Cleveland M. Becton (1928~2010)
United Pentecostal Church International
Cleveland M. Becton was born September 21, 1928, in Jackson, Tennessee, the second son of parents, James M. and Christine M. Becton. At the age of two the Cleveland’s family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where his uncle, Rev. G.H. Brown pastored a Pentecostal Church. They did not immediately attend the church that he pastored, however, after attending the First Baptist church for a short period of time; his parents felt that they should make a change. This was the beginning of their experience of Pentecost, both parents receiving the Pentecostal experience.
It was in the summer of 1940 in a revival meeting with brother Odell Cagle that Cleveland received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in the name of Jesus. From that time on he remained in the church.
Cleveland was always interested in learning to play the piano, and when he was ten, he began to take piano lessons, and a year or so later he began lessons on the accordian. He immediately began to play both instruments in church services. At the age of 15, he left home with his parents consent and properly chaperoned and played for the Stamps Quartette. At the age of 16 he was teaching piano and accordian in the Stamps School of Music in Dallas, Texas. This was the Summer of 1945 and he had strong feeling that this was not the life for him.
Pentecostal bible Institute was opening for their first year in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was the fall of 1945, and Cleveland became a pioneer student with about 28 others for the very first term. It was in the second semester of that year while in a weekend service in Iuka, Mississippi, that he felt the call into the ministry. He was 17 years of age and started in the evangelistic work when that term ended. His first revival experience was in Nashville, Tennessee. His evangelistic days continued until the fall of 1950 when he took his first church to pastor and that was in Bay City, Texas.
While growing up in the church in Little Rock, Arkansas, a family named Dyson was also members of that church. They had several children and one of them; a daughter was about the same age as Cleveland was. Her name was Margie. They started out at very young ages liking each other. This continued through the years and they were married in 1947. Margie became right away an evangelist’s wife and three years later a pastor’s wife. The Becton’s had three wonderful children. Rudy, Ronald, and Renee. This made for a complete family.
In 1957, the Becton’s became ther first pastor of a small group of people in North Little Rock, Arkansas. They moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1960 to become the pastor of the West Nashville Pentecostal Church, later the name was changed to the First United Pentecostal Church.
The following positions were held by Bro. Becton in the UPCI:
1952-1957 Youth Secretary of the Texas District
1958-1960 Home Missions Director
1961-1967 Secretary of the International Youth Division
1968-1976 General Secretary of the United Pentecostal Church International
1978-1981 Assistant General Superintendent of the UPCI
1982-1998 General Secretary of the UPCI
1982- Present One of two speakers on Harvestime
1999- Present Honorary member of the General Board of the UPCI
On November 16, 2010 at 10:45 p.m. Bro. Cleveland Becton entered into his eternal rest.