renaissance” Market attests to what community and grassroots businesses and organizations can do when people are empowered; although in 2003 Portland Community took the property through “eminent domain.” Bishop Wells’ personal commitment to help empower others is portrayed by one of his revelatory sayings “I MUST GROW THAT OTHERS MAY GROW.” He consistently sought to involve others at all levels as he continued to tread new waters and explore new horizons – inspiring individuals to help build a future and leave a heritage for all of our children and grandchildren.
On June 10, 2004, the opening service was held in the brand new state-of-the-art 33,000 square foot church facility of Emmanuel Temple. The overall property now covers three blocks and 90,000 square feet of other facilities and land. During 2001, the pastoral torch was passed to his son, Senior Pastor (now Bishop) C.T. Wells, who now shepherds the flock of Emmanuel Church. In 2008, he planted a new congregation, Vancouver Full Gospel, in downtown Vancouver, Washington.
VIEWING UPDATE: March 23, 2020
The Wells family appreciates the care and concern expressed to them in the transition of their father, Bishop A. A. Wells. Due to the Oregon State Executive Order 20-12 (https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19), the public viewing scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020, will no longer be held. A National Homegoing Service will be held pending the release of government – mandated gathering restrictions.
Thank you for your continued prayer for the family during this difficult time.
For updates and more information, visit https://www.terryfamilyfuneralhome.com/obituary/BishopAA-Wells.