EAGLES’ NEST MINISTRIES—“The Nest”—has a history that reaches back to circa 1898—over 112 years ago—when the church, initially known as Saint Ruth Primitive Baptist Church was established in Hazel Green, Alabama—a small rural community located in northern Madison County, just outside the Huntsville city limits on Grimwood Road. Most of the early Church records were destroyed by fire in 1970. With the official “birth” records of the church no longer in existence, the fledgling history of Saint Ruth was compiled from the few remaining available records and augmented with oral histories handed down from generation to generation throughout the early years as those charter members, the dedicated few, maintained their determination to magnify the Lord. With their passing, much of that history passed as well.
The first known Pastor in the late 1940’s was the late Reverend Willie Cawthorne who later died in March of 1956, leaving Saint Ruth was without a Pastor for nearly nine months, during which time visiting ministers conducted the worship services. Over the next several years, several Pastors and visiting Pastors helped to hold the little family of worshippers together until the installation in 1960 of Pastor Clarence Jordan who served faithfully for six years. His successor, Pastor George Franklin, continued the work of Ministry at Saint Ruth for the next ten (10) years. On December 20, 1970, the Saint Ruth Church Family was struck by tragedy when the Church was destroyed by fire and a month later Reverend Franklin resigned as Pastor. Despite the setbacks, the members did not give up on their faith in God. Instead, they came together at the home of Deacon Otha Humphrey to discuss the rebuilding of the Church and made plans to locate a place to continue worship services. In the meantime, the members elected Reverend Willie B. Graham as Acting Pastor, and services were held at the Saint Bartley Center, Little Indian Creek P.B. Church, and Meridianville Bottom P.B. Church. Still the members refused to give up – they stayed together and prayed together, and on July 31, 1971, they elected Reverend Emmanual Sledge as Pastor. God truly blessed His faithful servants for their pursuit of His will for the Church. Under Pastor Sledge’s leadership they were able to build a new sanctuary, and on October 19, 1975 – nearly five years after the tragic fire – they moved in and held their first worship service in the new sanctuary.
In early 1976, Reverend Sledge’s health began to fail and he resigned. He was succeeded by Pastor Sammie Crutcher who served the Ministry for the next 12 years. Under his leadership the Church grew both spiritually and physically. Once again, a variety of Pastors from other Churches stepped into the breach, coming regularly to conduct Worship Services and to encourage the faith of the people. In February 1989 Reverend James E. Smith was installed as Pastor and he remained in that post until his resignation in October, 1994.
Still the Church endured. What seemed like another step backward to some was truly God moving the Church forward into her destiny in Him! The Church then went on her knees in prayer, and the Lord sent the Reverend Daniel J. Richardson to Saint Ruth on November 6, 1994. Reverend Richardson was voted as Acting Pastor, and was later voted Pastor on January 14, 1996. In November of 1996, the Church withdrew from the Steadfast Primitive Baptist Association—God was shifting Saint Ruth and positioning her for His purpose.
God established Pastor Richardson to serve as the Shepherd over the Ministry, which at the time had little more than 15-20 members. Over the next three years, the Holy Spirit began to minister to Pastor Richardson’s heart, a dynamic vision for the ordained ministry and mission for The Nest, first writing the vision there, and then continuing through the ensuing years to make it plain. As a Holy Ghost-filled Man of God, Pastor Richardson came to Saint Ruth with a God-given vision. As an anointed preacher and a dynamic teacher, he endeavored to impart that vision to the Saint Ruth Church Family. Under his leadership the Church underwent many changes. They were yet being refined by the Refiner’s fire – being made ready to serve when and where God commanded. As a result, the Lord began birthing new ministries in Saint Ruth.
God began to add to the ministerial staff of the church. In March of 1999, Rev. Dede Booker-Lacey was sent to Saint Ruth as a help for Pastor Richardson to aid him in the development and implementation of the Ministry of the Church. Pastor Richardson established Rev. Lacey as Associate Minister, Pastor’s Cross Bearer, Armorbearer and eventually, two years later, as his Executive Assistant. Two additional Deacons were ordained (Deacon Ronnie Toney and Deacon Wendell Fearn), and other key leadership were being strengthened and positioned for the journey.
