Pastor Emeritus Fred Sr. & Mother Mamie Martin
Bishop Fred Martin Sr. & Mother Mamie Martin
In the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty six, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Martin were baptized in Jesus’ name at the Refuge Church of Christ in Richmond Virginia under the leadership of the late Bishop John W. Purnell. They both received the gift of the Holy Ghost and their service for the Lord began.
Brother and Sister Martin were faithful stewards who embraced the rigorous training under Bishop Purnell. Brother Martin became a minister and Sister Martin became a missionary. In 1962, Minister Martin was ordained an Elder and Sister Martin became a licensed Senior Missionary at the International Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Three years later, under God’s divine leadership, Bishop Purnell sent Elder Martin back to his hometown to pastor the church in Littleton, North Carolina.
For two years Elder Martin, his wife and six children commuted each Sunday from Richmond to Littleton to worship. In 1967 Elder and Sister Martin decided to leave their home and jobs to move to Littleton. Expecting the Lord to bless their ministry, they watched and prayed as God supplied their daily needs. After several months without employment Elder Martin was offered a job with a construction company. It was there that he acquired the skills that would later be used to build our current edifice.
The vision of a suitable house of worship for God’s people laid heavily on Elder Martin and he asked the church to fast and pray. At the end of the fast, the Lord opened the heart of a local business owner who rented him a building known to the residents of Littleton as the “Soda Shop”. The building was an improvement, but it was rejected by his members. As a result, only one family moved with the pastor and his family to the new location. It was a struggle, but the man of God knew he was being led by the spirit.
In September of 1975, after conducting a two week revival in Greensboro, Elder Martin returned to work and was told that he no longer had a job. His reply was, “Thank you, I do have a job”. On that day, he became a full-time pastor. A month later, his congregation purchased land and began raising funds for a new building. By the summer of 1977, the ground breaking ceremony and construction process began.
The finances and physical help were limited and much of the work was done by Pastor Martin. Mother Martin would fast, pray and provide meals for him and willing workers from across the state of North Carolina and Virginia. By June of 1980, the foundation and basement were completed. The congregation moved into the building and worshipped there for seven years as the construction continued.
The members followed Elder and Mother Martin’s leadership as they received direction from the Lord. On September 20, 1987, The Refuge Church had their first worship service in the newly completed edifice.
Elder and Mother Martin continued to minister to the needs of the flock and the community. As the church grew, the Lord enlarged its territory. The church purchased a home to accommodate those who travel in the ministry, a multi-purpose building and the surrounding property. In 2002 the church purchased three acre tract of land that is now Refuge Memorial Garden Cemetery.
As the Lord blessed the church, He elevated the leaders. Elder Martin served for more than 20 years on the Finance Committee for the Executive Secretary’s Office. He was promoted to District Elder of the N.C. Metropolitan Central District in 1999. In July 2008 District Elder Martin was made Honorary Bishop at the International Convention of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mother Martin held several national, state and local positions. She served as the recording secretary of the International Missionary Department, Treasurer of the International Ministers and Deacons’ Wives Guild, North Carolina State Sunday School Superintendent, Secretary and later President of the North Carolina State Women’s Council, and local President of the Missionary Department.
Bishop Martin retired from full time pastor in April 2012 and now serves as Pastor Emeritus. He is a man of faith and Mother Martin is a prayer warrior. This is evident in their labor here in Littleton. “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. (Proverbs 29:18). God gave them a vision and He has fulfilled His promise.
“Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report”. (Hebrews 11:1-2)