Bervick Atwood Spell (1930~Present)
Apostolic Ministers Fellowship
Reverend B.A. Spell was born on January 7, 1930, in the small town of Eunice, Louisiana to Tony and Floy Spell. In 1939, at the age of nine Bervick was baptized in Jesus’ name, and was filled with the Holy Ghost. His home church was the United Pentecostal Church in Richie, Louisiana, and his first pastor was Brother Henry Dunn. Elder Spell recalls as a child how his parents were poor, and money was scarce in those day’s. His father would turn out the old oil burning lamps early, in order to make the oil last as long as it could. Then he would gather his wife and children around him, and have devotions, and pray before going to bed. It was things such as this that instilled deep into the heart of young Bervick the desire to walk with God, and to learn of His ways.
At the age of nine he first met a young eight year old girl named Dorothy Brown. They went to church together, played together, and fought as children, but on June 22, 1947, they were united in holy matrimony. Their pastor, Brother J.S. Hoyt performed the cerimony at the Richie, Pentecostal Church. To this union was born seven children. Afterward they settled down in Eunice, Louisiana, but attended the church in Richie.
In 1950, Brother Spell went into business as a part owner/manager of the Piggly Wiggly Grocery store in Eunice, Louisiana where he worked until 1953. In 1953 at the age of twenty-three he received his call to preach. His first sermon was from the book of Isaiah, where the prophet said, “Here am I, send me.” This historical occasion took place in “Church Point, Louisiana”. In 1954 he was ordained by S.L. Wise at Tioga, Louisiana. It was also during this same year that he became affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church organization.
The first church that he pastored was the First Pentecostal Church in Pine Praire, Louisiana. He took the church in 1953, and stayed one year. The second church he pastored was the First Pentecostal Church in Turkey Creek, Louisiana. He held this position for five years, from 1954 until 1959. On November 1, 1959, he moved his family to West Baton Rouge, Louisisna, and started the First Pentecostal Church in Port Allen. This was a home missions outreach. He began services in an old store-front building on Rosedale, and 12th Street. In this same year Brother Crawford Coon preached the first revival for the church, and a great number received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In 1965 a tremendous revival broke out as a young evangelist named Verbal Bean came to Port Allen with a burden for souls on his heart. Brother Bean felt like God was going to give him a one hundred soul revival, but he had no confirmation as to where it would take place. When the confirmation came that Port Allen was the place, God began to move. It was a mighty revival that lasted for fourteen weeks, and during this time 106 people received the Holy Ghost. In 1968 the church purchased ten acres on Plank Road, and built a new sanctuary, and Sunday School department. The same year Brother Spell started the Robert Livingston Acadamy, with grades 1-12. The school enrolled 430 students, and remained open until 1978.
From 1970 until 1972, the church experienced a series of revivals, and the congregation doubled in size. In 1979, a new spacious 1200 seat santuary was built. 1968 was the beginning of the annual July camp-meeting held at Life Tabernacle. Elder Bill Buie was the first camp evangelist fir this historical occasion. In 1985 another santuary was built. When you think about Apostolic-Pentecost, you have to think about B.A. Spell. He is a “Living Legend” throughout the Oneness movement. In 1968, he became a charter member in the formation of the Apostolic Minister’s Fellowship (AMF).
When asked the name of someone he most admired, his reply was, “The late Verbal W. Bean”. When asked why? Brother Spell answered, “Because of the impact that Brother Bean left upon my life. Brother Bean was a praying man, a dedicated warrior for God. He was uniquely different. What he said held value, and depth. He was no stranger to the things of God, and he died as he lived…walking with and serving God”. When asked what he most wanted to be remembered for? He replied, “Mission work, both foreign and home”.