Through anointed teaching and preaching, God birthed a new dimension of Praise, Worship, and Word—a new dimension of relationship and revelation—a new hunger for discipleship. He began the process of SHIFTING The Nest from a position of ‘RELIGIOUS TRADITION’ to a position of APOSTOLIC SPIRITUAL VISION. As a result, on April 15, 1999, Saint Ruth PB Church was incorporated and “Eagles’ Nest Ministries” was established by Pastor Richardson. The old “Saint Ruth P.B. Church” building and surrounding property in Hazel Green were sold to the neighboring sister-Church, Saint Rebecca Primitive Baptist Church. From July to December 1999, six more Associate Ministers came into the fold, for a total of seven (7) in one year: Min. Sonjia Oliver, Min. Geraldine Miller (deceased), Min. Geraldine Hereford, Min. Linda Law, Min. Della Linwood, and Min. Lee Ware.
On June 25, 2000, the ENMC Family held a Ground Breaking Service for the new edifice located at 6831 Hollow Road, Huntsville, Alabama. In 2001 Eagles’ Nest Ministries moved into the present facility on Hollow Road in Huntsville, Alabama where they celebrated week-long Edifice Dedicatory Services from August 19-26, 2001.
In October 2001, Eagles’ Nest Ministries initiated her first Radio Ministry with Pastor Richardson broadcasting Sunday Worship Services each Sunday at 3:00 PM on Radio WDJL-LOVE 1000 AM. Weekday broadcasts were held on Thursday and Friday mornings at 6:00 AM with Rev. Dede Booker-Lacey and Rev. Linda Law respectively. Two years later in September 2003 construction and installation was completed on the booth for our pending TV ministry, and cameras were installed in the Sanctuary.
Today, Eagles’ Nest Ministries Church is a progressive ministry with an apostolic mandate, established by God as a spiritual flagship for the changing spiritual landscape in this region! Overseer Richardson, as led by the Holy Spirit, continues to position this ministry to pursue God’s purposes and thereby His promises! Since 2005, Overseer has been fully committed in Covenant Relationship as a spiritual son to Bishop Donald Hilliard, II, Senior Pastor of The Cathedral International in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and Presiding Prelate of the Covenant Ecumenical Fellowship and Cathedral Assemblies—an Apostolic Reformation engaged in pursuing the peoples of the earth for the Kingdom of God. As such, in June 2008, Overseer was consecrated and ordained as CEFCA Overseer Southern Diocese and established as a member of CEFCA’s Executive Council. Overseer Richardson is an active member of The Joint College of African American Pentecostal Bishops (Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II, President), and he also serves as Founder and CEO of DJR Gateway To The Nations Covenant Ministries (DJR-GTTN), a personal ministry vehicle that allows him to offer spiritual guidance, direction and training to other Pastors, Churches, and Ministries. Through these Covenant Connections, the Lord has indeed shown Himself strong; He has broadened our ministry territories and elevated the spiritual life of our Church to empower us to be more effective servants in the Kingdom of the Lord, for the ultimate GLORY of Almighty God.
ENMC incorporates ~500 members, 50 ministerial staff, and approximately 45 active ministries serving families of our local assembly and the surrounding community. Worship opportunities now include Sunday Empowerment Sessions for adults and children of all ages; Worship On Wednesday Services (W.O.W.)—an interactive weekly Bible Study; Midday Bible Study held weekly at noontime to service the needs of the community who otherwise have time constraints for evening services; and a variety ongoing worship times designed to meet the spiritual needs of a broad-based community. ENMC’s forward thrust will begin in 2011—2012 with Phase II—a dimensional advancement. This Kingdom Vision building program includes a community accessible family life center that will encompass an internet café, after school programs, a dance ministry studio, exercise center and much more to enhance the lives of the people of God.
God has given the sure Vision for ENMC to Overseer Richardson and he, in turn, has released it to the ENMC Family. Under his guidance, the ENMC Church Family has been empowered daily by the anointing and the creative work of the Holy Spirit. Overseer Richardson daily leads this people with a shepherd’s heart through his many acts of love and kindness, his “no holds barred” preaching and psalmistry, and his prayers that encompass the needs of the people and traffic them right to the heart of God. His life proactively demonstrates that God still uses his people to set the examples in the earth for holy living and as His tools for Kingdom Advancement in the earth!
As we move forward there is a promise of rich spiritual blessings for all of God’s children IF we hold fast to His divine precepts and place our complete trust and belief in Him who calls us and equips us. God is lifting up a standard that will require this Body of Believers to live as an indication of what faith in God can do. We are excited about what God has done, is doing, and will do through this Ministry, and we shall endeavor to move in the Power of God, so much so, that it will be said, “these are they that have turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)
All Glory, Praise and Honor Be Unto the Lord, God Almighty.